The game wasn't pretty, the play wasn't perfect, but Batavia High School showed a good Class A team what it's made of, what Batavia football has always been about, Head Coach Brennan Briggs told his players after the game.
Grit. Determination. Never surrender.
The Blue Devils played their hearts out, never giving in even after the Wilson Wildcats overcame a two-TD deficit in the first half to tie the game and threaten to take it over.
The final score was 34-28, and the game was just that close.
"It's a big win for them," Briggs said after the game. "I preached all week we were going to play a good Class A team. It was going to be a close football game and we're going to see what we're made of, and I think we showed, we're a pretty good football team, but we still have a lot to work on."
Coming into the season, with Blue Devils, returning Section V champs for Class B, were ranked #1 in a Section V coaches poll, but Briggs downplays the chatter about his team as a lot of hype. He doesn't buy into it and he doesn't want his players getting caught up in it either.
"I absolutely hate the hype," Briggs said. "I just like us worrying about Batavia football, getting better every single week. If we put together a great football game, and we play our A game, I think we can definitely make a run, but with that said, any given moment, there's injuries and bad breaks and bad bounces and if we don't play a perfect game anybody can knock us out on any night."
A lot of the credit for Friday's win goes to the defense. Face with a lot of short field challenges, the defense usually held together. Briggs said the team has instituted a special red zone unit and that's been a key to Batavia getting tougher when their backs are against the goal line
"A lot of teams think, ah, they're within the five-yard line, the other team is going to score," Briggs said. "Our guys take pride in that unit. It's a special unit. They take pride in not letting the opponent get in the endzone."
Wilson benefitted from some turnovers and some questionable penalties, but the Blue Devils never gave in even as the favorable breaks helped Wilson keep the score tight.
"I was confident all night, the way our defense was playing that we could get the stops as long as we were ahead of them," Briggs said.
Senior QB Greg Mruczek was 14 of 27 for 228 yards and five TDs. Ryan Hogan had four receiptions for 102 yards and two TDs. Trevor Sherwood caught six passes for 64 yards and a TD. Anthony Gallo, four receptions, 70 yards and two TDs. Dom Mogavero, 12 tackles. Danny Williams, 11 tackles and a forced fumble, Ray Leach, seven tackles. Adonis Davis six tackles and an interception. Clayton Gorski, six tackles, including a sack.
Batavia is now 3-0 to start the season. Wilson falls to 2-1. Next up for Batavia, Edison Tech at home. Game time, 7:30 p.m. on Friday.
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