By Mark Maxwell
The Batavia Bulldogs (13-1) won their first state title in school history just three years into coach Dennis Piron's career. Batavia exacted their revenge against the Richards Bulldogs (12-2), their week two opponent in a 34-14 victory at Huskie Stadium in DeKalb, Illinois.
Between exuberant shouts toward the maroon-clad fans in the stands, Piron, a 1983 Batavia graduate, met up with Matt Rodewald and the Comcast SportsNet camera crew after the game.
"It's a big deal in Batavia. Look at these fans," Piron said. "You know Mike Gaspari, hall of fame legend built this thing. I'm just lucky to be the guy that goes after him. People like Matt Holm and P.J. White, unbelievable coaches they've had there (at Batavia) for such a long time. We've got such experience on our coaching staff. It's just a wonderful thing."
Batavia senior running back Anthony Scaccia scampered and pounded his way through the Richards defense, rushing for three touchdowns and 189 yards on 33 carries. The 5'7" running back put on his best Warrick Dunn impression, with impressive flashes of speed and surprising bursts of power throughout the entire game.
"What a great football player, huh? I mean, pound-for-pound, maybe the best player - not just in Illinois - maybe the country. That kid's dynamic, special. What a warrior he is. What a great young man," Piron said of Scaccia.
Batavia began the title game with an impressive opening drive that ended with a Scaccia touchdown. They followed that up with the longest touchdown reception in championship game history when senior quarterback Micah Coffey connected with senior wide receiver Michael Moffatt on a 96-yard TD reception.
Richards answered on the following drive as junior quarterback Hasaan Muhammad-Rogers completed a touchdown strike to junior wide receiver Dedrick Shannon, closing the gap to a seven point margin with 10:49 left in the 2nd quarter.
Not content with a one-score lead, Coffey drove the length of the field before adding his second touchdown pass of the day. It didn't come easy though, as he stood in the pocket and took a vicious hit from Richards linebacker Romel Hill while delivering a deep TD strike to senior wide receiver Rourke Mullins in the right corner of the end zone.
Richards safety Ramonta Hill recovered a Batavia fumble and revived Richards chances to get back in the game with five minutes, but another Richards turnover squelched their chance to complete a comeback.
Mullins showed up in the box score once again when he iced the game for Batavia, intercepting a pass from Muhammad-Rogers in the end zone with just over two minutes left in the fourth quarter.