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


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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October 22, 2016 - 9:30am
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports, alexander.

Alexander roared out of the playoff gate with an impressive 53-0 win over Lyons in the first round of the Section V Class D tournament.

Dane Heberlein led the way for Alexander with 22 carries for 222 yards and four touchdowns. Chris McClinic added 109 yards and a TD on seven carries.

Senior QB P.J. Brennan scored a touchdown on the ground and was six for 12 passing for 109 yards and a two TDs. Brennan has tossed 18 touchdown passes on the year against only two interceptions.

Hauling Brennan's tosses for TDs were Dustin Schmeider and Job Smith.

Hannah Paolucci notched five extra points.

The Trojan defense recovered three fumbles on the night. Erik Scharlau blocked a punt and had five tackles. Schmeider had a sack and five tackles. Zack Jasen had six tackles.

The news wasn't as good out of East Rochester, where Le Roy fell 70-0 in its sectional playoff game. East Rochester's Cameron Cleveland rushed for 249 yards and six TDs on 13 carries. 

Game photos by Rick D. Franclemont.

October 21, 2016 - 9:05am
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports, pembroke, Notre Dame, news.

In Connors and Ferris Bowl play on Thursday, Pembroke notched one more victory for 2016, making it a total of four against four losses, by beating Notre Dame, 20-0.

In a rain-soaked game, there were only six pass attempts between the two teams, so the ground game dominated, and Pembroke dominated on the ground, with Zachary von Kramer rushing for 188 yards on 33 attempts and two TDs for the Dragons. Nick Clark added another 44 yards on a single run that went for a score. 

Jordon Weatherwax gained 51 yards on 16 carries for Notre Dame. 

Notre Dame's Caleb Wolcott led all defensive players with 12 tackles. Jim Zickl added seven tackles for the Irish.

For Pembroke, Von Kramer had eight tackles and Brian Seweryniak added seven and a sack. Jarrod Carrow had an interception.

In the area's other Connors and Ferris Bowl game, Perry/Mt. Morris beat Oakfield-Alabama/Elba, 27-0.

Section V playoffs begin tonight. The #1 seed in Class B, Batavia, hosts University Prep, coming in at #8, at Van Detta Stadium tonight. Game time is 7 p.m. Alexander, the #1 seed in Class D, also has a 7 p.m. home game against Lyons. 

Pembroke/Notre Dame game photos by Rick D. Franclemont. 

October 15, 2016 - 11:08pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports, oakfield-alabama, elba.


Oakfield-Alabama/Elba ruined an otherwise perfect homecoming night for Notre Dame to end the season by scoring 16 fourth quarter points to seal a 22-6 win.

It was the first win of the season for OA/Elba, so both teams finish the year at 1-6.

QB Reice Woodward was only 1-7 passing for one yard, but he gained 149 yards on the ground on 14 carries and scored twice. Tucker Bezon rushed for 75 yards on 18 carries.

For the Irish, Brendan Klotzbach was 10-16 passing for 107 yards.








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October 15, 2016 - 10:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, football.


  • In overtime, Le Roy fell to archrival Cal-Mum in the final game of the season, 30-22. Le Roy still makes sectionals, with a first ground game against East Rochester. Josh Laurie was 10-17 passing for 86 yards, gained another 21 on the ground. Dom Filio had 13 rushes for 22 yards and two touchdowns. Ryan Boyce caught two passes for 55 yards, Nate Flint, five or 32 and Reece Tresco, three for 15. Justin DiFalco has 12 tackles and two sacks. (Game photos by David Boyce. (For more, click here))
  • Batavia won a triple-overtime thriller over Clyde-Savannah, 40-34, to finish the regular season at 7-0 behind big nights for Jerry Reinhart and Ray Leach. Reinhart was 18-26 passing for 321 yards and one TD. He also ran the ball into the end zone once himself. Leach, who sat out most of the first half, scored four times on 14 carries for 167 yards. Chandler Baker had 66 yards receiving and Andrew Mruczek pulled in passes for 100 yards. Anthony Ray led the defense with eight tackles and a sack.
  • In a matchup of undefeated Class D teams, Alexander prevailed over C.G. Finney, 48-7. Finney opened the game with a nine-minute drive for a score, but the rest of the game belonged to Alexander. Dane Heberlein had 11 carries for 141 yards. P.J. Brennan completed six of seven passes for 141 yards and four TDs with no interceptions. Derrick Busch had four catches for 111 yards and three TDs. On defense, Mitch Gordon had 16 tackles. Heberlein, 11, Zach Jasen, 13 and Ryan Mileham had five tackles and a fumble recovery. Erik Scharlau also had a fumble recovery. (Game photos by Rick Franclemont (for more, click here))
  • York/Pavilion fell to Canisteo-Greenwood, 20-34.
  • Pembroke beat Nichols, 42-22.







