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January 19, 2017 - 10:35am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia HS, football, sports.

The Batavia Blue Devils have been selected to play a game the opening weekend of the high school football season in the Carrier Dome Classic, an annual event that brings in football teams from all over the state, Head Coach Brennan Briggs said this morning.

The exact time and date of the game -- either Sept. 1 or Sept 2 -- has not been determined yet, nor has an opponent for the Blue Devils been selected yet. It will likely be a Class B or Class A team out of Section IV, Briggs said.

Batavia was selected after Briggs applied for a slot in the classic a year ago.

"I'm excited for the kids," Briggs said. "It should be a blast. It's exciting for them."

The Carrier Dome Classic also puts the Batavia program on a bigger statewide stage, Briggs said. It will give people from all over the state a chance to see what Batavia football is all about.

Many of this year's team members were able to play a regional championship game in 2016 in New Era in Buffalo, home of the Buffalo Bills, so a game in the Carrier Dome is another nice highlight to their high school football careers.

"There are not too many times you get a chance to play both at New Era and the Carrier Dome," Briggs said. "It's pretty sweet."

The Carrier Dome also hosts the state championships, so Briggs said, that yes, indeed, at some point during the year he can use "get back to the Carrier Dome" to help motivate his team.  It might inspire the players to dream big.

But the 2017 season is going present challenges each week, Briggs said. Besides what will certainly be a tough opponent in week one, week two is a home game against perennial Monroe County powerhouse Aquinas.  The whole schedule for the three-peat Section V champions is likely to be stacked with tough opponents, Briggs said. Honeoye Falls-Lima has been moved to Class B and schools such as Geneva, Hornell and Livonia are always tough.  

"It will be a stacked deck," Briggs said.

January 5, 2017 - 10:24am
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, sports, batavia, Batavia HS.

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Ryann Stefaniak scored 26 points and Taylor Stefaniak added 15, but it wasn't enough to overcome an experienced an athletic Cal-Mum team in the opening round of the annual Rotary Tournament at GCC.

Cal-Mum moved to 8-1 with the 59-53 win.

Batavia drops to 2-8.

The Lady Devils rallied in the 4th quarter, closing a double-digit deficit and at one point pulling within three points of the Red Raiders. In that quarter, Ryann hit three three-pointers along with a pair of two-point goals and two free throws.

Taylor also hit a pair of threes in the 4th quarter. Melissa Mountain scored six and Bri Janes 6, including adding a three in that 24-point fourth quarter.

For Cal-Mum, Gillian Flint scored 19 points and Isabella Slocum had 13.

For coverage of the Notre Dame - Attica game, click here.

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December 30, 2016 - 2:41pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Lions Tournament, batavia, Batavia HS, sports, basketball, Notre Dame.

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In a game that was never really close, the Batavia Blue Devils won the annual Lions Tournament at GCC, beating the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, 60-29.

Tee Sean Ayala scored 19, despite a cold hand in the first half. He hit four three-pointers over the course of the game.

Antwan Odom, the tournament MVP, scored 14. He hit three threes. 

It was another big game for Notre Dame's Ryan Moffat, who hit three threes on his way to 15 points.

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December 23, 2016 - 6:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, Batavia HS, batavia, football, soccer.

Batavia running back and linebacker Ray Leach is the only sophomore to be named to the All Greater Rochester First Team in football.

Leach finished the season with 1,888 yards rushing. He scored 28 touchdowns. He made 62 tackles as a linebacker.

Leach isn't alone on the first team. Also named from Batavia Anthony Ray, a junior, who was Section V Class B Defensive Player of the Year and has been on all three of Batavia's Section V championship teams. He made 82 tackles and nine sacks.

Named to the second team was quarterback Jerry Reinhart.

The other top honor for a Genesee County athlete went to Maggie Cecere, Batavia, who was named to second team in girls soccer.

December 21, 2016 - 12:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, batavia MS, schools, education, news, batavia.

