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September 28, 2019 - 1:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, football, sports.
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First the Blue Devils lost Josh Barber then they suffered a lopsided upset at Honeoye Falls-Lima the next week, but last night they bounced back for a convincing 44-7 win at home against Geneva.

"Last week, obviously, it was our first game without Josh Barber," said Head Coach Brennan Briggs. "You know it's kind of the shell shock a little bit. We didn't have that MIC linebacker-guard in there. And you know that's a tough toll for a high school kid to deal with. I think it was still we were a little bit shell shocked.

"They punched us to the mouth last Friday and we didn't respond but I think we found ourselves this week. We got some pieces in place, moved some guys up, and everybody played for the name on the front the jersey tonight and they were willing to sacrifice whatever it took to win for the name on the front of the jersey and I'm just proud of these guys."

Terez Smith was the offensive star of the night going for 276 yards on 22 carries. He scored three touchdowns. Cody Burns added two touchdowns on 16 carries for 126 yards.

Jesse Reinhart took over at quarterback, with Alex Rood moving to fullback, and was four of seven passing for 72 yards and a touchdown.

Rood caught three passes for 66 yards and a TD. He also had 29 yards on five carries.

On defense, Burns had seven tackles. Matt Beach and Cam White each had four tackles and Beach also forced a fumble and had a fumble recovery.

Near the end of the game, Kam Culver took over at running back and had four carries for 40 yards.

In other Friday night action:

Notre Dame beat Clyde-Savannah 34-12. Gabe Macdonald rushed for 231 yards on 16 carries and he scored twice. He had 25 reception yards and on defense had an interception and six tackles. Jed Reese carried the ball 20 times for 157 yards and two TDs. He had six tackles. Mark Sanders had an interception and a 25-yard kick return for a TD. Dakota Sica led ND with; 13 tackles; Mason Randall had eight tackles and a sack.

Alexander 24 beat York/Pavilion 0.

Cal-Mum/Byron-Bergen won 47-0 over Mynderse/South Seneca. Bryce Yockel had 160 yards on 14 carries and scored on the ground three times. Joey Laursen was 11 of 23 passing and connected on two TD receptions. Adam O’Donoghue had a 66-yard pick-six.

Le Roy's game against Avon was moved to Saturday night.

In eight-man football, Oakfield-Alabama/Elba  beat Frewsburg 66-14.

Photos by Steve Ognibene.

To view or purchase photos, click here.









September 22, 2019 - 12:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, football.


Le Roy dominated archrival Cal-Mum/Byron-Bergen at Hartwood Park on Friday night, securing a 20-6 win.

Andrew Englerth ran for 158 yards on 16 attempts and scored twice. Kyler LaCarte ran for 52 yards on eight carries. Jake Hill carried eight times for 42 yards. Hill was six for seven passing for 63 yards and a TD. Nate Andrews had a TD reception in three catches for 42 yards.

On defense, Hill and Cole Rauscher had seven tackles each. Rauscher added a sack and Englerth also notched a sack as did Jimmy Burns.

For the Raiders, Bryce Yockel ran for 176 yards on 25 carries and scored one touchdown. Vinny Molisani caught three passes for 35 yards. Joe Laursen was eight for 14 passing for 57 yards. On defense, Molisani had 11 tackles.

In other weekend football action: 

Honeoye Falls-Lima beat Batavia 41-7.

Notre Dame beat Red Jacket 34 to 14. Gabe Macdonald ran for 123 yards on 15 carries. He was six for 14 passing for 152 yards and two TDs. Mark Sanders ran for 31 yards on four carries and scored a TD. He had four receptions for 121 yards and a TD. Jed Reese rushed for 181 yards on 22 carries and scored twice. Anthony Zambito had a TD reception of 28 yards. Cody Henry had nine tackles and an interception.

Alexander 23, Clyde-Savannah 6. Ty Wood scored on an 18-yard run and a four-yard fumble recovery. Dylan Busch hit Nick Kramer on a 26-yard TD pass. 

In eight-man games, Oakfield-Alabama/Elba 60 beat Maple Grove 12 and Pembroke beat Frewsburg 28-16.

Photos by Ed Henry.

Top photo: Le Roy's Nate Andrews celebrates his 28-yd TD pass from Jake Hill just three minutes into the game.


Andrew Englerth rushed for 158 yards on 16 carries and two TDs, including the electrifying
60-yarder with 6:20 remaining in the fourth quarter to seal the win for the Knights.


CM-BB's rushing star Bryce Yockel rushed for 176 yards on 25 carries and the lone score for the Raiders.

September 20, 2019 - 1:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Ed Oliver, batavia, T.F. Brown's, football, buffalo bills, sports.


The Buffalo Bills #1 draft pick, rookie defensive tackle Ed Oliver, will be at T.F. Brown's Restaurant from 5 to 6:30 p.m., Tuesday (Sept. 24).

The first 100 kids age 12 and under will receive a free Ed Oliver commemorative T-shirt.

Photo: Rick Mancuso and Dominic Grazioplene.

September 14, 2019 - 5:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia HS, football, video.
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September 14, 2019 - 12:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, batavia, Batavia HS, football, van detta 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.












September 13, 2019 - 12:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, Notre Dame, football.

The Fighting Irish trounced the Perry Yellow Jackets in Thursday night football action in Perry, 64-3.

Notre Dame picked up 585 total yards on offense, including 512 rushing.

Jed Reese carried the ball 21 times for 250 yards and three touchdowns. He also had five tackles on defense.

Dylan Warner rushed eight times for 103 yards and three TDs.

The defense dominated with seven sacks and two interceptions and held Perry to negative 10 yards of rushing offense.

