Batavia bounces back, routs Glenbard North
Dennis Piron wanted to get ahead early.
One week after suffering its first loss of the season, Batavia wanted a fast start -- and to say it got that was an understatement.
AJ Sanders returned the game's opening kickoff for a touchdown and quarterback Trey Urwiler scored less than two minutes later as Batavia cruised past Glenbard North, 49-7, in DuKane Conference action Friday night.
After Sanders' 86-yard return, Piron reached into his bag of tricks and surprised the Panthers with an onside kick. Before Glenbard North could blink, Batavia (4-1, 4-1 DuKane Conference) was ahead 14-0 after Urwiler's keeper from seven yards out.
"We really wanted to get up on [Glenbard North] because of the type of [power] offense that they have," Piron said. "When they stay in a game, they can grind you down, control the clock and make it difficult for you. I think us jumping on them early really made them change their style of play. I felt really good about that."
Glenbard North (2-3, 2-3) fought back early, however. A 61-yard connection from quarterback Justin Bland to Tyler Sworst set up Bland's 1-yard keeper to cut Batavia's lead to 14-7 at the 8:02 mark of the first quarter.
The Panthers, then, stopped Batavia on a fourth down deep in its territory. However, that would be the last time it stopped the Bulldogs offense from reaching the end zone until the 7:00 mark of the fourth quarter. Batavia scored on its next five possessions.
"We just needed to bounce back tonight," said Sanders, who also scored on a screen pass at the end of the first half. "I saw a hole [on the kickoff return] and knew I had to take it to the crib. That gave us a big boost and had all the momentum to try the onside kick."
Turnovers were a big problem for Batavia in its loss to Wheaton Warrenville South last week, and the Bulldogs corrected those mistakes Friday night. The one miscue, a fumble at the goal line from Dondre Phillips, found the hands of fellow running back Josh Dornink in the end zone for a touchdown.
Dornink and fellow junior Jalen Buckley each found the end zone once, while Phillips scored twice in three plays on the ground for the Bulldogs.
"Execute, execute and execute," Buckley said of his team's mindset coming into Friday night's game. "Do what we do and we'll be successful."
Buckley led the way offensively, adding nine carries for 111 yards and his touchdown. Dornink also had a good game on the ground, rushing for 95 yards on 11 carries.
Between the five rushing touchdowns for the Bulldogs and a defense that had three takeaways and forced two turnovers on downs, it was Batavia's night from start to finish.
In fact, after Bland's 1-yard score, the Panthers didn't have a drive that lasted longer than four plays until late in the first half. Denhim Betney led the way for Glenbard North in the loss with 107 total yards (89 rushing).
"Before the game, our coaches just really set the mood, especially our defensive coaches," Sanders said. "I think that's truly what made our defense come out and play the way they did tonight. They know how they can play and shut down anyone and I think they made a statement with their play tonight."
"I think after [their touchdown], we buckled down pretty nicely," Piron said. "It was a great first half for us, all around. I'm just happy we're getting to play and so happy for these kids really."
Batavia will take on Wheaton North at Northern Illinois University's Huskie Stadium next Saturday for a chance at the DuKane Conference championship.