In an effort to help students who are falling far behind in their studies, to the point where the students start to lose hope of catching up, principals Scott Wilson, Batavia High School, and Ashley John Grillo, Batavia Middle School, have developed an innovative new afterschool program to help the students make up for lost time.

Wilson described the program as "creative" at Tuesday's meeting of the City Schools Board of Trustees.

The board unanimously approved implementation of the program after Wilson's presentation.

The program will be held at the high school on Mondays through Thursdays from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.

Wilson said he would anticipate from five to 15 students participating in each five-week segment.  

There would be a rotating group of teachers running the sessions each day and the program uses online courses designed to help students with makeup work as well as group learning.

"The goal is to have enough progress for the students to recover," Wilson said.

Students fall behind for a variety of reasons, from home life, to illness to other distractions and they often would like to keep up with their school work, Wilson said. That's hard to do when each day is filled with the current day's schoolwork.

During the course of the academic year, students get grades that are really just progress markers, Wilson explained, but the most important grade comes at the end of the school year, so the goal of the program is to provide midyear course correction for those who "go off-roading," Wilson said.

Wilson hopes to implement the new program starting in January.

December 19, 2016 - 3:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, batavia, news, music, entertainment, arts.

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The Batavia High School Choir is singing Christmas carols all over Batavia, mostly at businesses that made a donation to help cover the $50,000 it will cost for them to travel and participate in a competition in Washington, D.C.

We happened to catch up with them while they were at Valle Jewelers.

December 17, 2016 - 7:35pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, sports, Batavia HS, news, batavia.

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The Evens beat the Odds 98-92 today in the annual Batavia High School boys basketball alumni game. 

Batavia's head coach, Buddy Brasky, said the oldest player on the floor today was from the Class of 1998 and there were players who graduated as recently as last year participating.

Brasky said it's just a good time for the players and coaches and fans. Afterward, they all go out for beer and pizza.  

The game was played at John Kennedy School.

The after-game photo at the bottom was posted by Brasky on Twitter.

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December 17, 2016 - 11:22am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, batavia, basketball, sports, news.

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Antwan Odom had 17 points and TeeSean Ayala scored 13, including three three-pointers, to help the Batavia Blue Devils beat Honeoye Falls-Lima 55- 39 in Batavia's home opener.

Batavia is now 2-1 on the season.

Mason McFollins added eight points.

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December 10, 2016 - 12:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in basketball, sports, batavia, Batavia HS.

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The Batavia Lady Devils picked up their first win of the season in their home opener on Friday night, beating Eastridge 54-36.

Ryann Stefaniak led all scorers with 14 points. Mackenzie Reigle hit three three-pointers on her way to an 11-point game and Taylor Stefaniak also scored 11.

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December 9, 2016 - 8:59am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, batavia, sports, soccer.

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Batavia's Maggie Cecere has been named to the First Team, All-State Class A girls soccer team for 2016.

Of the 11 girls named to the team, only two were from Section V.

Cecere has committed to Kutztown University where she will be a pre-med major and play for the Golden Bears, a team coming off its most successful season in program history, making it to the final four of the Division II NCAA playoffs. The team will be ranked #4 to start the 2017 season.

Her sister, Samantha, just completed her first college season as goalie for Wilkes University. She is a pre-pharmacy major.

Photo courtesy of Steve Ognibene.

December 7, 2016 - 3:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, schools, education, batavia, news.

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The College and Career Center at Batavia HS, now led by Anita Strollo, has launched a new program called, "Lunch with the Pros," where students can sit down with local professionals and business leaders to learn about what it takes to pursue and succeed in various career fields.

Today, a group of students talked about law enforcement with Officers Matthew Wojtaszczyk and Marc Lawrence to learn about becoming a police officer.

Coincidently, Batavia PD is about to launch a new Explorer program and will host a meeting for potential Explorer Post members at 7 p.m., Jan. 10 and BPD headquarters, 10 West Main Street.  High school interested in joining the program are welcome to attend. RSVP to either officer at [email protected] or [email protected].

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November 29, 2016 - 11:43am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, drama club, theater, arts, batavia, news.

