Batavia's season ends again at hands of Mt. Carmel
The Darrion Dupree revenge tour was on full display Saturday night and Batavia was his latest victim.
Mount Carmel's running back has been motivated to win another championship since he missed last year's postseason run because of an injury. Dupree didn't waste time Saturday night, scoring four touchdowns in the first 14 minutes of Mount Carmel's 64-26 win in the Class 7A semifinals.
"I took that to heart," Dupree said of his mission.
Mount Carmel (12-1) followed the same script it had all season on its first drive, going 80 yards and scoring on a 2-yard run with 8:46 left in the first quarter to give his team an early 7-0 lead. The Caravan defense forced an early fourth-down stop on their own 27-yard line on Batavia's first possession and Dupree showed off his skill, catching a pass that seemed to be behind his head and scoring with 6:50 left in the first quarter to make it 14-0.
Dupree added his third touchdown on a 35-yard run to make it 21-7 with 2:20 left in the first quarter before he scored what felt like the knockout punch early in the second quarter. Dupree caught a pass from quarterback Jack Elliott and broke off a couple tackles even though it looked he would be brought down. Instead he broke away and scored on a 74-yard reception to make it 28-7 with 10:45 left in the second quarter.
"Special," Elliott said of Dupree's catch and run. "Special."
While Dupree didn't get as much attention the rest of the way, Mount Carmel kept scoring at will. The Caravan took a 35-14 lead with 1:57 left in the second quarter when Elliott found Darrion Gilliam for a 36-yard pass to make it 35-14. Elliott hit Zander Gorman late in the second quarter for a 2-yard touchdown before Elliott scored on a 64-yard run in the third quarter.
Alonzo Manning II scored on a 5-yard run in the third while Rory Small added a 1-yard scoring run late in the game.
"We've played a lot of teams around Illinois but I haven't played too many teams like that," Batavia coach Dennis Piron said.
Elliott finished the game with 444 passing yards while also adding 74 on the ground. Dupree ended the game with 101 receiving yards and 74 rushing yards while Gilliam had 123 receiving yards on seven catches.
Dupree knew the importance of starting fast, which is why he took it upon himself to make plays early.
"It was really big for us," Dupree said. "For us seniors, it's our last time on this field and it's crazy. We really took that to heart and had to come and do what we did today."
Batavia (11-2) first scored when Ryan Boe found Charlie Whelpley for a 60-yard pass with 4:02 left in the first quarter to make it a 14-7 Mount Carmel lead. Boe found Whelpley again for an 8-yard pass in the second quarter and hit Brett Berggrenn with a 44-yard touchdown pass to make it 57-20 Mount Carmel at the end of the third quarter.
Boe hit Berggren again for a 25-yard pass in the fourth quarter. He threw for 309 yards while Whelpley finished the night with 97 receiving yards.
Saturday marked the third straight time Mount Carmel has knocked the Bulldogs out of the playoffs, including last season's Class 7A state title game. Piron was proud of the way his team battled until the very end.
"This was tough," Piron said. "I love our kids and I'm sad that our season is over."
Mount Carmel will play Downers Grove North (11-2) on Saturday in the Class 7A state championship game at Hancock Stadium in Normal.
Dupree knows his tour is about to end and is looking forward to a grand finale.
"I'm going to be excited," Dupree said. "It's going to be the same thing again."