Rain or shine, the Bulldogs battle through their football games.
Nowhere was this more evident than in Friday’s soggy game, where the Dogs denied the Lancers a Senior Night victory with a 33-29 win.
“I’m very proud of the kids,” said Dennis Piron, Batavia head football coach, in a phone interview during the ride back home. “Starting out the year 5-0 is a great feeling. It makes you playoff eligible … the season’s flying by.”
The Bulldogs racked up five touchdowns and a couple extra points. Junior starting quarterback Micah Coffey connected with senior wide receiver Zach Strittmatter three times during the first half. Junior running back Anthony Thielk shone in the second half with two touchdown runs.
Friday’s game was the Bulldogs' first time playing the Lancers, and they expected a dog fight.
“They had an explosive offense and good receivers,” Piron said of Lake Park. “They came into this at 2-2 (season record). This was their playoff game. It was their senior night. (Their kids) played as hard as they possible could.”
Lake Park took Batavia into the fourth quarter ahead by three points. But the crimson and gold players knew how to stage a comeback.
“We had a number of times last year where we played from behind a little bit,” Piron said. “The team understands what’s at stake and what’s expected of them. … I was confident our kids would execute down the stretch.”
The Lancers scored first, but that was followed by two Coffey-Strittmatter touchdowns and extra-point kicks from senior Daniel Albrecht. This put Batavia ahead 14-6.
Lake Park tied the game in the second quarter with a touchdown and 2-point conversion. Coffey found Strittmatter a third time to put the game at 20-14 at halftime.
The Bulldogs expanded their lead to 26-14 after Anthony Thielk carried in a touchdown. The Lancers responded with one touchdown and extra kick, then another TD after an interception return with a two-point conversion to take the lead 29-26 in the third quarter.
What was Batavia's strategy going into the fourth quarter?
"To try to get the lead," Piron said. "We wanted to kind of pound it, get first downs, run the clock, but get scores as well."
They were successful on that end, as Thielk ran in another touchdown topped off with an extra point.
The Bulldogs finished with an interception with about 4 minutes left in the game.
"I’m extremely proud of our offensive players," Piron said. "I thought our o-line dominated the football game tonight."
The Bulldogs take on Elgin Larkin at Batavia High School next Friday, Sept. 28 at 7:30 p.m. See you there!
Season So Far
Batavia (5-0) overall, (2-0) conference
Sept. 21 Batavia 33, Lake Park 29
Thanks to BATV for their quality livestream of the game, and Cindi Gilbertson and Wendy McKeehan for their quality game photos!