October 15, 2016 - 6:13pm
posted by Rick Franclemont in sports, alexander, trojans, football, finney, varsity.

It was Senior night in Alexander Friday and the Alexander Trojans took the field against Finney/Northstar in a battle of the unbeatens.

Finney came out strong, running the ball on every play and moving the chains in small increments, eating up all but about 3 minutes in the first quarter when they finally punched it in.

The Trojans marched down the field and responded 2 minutes later with a Brennan to Schmeider pass for the score and then didn't look back.


Heberlein ran one in. Brennan hit Busch for another 3. McClinic took one almost 50 yards into the end zone. Paolucci hit the extra points.

As the offense was firing on all cylinders, the defense figured out the Finney misdirection plays and shut them down. 

More pictures can be found here:

Congratulations to the team and coaches on the first undefeated season in 39 years and special recognition to Seniors:

Dane Heberlein

Brian George

Derrick Busch

PJ Brennan

Ryan Mileham

Hannah Paolucci

Jacob Bykowski

Nic Caldwell

Zach Jasen

Kyle Perl

Josh Hylkema

Tommy DeSalvo

Dustin Scmeider

Ryan Dunbar

And the Senior Cheerleaders:

Sara Webster

Alexis Earsing

Alynn Franclemont

Dominique Mooney

Yahaira Brown-Diaz

Kaylee MacIntyre

(Hopefully I named everybody!)

On to playoffs....



October 9, 2016 - 12:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports.


Batavia beat Edison Tech, 41, 15. It was another big game for Ray Leach, who rushed for three TDs on 171 yards. Codie Dioguardi also came up big, carrying the ball for 163 yards and a TD. Anthony Ray led the defense with seven tackles and a sack. Also adding seven tackles each were Chandler Baker and Sam Marble.

Le Roy beat Wayland-Cohocton 34-7 (game photos by David Boyce (more)). Josh Laurie was 5-9 passing for 82 yards and three TDs. Reece Tresco also got time under center and was 4-4 passing for 73 yards and a TD. Nate Flint scored twice on three receptions for 62 yards. He also carried the ball 12 times for 58 yards. Dom Filio had 94 yards on 14 carries. Laurie also carried the ball eight times for 66 yards and a TD. Ryan Boyce scored twice on four receptions for 59 yards. 

Pembroke fell to C.G. Finney, 35-13 (game photos by Rick D. Franclemont). The Dragons made a game of it in the first half, going into the locker room trailing 14-7, but were dominated in the second half as Finney rang up 21 unanswered points.

Alexander moved to 6-0 with a win over Wilson, 50-26. QB P.J. Brennan completed 13 of 16 passes for 231 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. Next up for the Trojans, C.J. Finney, also Class D and also undefeated.

Cal-Mum/Byron-Bergen beat Wellsville, 42-14.

Attica beat Oakfield-Alabama/Elba 61-0. 

Geneseo 36 over York/Pavilion 12.

In a game decided by a field goal in overtime, Holley beat Notre Dame 3-0.




October 8, 2016 - 7:26pm
posted by Rick D. Franclemont in sports, football, varsity, pembroke, CG Finney.

Pembroke kept the game close in the first half, allowing C.G. Finney only 14 points while scoring 7 of their own.  The second half was compleatly different.  Finney scored 21 more points before Pembroke scored again.  Final was 35-13.





October 3, 2016 - 2:28pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, news, charity, Announcements, Bulldawgs, CheerDawgs, football, PANDAS.