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The Batavia High School Drama Club presents three performances this weekend of William Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing," as dramatized by Trish Black Melchan.

Performances are at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday, and at 2 p.m., Sunday, on the stage of the school's auditorium.

Tickets are $8 per adult and $6 for students and seniors.

The Cast:

Messenger of the Court -- Hannah Bluhm
Beatrice -- Serena Strollo-DiCenso
Benedick -- Evan Bellavia
Don Pedro -- Sam Rigerman
Claudio -- Pierce Corbelli
Hero -- Eryn Dunn
Leonato -- Alex O'Brien
Don John -- Cameron Bontrager
Borachio -- McKenna Dziemian
Conrade -- Christian Arteaga
Dogberry -- AnnMarie Georgia
Verges -- Taylor McKenzie
Margaret -- Celia Flynn
Ursula -- Taylor Fonda
Nerissa -- Elise Hoerbelt
Friar Francis -- Olivia Judge
Kinsman -- Alicia Scroger
Kinsman -- Madeline Keenan
Attendant -- Parise Ricks
Attendant -- Alayna Tatarka
Sexton -- Shannon Cervone

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November 17, 2016 - 4:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in arts, entertainment, Christmas, Batavia HS, batavia, news.

The Batavia HS choir plans on competing in a chorus competition in Washington, D.C., next year and they need to raise $50,000 to make the trip, so a novel fundraising idea they hit on is to sing Christmas carols for the community.

Local businesses can hire them to sing Christmas carols and other holiday songs on Dec. 19. The cost is $15 for two songs and $5 for each additional song.

The choir will also go to private homes on a date yet to be determined. The price is the same.

Director Jane Hagett said the group would also be happy to hear from service clubs, such as Kiwanis, Lions, Rotary or Zonta to sing at one of their gatherings in December.

The school's phone number is (585) 343-2480, ext. 2000.

November 13, 2016 - 10:30am
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports, Batavia HS, batavia, news.

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Batavia got into a shootout Saturday night at Ralph Wilson Stadium against the Dunkirk Marauders and came up a bullet short, losing a fight to the finish 50-48.

Both teams scored seven touchdowns apiece, but Dunkirk made one more two-point conversion than the Blue Devils, and that made all the difference.

A win would have propelled Batavia into a chance at a state title, instead, their season is over.

"This is a great group of kids and I couldn't be more proud of them," said Head Coach Brennan Briggs after the overtime loss. "It didn't turn out the way we wanted, but once again, I'm proud of these guys. Ten and one is a great football season."

The game, in many ways, was a battle of two big-play backs, Batavia's Ray Leach and Dunkirk's Alton Ingram. Leach, a sophomore, came into the game just shy of a 1,000-yard season and Ingram had more than 1,100 yards rushing.

Saturday, Leach carried the ball 20 times for 224 yards and Ingram ran 33 times for 240 yards. Both backs scored four touchdowns each.

Coming into the game, Batavia knew Ingram would be a challenge.

"You’ve got to gang-tackle him," Briggs said. "You can’t arm tackle him. He’s a big kid. He runs hard. He makes you pay if you try to arm tackle him. He’s a good football player. I tip my cap off to him. I wish we could have done a little bit more to stop him but that’s football."

The sophomore Leach finished the season strong.

"He did a great job," Briggs said. "He busted the big plays. He made the runs. He made the plays he could have made. I look forward to having him for two more years. He did a great job. He’s hard to stop."

The game opened fast and never let up. A minute into the first quarter, Leach scored on a 59-yard run.

On Dunkirk's first play from scrimmage on its first possession, Dunkirk's QB Evon Hernandez connected on a 61-yard pass to Elwin Gomez.

In the battle of two-point conversions on these first two touchdowns, the Marauders came out on top, and led 8-6.

Before the end of the quarter, the two teams would combine for another four touchdowns and Dunkirk entered the second quarter with a 22-20 lead.

Jerry Reinhart and Chandler Baker also had big games for Batavia. 

