Batavia Blue Devils prove it's a big-time team on opening night of new stadium
A big night, a big crowd, a big win but the Batavia Blue Devils also suffered a big loss in the second quarter when Joshua Barber went down with an ankle injury.
The senior 230-pound lineman and linebacker is likely out for the rest of the regular season, at a minimum.
"When you lose a player of that caliber, with that leadership, with that physical presence, it's a shot at the heart of the team," Head Coach Brennan Briggs said after the game.
He praised his team for the way they pulled together and fought through adversity after Barber was helped off the field with his leg in a splint.
Batavia, Section V's #1 ranked team, beat the #2 team, and always a tough opponent, Livonia, 19-6.
"We know they're always going to be tough," Briggs said. "I'm proud of our guys. Our defense played great, and our offense, you know, obviously we didn't put up 50 points like everyone always expects, but at the end of the day, these are the games that you want to be in to test the character of your team."
Alex Rood at QB, Terrez Smith and Cody Burns in the backfield, carried the team offensively.
Rood had 90 yards on 17 carries and scored a touchdown. Smith scored on a four-yard run and Burns on a breakaway 56 dash to the end zone.
It was Batavia's first came on their new artificial turf field in the new Daniel A. Van Detta Stadium, which was dedicated before the game with a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by about two dozen of Van Detta's relatives.
"t's great," Briggs said. "I'm happy for the kids. I'm really happy for the community. I think that I didn't even really turn around and look at the crowd but I'm assuming it was a pretty good crowd up there. I'm just happy for everybody, honestly.
"You know everybody's been driving by, waiting for the opening of this and these guys had a lot of pressure on them just because of the amount of people here and the media and everything and they handled it well.
"For these young high school kids to come out here and play a gritty game and come out with a win, especially without one of their big-time leaders, it's a testament to their character."
Photos by Jim Burns.
NOTE: We'll have a video posted later today about the game and the opening of the new stadium.