Press release:

Join the Batavia Bulldawgs for their last home game this season on Saturday, Oct. 8, at 2 p.m. at Van Detta Stadium in Batavia. They will play against Akron.

This will also be an opportunity to assist one of their own, whose family is challenged by serious illness.

Savannah Heick, a Mini CheerDawg, has been going through a tough time. She is fighting PANDAS -- pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcal -- which she was diagnosed with last season.

Since then, she and her family have been traveling to medical specialists in New York, New Jersey and Ohio. Currently, she is said to be seeing "an amazing specialist" in Cleveland and it has helped "tremendously." With all the battles she faces, she continues to work hard and has been doing an incredible job cheering on the Dawgs.

As you can imagine, this fight has caused some financial burdens for the family.

All Bulldawgs and CheerDawgs, families and supporters, community members, friends -- please come out and help one of our own!

Along with the contents of a donation jar that will be located at the concession stand, the Bulldawgs will donate ALL 50/50 raffle prizes to Savannah's family.

Go Bulldawgs!

October 1, 2016 - 7:00am


It was a cool misty night at Van Detta Stadium where the Batavia Blue Devils hosted the visiting Wilson Wildcats for their homecoming game. First half was a bit quiet where both teams' offense could not put points on the board until there was only 1:51 left in the second quarter. J’Zon Richardson (pictured above) picked up a fumble and 75-yard-run touchdown to give Batavia the lead 6-0 after two quarters of play; two-wopoint conversion was no good.

Late in the third quarter Ray Leach recovered a fumble with one minute left on the clock and ran 70 yards for a touchdown to increase Batavia’s lead to 12-0. No extra points were scored afterward.

In the fourth quarter Cody Dioguardi ran in a 15-yard dash from Jerry Reinhart to increase the lead and secure the win for Batavia, leading 18-0. Extra point was no good.

Wilson put some points back on the board with 51 seconds left in the game. Quarterback James Totten did a lateral pass to Ricky Gamble, who threw a 53-yard touchdown pass to Jervon Johnson. Two-point conversion was good, but time ran out for the Wildcats and Batavia picked up their fifth-straight win.

Ray Leach carried the ball 18 times for 110 yards. Anthony Ray had 11 tackles, four for a loss of yards and one sack on the night.

The Spirit Stick was won by the Senior Class and Quentin Branciforte was named King and Alyssa Juliano was named Queen.

For more photos and to purchase prints click here.





September 25, 2016 - 10:27am
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports, pembroke, alexander, Notre Dame.

C.G. Finney/Northstar 36 Notre Dame of Batavia 7


Pembroke edged out Holley 34-26. (Photos by Rick Franclemont -- more here)

Alexander moved to 4-0 with a 46-0 win over Oakfield-Alabama/Elba. QB P.J. Brennan was 5-10 passing for 116 yards and three TDs. He had two carries for 20 yards and two TDs. Jacob Bykowski, 12 carries for 51 yards and one TD. Chris McClinic, six carries for 47 yards and one TD reception. Dustin Schmeider, two catches, 26 yards and one TD, and three carries for 53 yards and a TD. Derrick Busch, two receptions for 85 yards and a TD. Dan Heberlein, nine carries for 52 yards. On defense, Heberlein had one interception an three tackles. Job Smith, six tackles and a fumble recovery.

Notre Dame lost to C.G. Finney, 36-7.




September 24, 2016 - 2:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, sports, football.


It was supposed to be Le Roy's night -- new stadium facility at Hartwood Park, crowning a homecoming queen, a new half-time show from the marching band -- but there were some long faces after Hornell's Jack Henby stole the show.

The Red Raiders' back carried the ball 16 times for 229 yards and four touchdowns as the visitors quashed any high spirits with a 42-0 win.

Henby, fast and strong, hit holes quick and carried tacklers five and 10 yards at a time.

The first quarter looked like it might be a tighter game than some might have predicted, but with the score only 7-0 near the end of the quarter, the Oatkan Knights squandered a scoring opportunity with a couple of penalties. It was all Red Raiders the rest of the way.