QB Gabe Mcdonald was 3 for 5 passing for 75 yards and two TDs. He also ran for 95 yards on three carries, scoring twice. He also caught a pass on a two-point conversion.

Cody Henry led the defense with 10 tackles. He also had a pass reception for a touchdown.

Anthony Zambito caught a pass for a 62-yard TD and had three tackles.

September 8, 2019 - 1:45pm

Check out the great big football tailgate party Sunday, Sept. 22, hosted by the American Warrior Festival and The Original Red Osier Landmark Restaurant in Stafford.

Wear your favorite team's apparel and join the all-American fun in the restaurant's parking lot, 6492 E. Main St. (Route 5), Stafford.

Event starts at noon and goes until it stops! Rain or shine!

Here's what will be offered:

  • All you-can-eat smoked buffet for $25, featuring smoked chicken wings, smoked BBQ ribs, smoked pulled pork, plus prime rib chili, cajun corn, salt potatoes and mac salad;
  • Live football games on up to three large-screen TVs;
  • Live acoustic music by local musicians;
  • VA Vet Center services (veteran benefits);
  • Smoke and donate cigars to Cigars for Warriors;
  • Beer tasting with Dublin Corners Farm Brewery;
  • Bourbon tasting;
  • Wine tasting;
  • Two 42-inch television raffles, with half the proceeds going to WNYHeroes.org and Mission 22 in association with The Firing Pin LLC in Bergen;
  • Beer Garden;
  • Classic Raiders vs. Bills games playing all day;
  • Raiders and Bills merchandise.
September 8, 2019 - 1:13pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Notre Dame, football, sports, alexander, Le Roy, batavia.
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With QB 1 Colin McCulley out of action for six weeks after suffering a broken collar bone in a preseason scrimmage, Notre Dame called on Gabe Macdonald on short notice to take over the reins of the team's offense and Macdonald delivered in a 35-16 win at home Saturday over York/Pavilion.

Macdonald, taking snaps for the first time in a regular-season game, was 6 for 7 passing for 153 yards and two TDs. He also rushed for 37 yards on eight carries and scored a two-point conversion.

Jed Reese and Mark Sanders also helped pick up the offense. Reese rushed for 208 yards and two touchdowns on 22 attempts. Sanders caught two passes for 127 yards and two TDs and rushed three times for 39 yards and a TD. He also had an interception on defense and eight tackles.

Macdonald had nine tackles and two interceptions on defense.

The Fighting Irish surged to an early 19-0 lead but in the middle of the third quarter, York/Pavilion made some adjustments stopped ND's momentum, making the score a more competitive 19-16 at the half.

Reese also sat out several minutes of game time during this stretch with an injury.

"We came out so high and we have high expectations and they were doing a great job early on," Head Coach Joe Zambito said. "Then Judd got a little nicked up and it hurt us a little bit there for awhile but he came back, and he's a tough kid, and he came back into the game.

"York did a good job. I told their coach they could have quit and hats off to him because they did an awesome job and we just came out and our kids played a good football game in the second half."

The Notre Dame game was the only local game on Saturday.

On Friday:

Alexander beat Lyons 48-14. Hayden Walton had 11 carries for 86 yards and two TDs. Jay Morrison, six carries, 72 yards and a TD. Ty Woods, seven carries, 54 yards, and two TDs plus 25 yards receiving. Dylan Busch 4-for-4 and 127 yards passing, with two TDs. Devin Dean had 10 tackles and two sacks. Nick Kramer, eight tackles, one fumble recovery. Eric Cline 6-for-7 on PATs.

Batavia 42, Wayne 12 (click here for game coverage)

Le Roy 46, Wellsville 14: Andrew Englerth carried the ball for 88 yards on nine rushes and scored at TD. Nate Andrews, seven times on the ground for 75 yards and a TD. Kyler LaCarte, nine carries, 55 yards, and a TD. Alex Panepento, three carries, 34 yards, and a TD. Jake Hill was 5-6 passings for 82 yards and two TDs. Cody Lytle had two receptions for 14 yards and two TDs. Tom Saunders had 10 tackles.


September 7, 2019 - 9:39am
posted by Steve Ognibene in batavia, football, sports, steve ognibene's blog, blue devils.



Batavia opened up their 2019 season last evening with a big win 42-12 over the Wayne Eagles at Wayne High School.

Batavia took the first lead midway through first quarter on a 41-yard burst from junior running back Terrez Smith. Smith coming from Alexander, made a jump from Class D to Class B this season. Alex Rood carried for a touchdown late in the first quarter to give the Blue Devils a 14-0 lead.

Wayne’s tricky plays led to some penalties for Batavia early in the second quarter. Batavia adjusted the defense, got the ball back and Jesse Reinhart scored his first touchdown on a pass from Alex Rood to make it 21-0.

Then minutes later Smith scored again after a blocked punt by Matt Beach to give the Devils a commanding 28-0 lead with 22 seconds left at the half.

On the kickoff, Wayne got past Batavia’s defense to bring the Eagles in scoring range with seconds left. Next play, quarterback Mason Blankenburg threw a jump ball to the right pylon to Richie Cassano to put the Eagles on the board at the half 28-6.

Right out of the gate after halftime, Batavia answered back with a 60-yard touchdown score from running back Cody Burns, who is back from last year's injury that took him out of the season early on.

Wayne would score next on touchdown pass from Blankenburg to Brian Sills for a 70-yard throw and catch. Batavia’s Cody Burns scored minutes later to end three quarters for Batavia to lead 42-12, which also was the final score.

Batavia plays Livonia next Friday night, the inaugural game at the new VanDetta Stadium on turf at 7 p.m.

Photos by Steve Ognibene. To purchase or view photos click here.






