The run which the Batavia Football team has put together throughout the past three seasons has been nothing short of historic. After years of dormancy, the Blue Devils are now coming off of three-straight Section V Class B Titles, and are the favorite to win their fourth in a row in 2017.
In an attempt to ramp-up their regular season schedule, Batavia has gone outside of the box and scheduled teams which they hope will provide them with a steeper challenge than their 2016 slate -- in order to better prepare themselves for the postseason, where they've fallen just short of the State Final Four in each of their three Championship seasons.
However, upon researching each of their 2017 opponents, it seems as if the Blue Devils effort to do so may be all for naught - as they are likely to be favored to win many, if not all 7 of their regular season games.
Although they come into this year sporting a new quarterback under center, the experience which they possess at almost every other position on the field will help ease any growing pains their signal caller may experience. In addition, Batavia head coach Brennan Briggs has proven himself to be one of the top-coaches throughout Section V, and his ability to game plan, and make halftime adjustments has been what has put his team over the edge since his first year at the helm.
When it's all said and done, I truly believe we will see Batavia win their fourth-straight Sectional Title. They remain as the best team in their classification, and from my perspective, it will take a miracle of sorts to knock them off as Champion. However, the real question is -- can this team get to the Carrier Dome for the State Final Four?
Time will tell.
Week 2 -- Aquinas
Aquinas isn't necessarily the team who is a favorite to win a State Title every year, and enter 2017 under new leadership. With that being said, I expect the Lil' Irish to be one of the stronger teams on Batavia's schedule this year - and could push the Blue Devils to the brink of defeat.
Week 5 -- Bishop Kearney
Also entering the season under a new head coach, the Kings lost a bunch from their 2016 Class C Championship squad. However, they do have an experienced quarterback under center and the new HC which they have brought in has a reputation for success.
Week 6 -- Wilson
Wilson has given Batavia the most trouble of any of their opponents in recent seasons - most recently pushing them in what finished as a 12-6 victory for the Blue Devils last season. This year, I expect they will give the Devils another tough game.
Ray Leach (RB/LB)
Ray finished as a first-team All-State selection last season and may be the best player in Section V this season. He will be tough for any opponent to stop this season.
Butch Ray (OL/DL)
Butch was also a first-team All-State selection in 2016 and is the definition of an unstoppable force on the line of scrimmage. He, like Leach, is one of the top-players in Section V this season.
Chandler Baker (QB)
Chandler comes equipped with elite arm strength and could provide the Devils' passing game with a boost this season. In addition, his athleticism is top-tier which makes him a dual threat in this offense.
"We have a very young team this season," began Batavia HC Brennan Briggs upon our preseason discussion. "We should get better as the season progresses and the younger members become more comfortable with their role."
"It is always tough to replace your QB as well as other key members of a football team," continued Briggs. "But the 2017 football team is looking to put their stamp on the Batavia Football program. We have a lot of guys in new positions, but they are coming along. The goal is to go 1-0, and get better every day. We have some very difficult games along the journey, but our hope is it will prepare us for a solid post-season run."
Alex Brasky is Editor and Publisher of Batavia's Best.