Le Roy's OB Josh Laurie was 9-22 on the night for 98 yards. Ryan Boyce caught three passes for 36 yards and Reece Tresco, Canyon Roster and Gaven Cassidy each had two receptions. 

As a team, the offense managed only one yard on 20 rushing attempts.

Gaven Cassidy had six tackles, and with five each were Justin DiFalco, Luke Hogle, Josh Laurie and David Privatera.

In other local football news from Friday Night:

  • Ray Leach rushed for 136 yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries as Batavia notched another win, 32-7 over Attica. It's the fourth win for the Blue Devils. Jerry Reinhart was 10-17 passing for 107 yards and a touchdown. Antwan Odom caught six of those passes for 91 yards and a TD. Anthony Ray came up big on defense with eight tackles and a sack.
  • Bath over Cal-Mum/Byron-Bergen, 42-0​
  • Perry/Mount Morris over York/Pavilion, 38-14.








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September 19, 2016 - 10:01am
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports, Le Roy, news.


Special teams play put Le Roy on the road to victory with two quick scores in the first quarter in a game that was unique in a couple of ways.

First, it was a home game played on the road. Second, it was played on a Sunday.

Regardless of the strange circumstances, the Le Roy team displayed vintage Oatkan Knights' dominance as it cruised to a 52-7 victory over Wellsville.

The game was played in Perry because Le Roy's home field won't be ready for players and fans after a major upgrade until this coming Friday's homecoming game, and the game was delayed until Sunday because of a massive thunderstorm that passed through Wyoming County right at game time Saturday night.

The game started early, about 10 minutes before the scheduled 3 p.m. time, and Le Roy scored before the official kickoff time when Jason Doemling scampered 39 yards on a punt return.

Later in the first quarter, Le Roy scored its second touchdown, to take a 14-0 lead, when Josh Laurie blocked a field goal attempt and returned it 75 yards.

Wellsville never again mounted a serious offensive challenge, until the team scored late in the fourth quarter when the game was already out of reach.

Laurie had quite the game. Besides the blocked field goal, he had two interceptions. He rushed for 96 yards on seven carries and scored two TDs in the process. He also was 7-13 passing for 148 yards and a TD.

Nate Flint also had an impact, going 85 yards on 11 carries with a TD. Dom Filio carried the ball nine times for 54 yards and two TDs. Luke Stella added 61 yards on six rushes.

Pass catchers included Reece Tresco, two for 87 yards, Filio, three for 34 yards and a TD, and Ryan Boyce, two for 27 yards.

Luke Hogle had five tackles and a sack, Canyon Roster, five tackles and Cole Biggins, five tackles.






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September 17, 2016 - 9:39am
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, football, Notre Dame, pembroke, news.


Through three quarters of football, Pembroke battled Notre Dame to a draw, but when Jake Weatherwax dashed into the end zone from six yards out with five minutes left in the game, the Dragons were unable to answer and fell to 1-2 on the season, 34-27.

It was Notre Dame's first win of the season.

The Dragons and Irish were pretty evenly matched throughout the contest, with each team averaging 5.8 yards per play on offense and only being a minute apart on time of possession for the game.

Weatherwax finished with 187 yards rushing on 29 attempts (he scored four times) and Pembroke's Zach von Kramer had 187 yards on the ground on 27 attempts, and he had two TDs. 

Pembroke's Reid Miano had 13 completions on 29 attempts for 209 yards and two TDs.

Notre Dame's Brendan Klotzbach was 8-19 in the air for 126 yards. He was intercepted once.

"Pembroke’s a great team," said Notre Dame Head Coach Rick Mancuso. "They’re very well coached and they have a couple of great athletes on that team. We knew we would have our hands full. Their quarterback threw the ball fantastic and Von Kramer is just a phenomenal running back. We had our hands full. There’s no doubt."

Von Kramer also caught a TD pass and gained 74 yards on three receptions.

Mancuso thought it was a great win for his team, which struggled a bit through the first two games of the season.

"I think we're getting better each week," Mancuso said. "We're not there yet, obviously, but I think the kids had a great week of practice."

Mancuso was impressed with the game Weatherwax had.

"Jake did a fantastic job," Mancuso said. "He's a gritty, hard runner. He makes great cuts. He reads the blocks. I thought he did a terrific job."