August 16, 2019 - 1:21pm
posted by Billie Owens in sports, football, batavia bulldawgs.
The Batavia Bulldawgs our their regular season of football Saturday, Aug. 17, at Lions Park in Batavia against Barker/RoyHart.
The park is located at 11 Wallace St.
Game times are as follows:
  • Beginners (ages 6/7) at 10 a.m.
  • Mini (ages 8/9) at 12 p.m.
  • Junior Varsity (ages 10/11) at 2 p.m.
  • Varsity (ages 12/13) at 4 p.m.

For questions or comments, email:  [email protected]

July 16, 2019 - 3:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in video, football, batavia, Batavia HS.
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Young football players from throughout the county -- 48 total -- participated Monday in a youth camp conducted by Batavia HS Head Coach Brennan Briggs.

Submitted photo.


July 2, 2019 - 5:14pm

The Batavian file photo from 2018.

Press release:

The Batavia Blue Devils Youth Football Camp will be held on Monday and Tuesday, July 15-16, behind Batavia High School, located at 260 State St. in the City of Batavia.

Time is 9 to 11:30 a.m. both days.

Cost is $45. Cash or check (payable to: Blue Devils Touchdown Club).

It is for students entering grades one through eight in the fall.

Hosted by Head Coach Brennan Briggs and the BHS Football staff.

***Bring shorts, T-shirt, cleats and water bottle.

Mail payment and the following information to Brennan Briggs, 103 Oak St., Batavia  NY 14020 OR  to: Batavia Middle School, 96 Ross St., Batavia NY 14020, ATTEN: Brennan Briggs.

  • Name of Camper
  • Camper is entering Grade ___
  • Emergency Contact Name and Phone Number
  • T-shirt Size: ADULT ___ or YOUTH ___

Register by July 5 to guarantee correct T-shirt size.

The camp will feature relay races, flag football games at the end of each day; current BHS football players, as well as alumni will speak and work with campers; T-shirts distributed and pizza after Tuesday's camp.

Here's the breakdown of what will be taught for each position; all drills will be modified for age groups:

  • Quarterbacks -- Hand placement, 3-step, 5-step, footwork drills, throwing mechanics, and ball-handling drills;
  • Wide Receivers -- Stance, start, footwork drills, hand drills, route running;
  • Running Backs -- Stance, start, footwork drills, run blocking, pass blocking;
  • Offensive Line -- Stance, start, run-blocking drills, pass-blocking drills;
  • Linebackers -- Stance, start, footwork drills, tackling-form drills, run stopping, pass defending;
  • Defensive Backs -- Stance, start, footwork drills, man coverage, zone coverage, pass defending;
  • Defensive Line -- Stance, start, 1 v. 1 drills, speed and quickness off the ball.

The Batavia Blue Devils are the 2018 Far West Champions and 2018 State Finalists.​ They have been Section V Champions four out of the last five seasons.

May 16, 2019 - 2:56pm

The Batavia Blue Devils Youth Football Camp will be held on Monday and Tuesday, July 15-16, behind Batavia High School, located at 260 State St. in the City of Batavia.

Time is 9 to 11:30 a.m. both days.

Cost is $45. Cash or check (payable to: Blue Devils Touchdown Club).

It is for students entering grades one through eight in the fall.

Hosted by Head Coach Brennan Briggs and the BHS Football staff.

Bring shorts, T-shirt, cleats and water bottle.

Mail payment and the following information to Brennan Briggs, 103 Oak St., Batavia  NY 14020 OR  to: Batavia Middle School, 96 Ross St., Batavia NY 14020, ATTEN: Brennan Briggs.

  • Name of Camper
  • Camper is entering Grade ___
  • Emergency Contact Name and Phone Number
  • T-shirt Size: ADULT ___ or YOUTH ___

Register by July 5 to guarantee correct T-shirt size.

The camp will feature relay races, flag football games at the end of each day; current BHS football players, as well as alumni will speak and work with campers; T-shirts distributed and pizza after Tuesday's camp.

Here's the breakdown of what will be taught for each position; all drills will be modified for age groups:

  • Quarterbacks -- Hand placement, 3-step, 5-step, footwork drills, throwing mechanics, and ball-handling drills;
  • Wide Receivers -- Stance, start, footwork drills, hand drills, route running;
  • Running Backs -- Stance, start, footwork drills, run blocking, pass blocking;
  • Offensive Line -- Stance, start, run-blocking drills, pass-blocking drills;
  • Linebackers -- Stance, start, footwork drills, tackling-form drills, run stopping, pass defending;
  • Defensive Backs -- Stance, start, footwork drills, man coverage, zone coverage, pass defending;
  • Defensive Line -- Stance, start, 1 v. 1 drills, speed and quickness off the ball.

The Batavia Blue Devils are the 2018 Far West Champions and 2018 State Finalists.​ They have been Section V Champions four out of the last five seasons.

January 11, 2019 - 3:59pm

Submitted photos and press release:

The Byron-Bergen Senior High School proudly announces that every fall varsity Byron-Bergen sport team achieved the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) Scholar-Athlete Team award.

The fall sports teams are cheerleading, boys cross-country, girls cross-country, football, gymnastics, boys soccer, girls soccer and girls volleyball.

“Here at Byron-Bergen we are always proud of our student athletes and their accomplishments,” said Byron-Bergen Athletic Director Rich Hannan. “This fall we are especially proud that all of our fall teams made the NYS Scholar-Athlete Team award.

"As Athletic Director, I am extremely blessed to work with such great student athletes and coaches. This particular recognition is a great testament to the student athletes and what it takes to perform at a high level. In and out of the classroom, our kids are getting it done!”

The Scholar-Athlete program recognizes athletes for their academic success. NYSPHSAA Scholar-Athlete Team awards go to teams whose average GPA of 75 percent of the athletic team equals 90 or above.