Reinhart scored twice on the ground, part of his total of 131 yards on 14 carries, and tossed TD passes to Leach and Baker. He was 3-9 passing for 48 yards.

Baker gained 54 yards on seven carries and caught two passes for 37 yards.

Dunkirk came into the game as a big-score team, strong run game and some athletes who could move the ball. Briggs said he and his coaches knew they would be tough to stop.

"We knew we would probably have to outscore them," Briggs said. "It was a great game. We just didn’t come out on top."

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To purchase prints, click here.

October 30, 2016 - 8:58am
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports, batavia, Batavia HS, news.

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Things seemed to be going Livonia's way in the first half of the Class B Section V semifinal game in Rochester yesterday afternoon.

The Bulldogs controlled the ball for much of the first two quarters while the Batavia offense sputtered, with the team getting its only points in the half on a 71-yard kickoff return by Chandler Baker.

Livonia led the Blue Devils 14-8, but this is Batavia on the field. Head Coach Brennan Briggs preaches "relentless football." Toughness is a given, and when the Blue Devils took possession to open the first half the determination to play tough was apparent.

Batavia scored on their opening drive, followed by a fumble recovery on Livonia's first possession, and the Bulldogs never got back in the game.

It's almost as if you could watch Livonia's fight fade with each passing down.

"Livingston County is great football and they’re tough kids, but I do believe at the end of the day, we’ve got one of the toughest football teams going and these guys pride themselves on it," Briggs said. "When we sniff a little bit of weakness, we’re going to go after it and we’re going to keep going and we’re not going to stop."

The Bulldogs seemed to game plan well to counter the ground threat of sophomore Ray Leach, who was held to only 28 yards on 15 carries for the game, so in the second half, Briggs switched things up a bit, letting QB Jerry Reinhart use his arms and legs more.

Reinhart finished with 73 rushing yards on 13 carries. He was also 7-14 passing for 121 yards and a TD.

His favorite target was Leach, who had four catches for 73 yards, including a 23-yarder for a TD.

“You get number 34 in space and he’s deadly," Briggs said. "Our quarterback can get the ball to him and get him in space where they can’t bottle everything up and then somebody has to make a play on Ray Leach in space and that’s pretty difficult to do.”

Leach was also a factor on defense coming up with big play after big play, including snuffing out a Livonia drive with an interception in the end zone.

"He likes to hit," Briggs said. "He likes to bring the stick. He gets fired up. He did a good job doing his 1/11th and he was locked down to defend one of their best receivers. I’m proud of him and I’m proud of this football team."

The defensive dominance by the Blue Devils in the second half was a team effort, with contributions from Reinhart, Chandler Baker, J'Zon Richardson and Anthony Ray.

The defensive line stiffened in the second half, doing a better job of bottling up Brody Metcalf, Matt Hyde and John Smith on the ground, pushing back the O-line and harassing Metcalf more consistently when he dropped back to pass.

“To be honest, that’s not scheme," Briggs said while discussing some of the second-half defensive adjustments. "That’s our guys deciding that they’re really going to start to take over."

It's almost as if Batavia could smell blood in the water after that first fumble (there were two in the second half (three actually, but the refs gave the ball to Livonia)).

Briggs said his team knows how to sniff out another team's weakness and exploit it. Reinhart agreed.

"If you keep pounding somebody’s weakness, they’re going to slow down, no matter who it is," Reinhart said.

Batavia won 31-20 after Livonia scored a TD in the final second of play (see last picture in slideshow).

The Blue Devils now have a chance to three-peat as sectional champions. This is a very different team from the one that took home the trophy each of the past two seasons and Briggs said this year's squad has had a bit of a chip on its shoulder because of comparisons.

"These guys have their identity now," Briggs said. "A lot of people talk about that we graduated 16, 17 players and Batavia wasn’t going to be there, but here we are and we’re still going to keep that chip on our shoulders."

Reinhart said that identity is built around the team's motto, "relentless."

"That’s what is says on the back of al our T-shirts: relentless, and that’s how we play football," Reinhart said. "We hit these guys and we don’t stop until the game’s over."