Defensively, Notre Dame played tough, but the team still has some holes to plug.

"Defensively, we brought it," Mancuso said. "We really worked hard this week on staying diligent to our plan and working hard and I thought the kids stuck with it. I thought they did a very nice job of executing."

Caleb Wolcott had 10 tackles and a sack. Brad Misiak had 10 tackles.

"We’ve got a lot to work on," Mancuso said. "I mean, they put up 27 points. I’m not ecstatic about that, but those are things we need to clean up and each week we’ll get better."

For the Dragons on defense, von Kramer had 12 tackles.

Four Notre Dame receivers had two catches each -- Ryan Moffatt, Nico Zambito, Misiak and Jordon Weatherwax. Moffatt gained 45 yards and Zambito gained 42.







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September 16, 2016 - 7:50am
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports, alexander.

In a rare Thursday night game, the Alexander Trojans moved to 3-0 on the season, defeating Holley 41-14.

Job Smith gained 107 yards on only four carries for the Trojans. Derrick Busch had three receptions for 103 yards and Dustin Schmeider caught two passes for 71 yards. Sharing the point-after duties, Grant Cox kicked three through and Hannah Paolucci hit two attempts. On defense, Schmeider had five tackles and eight assists.

TDs were scored by Chris McClinic, Busch, P.J. Brennan, Smith, twice, and Mitchell Gordon.


  • Batavia plays University Prep at Sahlen Stadium. Game time is 7 p.m.
  • Oakfield-Alabama/Elba hosts Akron, 7 p.m., at Oakfield
  • Notre Dame travels to Pembroke to meet the Dragons at 7:30 p.m.
  • Cal-Mum/Byron-Bergen is at home against Dansville, 7:30 p.m.
  • York/Pavilion hosts Bolivar-Richburg in York, 7:30 p.m.

Tomorrow, Le Roy is the home team against Wellsville, but the game is being played in Perry at 7:30 p.m.

September 11, 2016 - 3:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports.


  • Le Roy over Dansville, 35-6. Josh Laurie tossed four touchdowns and Jason Doemling hauled in three of them. Nate Flint had two rushing TDs. (Game photos by David Boyce.)
  • Barker beat Notre Dame, 14-12. Brendan Klotzbach was 11-23 passing for 132 yards and a TD. He had one interception. Brad Misiak caught six passes for 30 yards. Ryan Moffatt had a TD reception on one catch of 45 yards. Jake Weatherwax gained 47 yards on nine carries. Caleb Wolcott had 11 tackles.
  • Alexander beat Attica, 14-6. Chris McClinic gained 51 yards on 11 carries Dane Heberlein had 47 yards on 14 carries. P.J. Brennan rushed 10 times for 36 yards. He was 7-16 passing for 82 yards and was picked off twice. Derrick Busch had four receptions for 52 yards. The Trojans notched five sacks, including two by Busch and two by Dustin Schmeider.
  • Oakfield-Alabama/Elba vs. Pembroke, delayed because of weather.




September 10, 2016 - 9:32am
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports, Batavia HS.


Ray Leach dashed 80 yards, untouched, on the opening kickoff to set the tone for the first half of Batavia's second game of the 2016 season, leading the way to a 54-0 victory over St. Mary's.

The Blue Devils were up 48-0 at the half and by then Leach, a sophomore, had four TDs and 234 total yards. His TDs came on runs of 50 and 51 yards and a 24-yard reception.

Coach Brennan Briggs rested Leach in the second half along with QB Jerry Reinhart, who was 2-4 passing with two TD receptions.

Chandler Baker, who took over at QB in the second half and ran a run-only offense, caught Reinhart's other TD connection, a 50-yard reception. 

Antwan Odom had returned an interception 10 yards for a touchdown.

Cody Dioguardi also scored two touchdowns, on a seven-yard run and 10-yard run.

John Kindig had seven tackles, including three for a loss and one sack.








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September 4, 2016 - 8:34am
posted by Howard B. Owens in alexander, Notre Dame, football, sports.


The Alexander Trojans beat the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in a Saturday night game played in Warsaw (because of renovations to Alexander's field) 45-15.