Scholar-Athlete Team award recipients, with Byron-Bergen HS students named below photos:

Cheerleading (a multi-school team)

  • Sarah Sue Streeter

Cross-country -- Boys

  • Joshua Fleming
  • Zachary Hannan
  • Travis Lambert
  • Colby Leggo
  • John Mercovich
  • Caleb Sharpe
  • Corden Zimmerman

Cross-country -- Girls

  • Rachel Best
  • Camryn Brookhart
  • Dayanara Caballero
  • Siomara Caballero
  • Emma Goodman
  • Sara Goodman
  • Annaliese Hersom
  • Cambria Kinkelaar
  • Alaura Rehwaldt
  • Grace Shepard
  • Emma Smith

Football (a multi-school team)

  • Alexander Dean
  • Anthony DiQuattro
  • Andrew Parnapy

Gymnastics (a multi-school team)

  • Victoria Rogoyski
  • Emily Salmonds

Soccer – Boys

  • Nicholas Baubie
  • Ryan Cooper
  • Adam Drake
  • Kyle Foeller
  • Rick Hubbard
  • William Johnson
  • Hunter Leach
  • Sabastian Pawlukewicz
  • Wade Thompson
  • Nathan Zwerka

Soccer -- Girls

  • Julianna Amesbury
  • Lydia Campbell
  • Zoey Chambry
  • Elizabeth Donnelly
  • Veronica Duell
  • Kelsey Fuller
  • Eden Goff
  • Hope Hersom
  • Melissa MacCowan
  • Jillian Menzie
  • Chloe Shuskey

Volleyball -- Girls

  • Justine Bloom
  • Hannah Catalino
  • Madison Farnsworth
  • Sara Fraser
  • Amaya Gunther
  • Janae Meister
  • Alexandra Vurraro
  • Annabella Vurraro
December 29, 2018 - 12:28pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, news, football.

Submitted photo and story by Dave Reilly.

Seeing this year's Batavia High School football team go all the way to the New York State Championship game and Notre Dame, my favorite college team since childhood, go to the NCAA semifinal brought back memories of playing football as a kid.

Short memories. Really short memories. You see, my official football career lasted for one week.

When I was a little kid, even at age 6 or 7, I became a huge Notre Dame University fan. I'm not really sure why.

Perhaps it was being Catholic. Maybe it was because my dad liked Notre Dame, although he couldn't really watch any sporting event without getting mad. He had a sixth sense for identifying which team was going to lose and then spending the whole game complaining that “they were getting gypped.”

I actually used to go to my aunts' house to watch sports to get peace and quiet.

When I was very young I was already cutting out articles from the newspaper about Notre Dame and my heroes Ralph Guglielmi, Johnny Lattner and Paul Hornung. When I was 10 in 1957, I watched every second of the Fighting Irish 7-0 victory over Oklahoma (on our black and white TV), which broke the Sooners' 47 game winning streak.

Around this same time I began to play football in the yard or at the park with my little friends. I'm sure the ball was bigger than some of us could hold onto, but we would run and tackle “like the big guys.” Of course, when I got my prized red helmet for Christmas (as described in a previous story) then it was really “game on."

What I'm leading up to here is that as I played and watched football more and more, I started to fantasize about playing for Notre Dame someday. I would drift off to sleep or get through a dull day at school by imaging myself running out of the tunnel onto that oh-so-bright green field at South Bend, Ind.

I would be dressed in my green and gold uniform and I would run and pass for touchdowns that would have the frenzied crowd shouting my name. The week after that 1957 Irish victory over Oklahoma my parents surprised me by taking me to South Bend to see Notre Dame play Iowa.

That whole experience -- the pep rally the night before, the school band playing the fight song, being in the stadium, the sights and sounds of the game -- all solidified my Notre Dame fandom. Even though the Irish lost the game, I was as hooked as a hungry bass chomping on a lure.

As I got older, I grew taller and a bit bigger than some of my friends. When we would play and they would try to tackle me, I would drag some of them along before they could get me to the ground so they started calling me “Tank.” That only boosted my daydream that I could be a real football player.

So, at age 13 as ninth grade approached, I was headed for Notre Dame High School, which in my mind would be the perfect lead in to Notre Dame University. I passed my physical and as the summer ended I arrived at the school with my heart pounding to get my uniform and walk over to the field on Union Street to embark on my football career.

But as happens in life, fantasy and hopefulness were in for a huge dose of reality.

The head coach was a man who had been our physical education teacher at St. Mary's Elementary School. At some point in the first practice coach blew his whistle and told everyone to gather around in a circle. It was time for a fun little activity called “Bull in the Ring.”

The upperclassmen clapped and cheered and seemingly couldn't wait to get at it. I had no idea what was going on, but I found out soon enough. Two players were called out to the center of the ring and essentially would run into each other until the coach decided that one of them had enough.

My opponent outweighed me significantly and went on in his upper-class years to become a team captain and an All-Catholic wrestler. In a minute I went from “Tank” to “Stank” and spent a long time soaking in the tub that night.

Day two brought two more obstacles: going up against way bigger guys and sunburn. Apparently Coach's view of freshman and jayvees was that they were there to be used as punching bags for the varsity.

With a minimal amount of instruction we were lined up on defense for the varsity to run plays against. At a whopping 135 pounds I was placed at defensive end against a senior who was at least 190. Play after play he would just knock me backward into the dirt like a bulldozer would a sapling.

At the same time, the sun was beating down on my red head and fair skin. I don't remember if sunblock was invented then, but even so I didn't have any. So at the end of that practice I made my way home -- head spinning, mouth and eyes full of dirt, skin like a lobster.

In fact, I was burned so badly, that my mom wouldn't let me go to practice on the third day. I can't say I complained because I could barely get out of bed anyway.

