Plainfield East forced visiting Batavia into a three-and-out to begin the teams’ non-conference football game Friday night.
But it proved to be an illusion.
The Bulldogs would go on to blitz the Bengals with five consecutive scoring drives to take a commanding lead into the break, and Batavia never let up in giving a 48-7 whupping to the Bengals in Plainfield.
Batavia senior quarterback Noel Gaspari, a three-year starter, found Evan Zeddies over the middle for a 52-yard scoring strike on the Bulldogs’ fourth play from scrimmage.
By the time Batavia backup quarterback Robbie Bowman scored on a six-yard run from the Wildcat formation, the game was never in doubt as the visitors raced to a 35-0 cushion at the break.
Gaspari and Zeddies connected another long pass early in the third quarter, and the running clock was soon in order when Austin Lindquist crashed in from a yard out one play later.
“Zeddies did a great job of getting open,” said Gaspari, who completed 12-for-19 passes for 239 yards and a pair of scores. “If we throw the ball like that (for the rest of the season), we’re going to win some games.”
Batavia's Dynamic Defense
As spectacular as the Batavia offensive firepower was in the opening half, the defensive unit was similarly impressive.
Harassing Plainfield East quarterback Robert Zamora all evening, the Bulldogs’ interior rushers wreaked a bruising toll during the debilitating and unseasonably hot weather.
“I felt like we pass-rushed very well,” said Austin Lewis, Batavia interior lineman. “We came into the game trying to stop the pass.”
The teams operated virtually identical offenses—a spread formation with multiple wideouts.
But it was Batavia, operating from a short field the entire first half, that found its rhythm offensively while the Bulldogs’ defense thoroughly thwarted the Bengals’ offensive game plan.
“We couldn’t run the ball,” said Mike Romeli, Plainfield East coach. “Batavia is going to go far in the (Class 6A) playoffs this year. They’re as good a defense as I have seen in the past few years.”
Anthony Thielk doubled the Batavia lead to 14-0 with a 11-yard run midway through the first quarter, and Gaspari had back-to-back 24-yard strikes, the second to Jon Gray, to produce the Bulldogs’ third first-quarter score.
After Batavia stuffed the Bengals’ fourth-and-one attempt to end the first quarter, Gaspari needed only four plays to direct another scoring drive.
Zeddies’ 31-yard collaboration with Gaspari was the big play of the drive, which Dom Guzaldo capped with a six-yard burst.
The final Bulldogs’ scoring drive of the opening half was a clinic in execution. Gaspari hit Zach Strittmatter on a 31-yard third-down conversion and later added a fourth-down strike to the tight end.
Bowman climaxed the 15-play drive with his keeper around left end.
“If we’re going to be a good team, we have to make those third-down conversions,” said Gaspari, who played all of two plays in the second half.
Dustin Demumbrum denied Batavia the shutout with a 19-yard swing pass with 58 seconds to play.
“(Plainfield East) has some players who are playmakers,” said Batavia Coach Dennis Piron. “I was very happy we were able to contain them. It was a total defensive effort.”
Batavia heads to Elgin Larkin on Friday, Sept. 9.