The Trojans scored all of their points in the first half and the Irish scored theirs in the second.

P.J. Brennan was 10 of 16 passing for 198 yards and three TDs and zero interceptions for Alexander. Derrick Busch caught three balls for 75 yards and two TDs. Dane Heberlein rushed for 61 yards on 11 carries and scored twice. Job Smith had 12 yards on three carries and scored. He also had two receptions for 26 yards and scored on a nine-yard TD pass. Chris McClinic caught two passes for 54 yards.

On defense, Eric Scharlau had three sacks and Zach Jasen had a sack and two tackles.








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September 3, 2016 - 1:42pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, football, sports.


Le Roy fell 60-32 to Bath in its season opener in Bath.

Photos by David Boyce. For more photos from the game, click here.






September 3, 2016 - 12:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports, news, batavia, Batavia HS.


The Batavia Blue Devils, 2016 edition, quietly took apart Greece Olympia/Odyssey on Woodward Field on Friday night to the point that the Spartans seems to have lost their fight by the third quarter.

It's as if the team that has won two consecutive Section V titles hasn't missed a beat. In fact, the win was the 20th straight for the program against a Section V opponent.

The final score was 39-0.

"I'm very pleased because going into the game I wasn't sure what we had," said Head Coach Brennan Briggs. "I wasn't sure how we would respond to things and how we were going to go when we got hit in the mouth. But these guys came out and proved that they bought in and they’re a tough group of kids and we’ve got some playmakers out there. I’m very excited for what they can do from here."

This edition slots Jerry Reinhart and QB1 and, Ray Leach and Codie Dioguardi in the backfield, Chandler Baker, Andrew Mruczek and Eric Davis at wideouts and a defense that includes Baker, Mruczek, Taiyo Iburi-Bethel, Anthony Ray and Jzon Richardson.

Those are not names that popped up in many headlines over the past two championship seasons, but they're all players poised to make an impact, if one game is any indication, in 2016.

Reinhart certainly has a lot of confidence in his teammates.

"Everybody asked me, they all asked me, 'how are you guys going to be this year?' and I was like, 'come to the first game and find out,' " Reinhart said. "I was very positive about our team. In the off-season, I thought we were going do great."

Briggs is impressed with the quiet leadership Reinhart has brought to the team, replacing Andrew Mruczek's older brother, Greg, at quarterback.

"Greg was more rah-rah and everything and great about it," Briggs said. "Jerry is more reserved, but he goes out there and gets the job done. He's a leader. He's a great leader. You saw, he made some big plays. He's not afraid to tuck it and run and he kept us together. I'm proud of him. He did a great job."

Friday was also a chance for Andrew to move out from under the shadow of his older brother, and in a big way, and significantly with a key interception in the first quarter.

"I think the biggest turning point in that game was Andrew Mruczek's interception," Briggs said. "They had a drive going, I think 10-plus plays, and we always say a nine-plus play drive is devastating for a defense and we were starting to feel it and all the sudden, number 21 comes in and makes a huge play for us. I’m happy for him because he’s been a trooper and he’s been working his butt off and he’s just silently been doing it."

Mruczek exemplifies the quiet confidence that characterizes the team.

"I think people are going to realize, Batavia football is here to stay and we're going to keep working hard every day," Mruczek said.

The offense was good, the defense was good, but special teams really stepped it up Friday night.

Richardson, a linebacker on defense, handles kickoffs, extra points and field goals. On kickoffs Friday, he consistently put the ball past the 10-yard line, and with defenders hustling down the field, the Spartans were routinely starting drives with their backs to the wall.

"That is so big for our team," Briggs said. "From the standpoint of having just great energy and momentum, they did a fantastic job for us and special teams cannot be overlooked because field position is huge in football games."

Briggs praised the work of special teams coach Ben Buchholz in motivating the players and getting each to do their part to plug holes and cut lanes, and John Garlock has been applying those lessons well, Briggs said.

"Johnny Garlock has been doing it for us for three years and he goes down like a missile," Briggs said. "He’s long snapper on punts and the first guy down there and on kickoff coverage, he makes the plays."







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