Fortunately, it was the weekend and there was no practice on Saturday or Sunday. That gave me a couple days to heal and rest.

On Monday, I made a gigantic mistake. I had my mom write an excuse note for missing Friday's practice. This was comparable to a soldier's mom writing a note to General Patton.

“Dear General, please excuse my son from the war because he had the sniffles.” What was I thinking? As Coach read the note, he looked up at me with an expression of disgust.

“Really kid (he didn't know my name)? Sunburn? I'll see you out on the field.”

So, my mom had no idea, but her note resulted in me running a bunch of laps around the field in the blazing sun while the rest of the team ignored me like lima beans at Thanksgiving dinner.

The last day of my football career really wasn't a surprise. My fantasies of playing quarterback for Notre Dame University had been ground out of my imagination and beaten into the dust of the practice field. At this point, I was just hoping to survive one more practice.

I made it, but not by much.

The final straw was an innocent enough looking punt coverage drill. We lined up in two lines, the punter kicked the ball downfield and we were supposed to take off and go after the receiver. At the end of my line stood Assistant Coach Tree Trunk Arms. His biceps seemed as big around as a normal person's legs.

As I heard the snap count and sound of the ball off the punter's foot I took off.

Suddenly, it felt as though someone had swung a baseball bat and connected with my helmet. But it wasn't a baseball bat, it was the giant fist of Mr. Trunk Arms. Apparently, he was trying to simulate the contact that you would feel from an opposing team member. Yeah, like having a bowling ball dropped on your head would simulate an acorn falling from an oak tree.

Several seconds must have gone by before I realized that my face was in the dirt. My head was reeling and as I lifted it up my vision was blurry. In the cartoons this is often depicted by a bunch of birds flying around the person's head as they stagger away, and stagger is exactly what I did though I can't recall hearing any bird noises.

To this day I hate to admit it, but I think I was crying. The rest of the practice was pretty much a foggy haze in my brain, but I'm pretty sure neither ol' Trunk Limbs nor any other coach asked if I was OK.

That night, when the mist had cleared somewhat from my noggin, I made a decision. I had been working up to it for a couple days. Not only would I never run out of that tunnel in South Bend, I wouldn't be going across Richmond Avenue to the Notre Dame High School field either. I was done.

I don't remember exactly how I quit, but it was certainly no loss to the team.

A couple of the older players made some half-hearted attempts at shaming, words like sissy and coward might have been said, but I was more relieved than sad. Later on, I did letter in cross-country, track and basketball, so I was able to enjoy high school sports after all.

Of course, my childhood daydreams were just that. No player from Batavia, and there have been many good ones at NDHS and Batavia High School, ever played for Notre Dame University. Not to mention the grades needed to get into that venerable college that I didn't come close to achieving.

In fact, St. John Fisher where I did go just had intramural football back then and I didn't even play. A couple teams asked me, but in one swing Assistant Coach Tree Trunk Arms left an indelible ache that killed any notion of football ever holding any glory for me.

December 27, 2018 - 2:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in sports, batavia, football, eight-man football, volleyball, swimming, news.

bataviafbsept92017-3_0.jpg Ray Leach's list of records is impressive:

  • Section V single season, rushing yards, 3,012;
  • Section V single season, touchdowns, 49;
  • Section V single season, points scored, 310;
  • Section V career record, rushing yards, 6,023;
  • Section V career touchdowns, 111;
  • Section V career points, 720;
  • State playoff record for yards rushing, 474;
  • State playoff record for touchdowns, 8 (twice);
  • State playoff record for points scored, 50.

So it's no surprise that Leach has been named Football Player of the Year for All-Greater Rochester by the Democrat & Chronicle.

Brennan Briggs, who coached his fourth team in the past five years to a Section V championship. This season was the first time a Briggs-coached team reached the state championship game. 

Also making first team: Joshua Barber and Ethan Biscaro. Taiyo Iburi-Bethel was named to the second team. Alex Rood, Joe Martinucci and Andrew Francis all received honorable mention.

Chris McClinic, Alexander, also made second team. Honorable mentions went to Terrez Smith, Ty Woods, Dylan Busch, Jake Jasen, Ethan Heineman and Hayden Walton.

Honorable mention for Notre Dame: Gabe MacDonald, Keith Szczepanski, Mason Randall, Tim Klotzbach, Tyler Totten.

Honorable mention for Pembroke: Theodore Pintabona, Colby Cerasani, Trent Smith, Trevor Vaughn.

Honorable mention in eight-man football for Oakfield-Alabama/Elba: Colton Dillon, Gage Dieterle, Ty Mott, Kyle Magliocco, Peyton Yasses, Seth Sepalla.

First team in other fall sports:

  • Lukas Milligan, Pavilion, boys volleyball
  • Maiya Reinhart, Batavia, girls swimming
November 24, 2018 - 10:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia HS, sports, football, news, notify.



What if Ethan Biscaro wasn't injured in the first quarter Saturday of Batavia's Class B state championship football game at the Carrier Dome?

Could Batavia have maintained its early lead, its early momentum, and held off Joseph Girard and the Glens Falls Indians, instead of losing 55-32?

We'll never know.

Biscaro's injury certainly isn't the only reason Batavia lost. The Blue Devils made their mistakes and missed their opportunities but, truth be told, Girard is one heck of a quarterback.

To whatever degree last week's game against Skaneateles and their athletic QB Patrick Hackler prepared the Blue Devils to face an athletic, strong-armed QB, it wasn't enough. Hackler was good but he wasn't Joseph Girard III good.

Experienced sportswriters in the press box were raving about Girard by the fourth quarter, the best high school quarterback they've ever seen, some of them said.