Next Saturday at 3 p.m., Batavia will be back in Rochester to face Hornell for the Section V Class B championship. Hornell has been out of the post-season picture the past couple of years but comes into the final, like Batavia, undefeated for 2016. Yesterday, the Red Raiders beat Palmyra-Macedon 49-29.

Top photo: Codie Dioguardi scores on Batavia's opening second-half drive.

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To purchase prints of photos, click here.

October 22, 2016 - 10:02am
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports, batavia, Batavia HS, news.

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Wet and cold and a slippery pigskin defined much of Batavia's opening round game against University Prep at Van Detta Stadium on Friday night.

Batavia pulled out a win, 24-12, after falling behind in a first half 12-8 marked by four fumbles.

In all, both teams would combine for more than 10 turnovers on the rain-soaked night.

U-Prep held Batavia's season-leading rusher, Ray Leach, to less than 40 yards on the ground. He did score the opening touchdown.

It was a tough night for passing, and with Leach pretty well bottled up by U-Prep's defense, Batavia turned to QB Jerry Reinhart to run the ball. He rushed for 66 yards and two touchdowns.

The star of the night was likely Anthony Ray, who had 10 tackles and two sacks, including one for a safety.

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To purchase prints, click here.

October 19, 2016 - 11:56am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, schools, education, news, batavia.

Academically, Batavia High School is in good shape, Principal Scott Wilson told school board members at Batavia City Schools regular meeting Tuesday night.

Last year, the high school hit a 95-percent graduation rate and Wilson is pleased with regularly hitting a 90-percent-plus rate, but repeating 95 percent will be a daunting challenge, he said.

In eight of the 10 regents exams, the school has improved its passing rate. He said there as been a steady growth in improved scores, especially in math, where staff has invested more time and resources.

"I'd like to see a higher passing rate, but a slow and steady climb is continuing to sharpen the saw," Wilson said.

He described the passing rate for students in advanced placement classes as "healthy."

Last year, 49 percent of students went on to a two-year college and 25 percent to a four-year college. Wilson would like to improve those numbers, but, "those are good numbers and very healthy for us."

About 19 percent of graduates leave school, after study at BOCES, with skills to enter the workforce in a trade.

The introduction of Chrombooks into the classrooms has gone over well with students and parents, Wilson said.

"All you have to do is walk the halls and see the progress in action," Wilson said.

October 17, 2016 - 7:29am
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, Batavia HS, news, batavia.

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The 15th Annual Batavia Blue Devil Athletic Hall of Fame dinner is Saturday at Terry Hills.

Social hour begins at 5 p.m., with dinner at 6 p.m. Tickets are $30 per person.

This year's inductees are: Karen Thomas Dupuis, 1982; David Dedman, 1989; Christopher Kane, 1986; Frank Pontillo, 1991; Susan Salvador Tresco, 1986; and John McGowan Jr., 1995.

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October 13, 2016 - 9:08am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, batavia, news, schools, education.

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Yesterday was "Make a Difference Day" for Batavia High School seniors, who volunteered around the community in various projects. 

Places where seniors volunteered included the Batavia Agri-Business Child Development Center, Batavia Peace Garden, Crossroads House, the Genesee County Nursing Home, Genesee County Park & Forest, the Youth Bureau, GO ART!, Habitat for Humanity and the YWCA.

Info and photos from Tom Redband.

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October 4, 2016 - 10:10am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, soccer, sports, batavia.

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The Batavia High School Girls Soccer Team will likely head into sectional play after three more regular season games with a double-digit win total for the first time in the program's history, despite a 1-0 loss to Eastridge last night at Van Detta Stadium, which dropped the team's record to 9-4.

Eastridge is now 8-4.

The game at Van Detta was a rare night game for the Lady Devils, and even rarer for a soccer game on Woodward Field.

Typically, the senior game is played under the lights at Genesee Community College, but the game was moved to Batavia's track and football complex because of ongoing construction at the college.

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