Batavia's defense shuts down Lake Zurich
The Batavia defense could smell blood in the water.
In the waning minutes of the third quarter during Friday's Class 7A first-round playoff game against Lake Zurich, the Bears gained three net yards specifically on their second possession of the second half.
It forced the Bears' fourth punt of the game and was a snapshot to the dominance Batavia exhibited in a 37-0 victory, a rematch of the 2017 Class 7A state title game.
"That drive was pretty much us just putting it all together," Batavia linebacker Drew Bartels said. "We knew we could put an end to the game right there, we did, we buried them. I think we could kind of sense blood in the water. We just finished it right there."
The Bulldogs (10-0) advance to the second round to face Mount Carmel, the 2019 Class 7A state champion, next week. The Caravan defeated Thornwood 20-0.
Batavia's defense had a first quarter interception by Anthony Roberts and forced a turnover on downs before the half. Their offensive counterparts punted just twice in the convincing victory.
"Coming into this, [we knew Lake Zurich] would change a formation or so and some plays for every single team they play; they do a good job of scouting," Bartels said. "I think our defense is so solid. It's hard to find a weak spot in it. I think we did a good job of covering up everything we thought they were going to do and everything we didn't know they were going to do. I think we did a good job preparing."
Batavia took a 17-0 lead into the half. Eric Newberry hit a field goal on the Bulldogs' opening possession, Jacob Hohmann ran in a 15-yard touchdown and quarterback Ryan Boe rushed for a 27-yard score on fourth and long to get the Bulldogs going.
Boe (10-for-14, 73 passing yards) opened the second half with a 20-yard touchdown pass to Newbery. After a Bears punt, Josh Dornink found the end zone for a 2-yard score to make it 30-0 with 2:49 in the third quarter. AJ Sanders capped off the night with 2-yard score with 2:40 left in the contest.
Batavia star running back Jalen Buckley, who suffered a left ankle injury and missed the second half of the regular season finale last week, dressed but did not have any rushing attempts.
In his place, Dornink had the lion's share of carries, but was supplemented by Hohmann and AJ Sanders, who had a big 52-yard run in the third quarter, and finished with 88 rushing yards.
Dornink had 80 yards and a rushing score.
"…[Offensive Coordinator] Sean [Anderson] really had a great game plan; him and Boe did a good job with it," Batavia coach Dennis Piron said. "There were a few shots [available] but I think Boe did the right thing, pulled it down, didn't want to risk a turnover and ran the ball well. [Dornink] did a great job."
Lake Zurich (5-5) was led by Meyers' 7-for-17 for passing night for 56 yards. Cooper had 13 net rushing yards.
"We had some self-inflicted errors," Lake Zurich coach Ron Planz said. "We missed some blocks. [Batavia is] a good football team. They play hard; they run to the ball. They do all that stuff really, really well. They were just able to play a little bit better than us tonight."
"[The seniors] mean the world to me," Planz continued. "What they've gone through between this senior class, last year's senior class having to deal with all this crazy stuff that's going on in the world. They continue to show up every day and be the type of men that we're hoping they would be. It's been an honor to coach these guys."