Girard showed arm strength, touch, accuracy, and savvy on the field, as well as strength and quickness that enabled to him to turn what looked like sacks for lost yards into gains, into first downs, and even into touchdowns. 

For example, with Batavia leading 14-0 in the second quarter, Girard, from Batavia's 19-yard line, tries a keeper to his right and finds the path cutoff and he appears pinned in a corner near the sideline but he swings out wide into his own backfield and starts running toward the far side with Cam White in pursuit. Just as it appears White would snag his jersey, somehow Girard steps ahead of him and now has the entire defense beat on the far side of the field. He scores to give Glen Falls its first six points.

"He is a great football player, obviously a division one athlete," said Batavia Coach Brennan Briggs. "We had our opportunities, I think, and you know, he was very difficult to get a hold of. We simulated all we can in practice but at the end of the day, you have got to come up your make plays."

While officially, Girard gained only 15 yards on the ground on 15 carries, with two TDs, he was 10-18 passing for 314 yards and two TDs on passes.

All this and it was still a big game for Ray Leach, who for the third game in a row gained more than 400 yards, this time picking up 410 yards on 30 carries. He scored three touchdowns and he was clearly exhausted in the second half and playing on sheer determination.

"He's just a tough kid, he loves football," Briggs said. "He wanted to be out here so he did whatever it took to be out here."

With 1,645 yards over the final four games, Leach ends the year with 2,826 rushing yards, breaking the season Section V record of Hornell's Austin Dwyer, 2,826 yards, set in 2009.

A former Blue Devil who played for Batavia last year when the team opened the season in the Carrier Dome said a factor in that game was the heat on the field. As the game wears on the Dome warms up.

Ironically, the Carrier Dome is not air-conditioned.

Leach said he and his teammates were feeling the heat.

"The temperature was a little different than we've been playing and we had to get used to the heat," Leach said. "It's definitely a big adjustment. We're a little tired. I just had to rely on my line and keep on the ball hard."

Leach could be seen at one point in the third quarter with his hands on his knees. The sign of a winded athlete. Still, Leach went on to break off a couple of long runs in the second half, including an 80-yard touchdown run that avoided contact with every Glens Falls player on the field.

The turning point, if there was one, may have been Biscaro's injury. Batavia went on to score on that drive, thanks to a 46-yard pass from Leach to Taiyo Iburi-Bethel on the first play after Biscaro left the field. But that didn't reveal how unsettled the offense would become without Biscaro.

That score gave Batavia a 14-0 lead but it was clear how much things changed on the next Blue Devils' possession, which began with a successful onside kick. The play calling was slow and a combination of Leach and Alex Rood in the backfield lacked the tempo and organization of a Biscaro-led offense.

The Blue Devils were unable to convert that opportunity into points on the board and with Glens Falls scoring on its next possession, momentum seems to have shifted in the Indians favor.

Briggs said losing Biscaro hurt on both sides of the ball.

"He's a huge part of our offense and our defense so there's no question about it, that hurt a lot but, hey, I'm the football coach and you've got to figure out how to get it done and I didn't do that."

Biscaro did take the field to start the second half but Batavia was still unable to get back in rhythm, and after taking another hit that sent him to the turf in pain, Biscaro was once again lifted from the game.

Briggs tried a few different looks with the offense with Biscaro out -- Leach along in the backfield, Leach at QB with Rood at running back, Rood taking the snaps, along with reverses, flea-flickers, end-arounds, and the offense wasn't able to execute consistently.

One of Batavia's touchdowns in the fourth quarter came after a pass to Andrew Francis bounced off his hands, into the air and toward the end zone. Iburi-Bethel grabbed the pop-up fly, turn, ran and scored.

That and Leach's 80-yard run where among the few bright spots for the Batavia offense without Biscaro.

Briggs blamed himself, not the dropped passes, the fumbled snaps, the miscommunication on the field.

"We ran a lot of wildcat stuff with Ray but obviously everybody's keying on him," Briggs said. "He's not a pure passer back there so we tried to do a few different things. But you know, it didn't totally work out but again we've got to get some stops and you know maybe I should have been a little better prepared for that."

Iburi-Bethel finished with four catches for 82 yards and a TD. Leach had one reception for a 28-yard TD. Biscaro was 5-6 passing for 70 yards and TD.

Besides Girard's heroics for Glens Falls, Trent Girard, one of six Girard cousins in the game, caught seven passes for 183 yards and a TD. David Barclay had two catches for 93 yards and a TD. Aalijah Sampson carried the ball 23 times for 135 yards and four touchdowns.

Batavia had 538 yards and 25:37 time of possession while Glens Falls had 464 total yards and 19:25 time of possession.

For Batavia, Cam White, Joseph Martinucci and Alex Rood all recorded sacks.

Joshua Barber had eight tackles. 

Photos by Jim Burns.














For more pictures, click here.

November 24, 2018 - 12:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, news, batavia, Batavia HS, notify.


We're just a couple of minutes from kickoff at the Carrier Dome in the Class B state championship game between the Batavia Blue Devils and the Glens Falls Indians.

We spoke with a former Batavia player before the game who played in last season's opener at the Carrier Dome and he said on that September day it got hot inside the dome. Something to watch for this game -- whether the colder November weather helps keep it cooler in here or if it gets hot and then the effect that has on players. Ironically, the Carrier Dome is not air-conditioned. 

Other keys: Can the Blue Devils keep Indians QB Joseph Girard III in the pocket? And if they can, pressure him while the secondary maintains coverage? Turnovers good be key in a potentially high-scoring game.  

On the Batavia side, it's likely all about Ray Leach, who has gained more than 1,200 yards and scored 22 touchdowns in the last three games. Even if Glens Falls slows Leach, Batavia still has weapons in Ethan Biscaro, Alex Rood and Taiyo Iburi-Bethel.

It looks like Batavia comes into the game with the bigger line on offense and defense.

Check back shortly for updates or tune in to WBTA for the broadcast or WBTAi.com for the live stream.


Opening kickoff to Batavia is out of the back of the end zone. Batavia starts on the 20-yard line. Leach on the first play, six-yard gain. Leach gets the first down on the next play. On the third play, Leach turns the corner and carries the ball to the Indians 23-yard line, with the last 15 yards gained coming while dragging defenders with him. Leach gains just two on his next carry. Holding penalty. First and 20. Pass to Taiyo Iburi-Bethal for a five-yard game. Leach out wide, pass from Biscaro, he gains 10 before an Indian defender grabs his jersey. Leach drags him five yards and then breaks the tackle. Leach breaks two more tackles and scores. Extra point missed. 6-0 Batavia.

Batavia kickoff out of bounds. Glens Falls starts on its 35. Joseph Girard passes on the first play. Dropped by Trent Girard on the far side. Joseph Girard barely backs it to the line of scrimmage after being held in the pocket and trying to run up the middle. Girard sweeps right and on the run heaves the ball far downfield and the pass is incomplete. Andrew Francis with good coverage. Glens Falls punts. No return.

Batavia starts on its own 26. Leach up the middle on the first play. Two-yard gain. Leach has nowhere to go on the second-down play. He barely makes it back to the line of scrimmage. Biscaro on a long pass to Iburi-Bethel. Complete at the 50-yard line. Iburi-Bethel on an end of round, nine-yard gain. Biscaro from shotgun, fakes a pass to a wideout and then darts up the middle for a three-yard game. First down. Biscaro from the shotgun sacked on a blitz. Second and 16. Biscaro on a keeper, collapses before he reaches the line, untouched and is on the field being tended to by a trainer.

Biscaro limps off the field. He was holding his knee. Third and 17. Leach takes over at QB. Snap to Leach and Leach heaves a high-arching pass intended for Andrew Francis, bounces off his hands and Iburi-Bethel picks the ball out of the air and streaks into the end zone. Touchdown. Leach scores on the two-point conversion. 14-0 Batavia.

Batavia recovers an onside kick at the Glens Falls' 45 yard line. Leach starts at QB and runs off the snap for a three-yard game. Timeout Batavia with 2:47 left in the quarter.

Leach at QB, and he hands the ball to Rood, who gains three yards. Leach back at QB. He drops the snap, recovers, breaks a tackle and sweeps to the nearside and gets back to the line of scrimmage. Fourth and 4. Leach on direct snap, sweeps right and gets six yards. Empty backfield, snap to Leach, runs left and gains three. Clock under 20 seconds, direct snap to Leach who tries running to his right and is tripped up in the backfield and flags fly. Holding on Batavia, 10-yard penalty. That's how the quarter ends. 14-0 Batavia.

Second and 19 for Batavia to start the second quarter. Leach takes the snap, long pass intercepted by Girard and he's tackled on the seven-yard line. Girard misses a pass two passes and then scrambling, nearly sacked in the end zone, on the run throws a long pass to Davi Barclay, complete at Batavia's 33-yard line. Handoff to Aalijah Sampson runs left and carries the ball to the 19-yard line for a first down. Sampson gets handoff again, carries the ball to the four-yard line. First and goal. Girard fakes the handoff and tries to run off tackle and stopped at the line of scrimmage. Batavia's defense again blocks up the middle of the line and Sampson stopped for a one-yard loss. Third down. Sampson rolls out to his right and is pursued. Cam White is on his tail and he reverses direction and as White reaches for him he seems to just take an extra step and eludes White, runs to far sideline, down the line, and into the end zone. Touchdown The extra point is blocked by Andrew Francis. 14-6, Batavia still leads.

Kick to Leach on the five-yard line. He returns it to Batavia's 27. Rood is QB on the first possession. Hands off to Leach for a two-yard gain. Incomplete pass from Rood. Intended for Iburi-Bethel. Rood takes the snap, drops back and feigns pass and then decides to run. Two-yard gain. Batavia will punt on 4th and 7. No return. Glens Falls takes over on its 29.

First and 10, Sampson on the carry for four yards. Girard hits Trent Girard the Indians have first and 10 at the 48-yard line. Girard with a completion to Sampson, nine-yard gain. Girard with plenty of time in the pocket, long pass intended for David Barclay but it falls beyond his diving reach. Girard rolls out, forced to turn back toward the right side and is tackled from behind for a loss by Josh Barber of a yard. Fourth and one. Timeout. There is 5:20 left in the half. Girard has to scramble and his pursued through the backfield, he runs right, gets the first down and cuts back to the middle past nearly every Batavia defender. Before he reaches the end zone with a Batavia player close, he dives and looks like he gets the ball over the line but a ref 15 yards away rules him down at the one-yard line. Sampson scores on the next play and then runs the ball in for the two-point conversion. 14-14.

There is 4:55 left in the half. The kickoff goes out the back of the end zone. Batavia's ball on its own 20. Leach drops the handoff and recovers his own fumble on the 17-yard line. Second and 13. Leach up the middle, finds a hole, cuts to his left, gets a good block and finds open field. He stumbles and recovers, three Indians pursuing him, he heads toward the sideline and outruns a lone defender for a score. That's an 83-yard TD run. Timeout before the extra point. Leach on the carry for a two-point try and he's stuffed at the line. 20-14, Batavia leads.

Batavia again tries an onside kick. The Indians get first and 10 from their own 49-yard line. Girard with a pass to Sampson, complete. Leach tries to shove him out of bounds but he stays on his feet and finds some space. He's tackled at about the 10-yard line. Sampson with the carry to the three-yard line. Sampson with the ball again and sweeps to the left, tackled at the one-yard line. Sampson up the middle for the score. Extra point is good for a 21-20 lead for the Indians. The first time all season Batavia has trailed.

According to our photographer on the sideline, Jim Burns, Ethan Biscaro is being taken by his parents for medical treatment. He's out for the remainder of the game.

Batavia takes over on the 20. Leach breaks free for again to the 38-yard line. Leach with the next carry for a five-yard gain. 2:06 left. Batavia has no timeouts left. On a flea-flicker, Leach throws down to the 20, intended for Iburi-Biscaro, incomplete. Leach with the carry. No gain. Flag on the play. Illegal formation declined. Fourth and three, Batavia will punt. Line-drive punt with a favorable Batavia punt. A 47-yard punt, ball down on the five-yard line.

Sampson on the carry from the five, three-yard gain. Girard is sacked, bringing up third and 17 but Glens Falls lets the clock run out on the half.

The half ends with Glens Falls leading 21-20.

During half-time, Ethan Biscaro was warming up. Apparently, in consultation with his parents, the decision has been made to let him play in the second half.

Batavia's kickoff to start the second half goes to Girard at the 20 who brings it back to the Indians 38, first and 10. Movement by Batavia on the line. Flag. Five-yard penalty. First and five. Girard drops back to pass and seems to have plenty of time to pass and then faces pressure and heads toward the far side and steps out of bounds for a short game. Pass for a first down, ball on the Indians 48. Girard rolls out and throws across the middle of the field to Trent Girard, complete to Batavia's 30. Sampson tripped up in the backfield by Batavia, second and 13. Girard drops deep, scrambles and just before reaching the line, throws a bullet at the knees of a receiver who drops it. Girard begins in the shotgun, scrambles, long pass to the far side, pass broken up by Iburi-Bethel. Fourth and 13. Girard's pass into the end zone, complete for a touchdown to Barclay. Francis wants an offense pass interference flag but doesn't get it. Extra point good. 28-20, Glens Falls.

Batavia starts on its own 20. Biscaro is at QB. Handoff to Leach, five-yard gain. Leach stopped at the line. Pass wide to Iburi-Bethel on the nearside, gain to the 33, making it first and 10. Leach up the middle, five-yard gain. Leach bottled up at the line, but gets two yards before being pushed back. Biscaro has Iburi-Bethel wide open down the middle with a pass to the 35 but Iburi-Bethel drops the pass. Batavia in punt formation. High deep punt by Francis. Glens Falls gets the ball on their own 21.

First play, Sampson dropped for a loss. Girard with a bullet to Trent Girard at the first-down marker on the far side. First down. Girard sacked by Iburi-Bethel. Two-yard loss. Girard on the run finds Trent Girard wide open on the 30. Rood makes a shoe-string tackle on the seven-yard line to save a touchdown. Sampson up the middle. Batavia claims a fumble but doesn't get the call. Ball on the two. Sampson again dropped for a loss. Ball on the three. Third and goal with 4:01 left in the third. Girard rolls right with two defenders in pursuit, on the two-yard line, they lunge at him and he sidesteps the tackle attempt and scores. Extra point is good. 35-20. 

Iburi-Bethel with the return. Batavia's ball on the 33-yard line, first and 10. Leach with the carry, out to the 39. Leach breaks two tackles on the way to the Indian's 42-yard line. First and 10. Leach with the ball, picks his way to the 29. First and 10. Leach off the left side, gain of three. Leach looking tired. A blitzer gets past him and sacks Biscaro, there is a fumble but Biscaro recovers. Biscaro passes to Zack Anderson back to the original line of scrimmage. Fourth and 10. Biscaro sacked. He drops the ball. The fumble is recovered by a Batavia lineman and Biscaro is again down on the turf but limps off the field. Glens Falls takes over on downs on their own 37.

Indians call timeout after lining up in formation. Five seconds left in the third quarter.

Trent Girard with a reception for a first down.

End of the third, 35-20, Glens Falls over Batavia.

Girard loses three on a keeper. On the next play, Girard again eludes the rush but his pass falls incomplete. Girard finds Trent Girard 10-yards out, who is wide open and with no defenders behind, touchdown. Extra point is good. 42-20.

OBSERVATION: Girard is a much better QB than what Batavia saw in Patrick Hackler last week, and Hackler is very good. Girard has a better touch, can also throw bullets, throw down the field on the run without under-throwing his targets, and is very hard to contain or catch in the backfield.

On first and 10 at the 15, direct snap to Leach, who eludes all tackles and carries the ball to the 50 before stepping out of bounds. Leach on the next carry, three-yard gain. Iburi-Bethel on the end-around, big gain out to the 30. Leach, direct snap, hands it off to Iburi-Bethel who breaks a tackle in the backfield and gains a couple of yards. Leach on direct snap runs to the outside and gets enough yardage for the first down but flag on the field. Holding on Batavia. Rood in the shotgun, pump fakes, looks downfield. Iburi-Bethel is wide open. The pass is on the numbers. He drops the ball. Third and 12 with 8:47 to go. Rood swings right, pursued by Terrell Bonner-Welch who hits him from behind. Rood lost the ball but he appears to have been down. There is a penalty against Batavia. 4th and 19. Rood drops back, in the grasp of a defender, he spins and tosses the ball down the middle of the field and finds Daemon Konieczny but well short of a first down. Glens Falls takes over on downs at their own 42.

Girard is sacked for an 11-yard loss. Girard sacked again, ball now on the 21. Glens Falls will punt.

With 6:12 left, down 42-20, Batavia starts on its own 43. Leach runs left, picks up about 10 where he breaks a tackle, and he changes direction heading toward the far sideline, picks up a couple of blockers and steps out of bounds at the 21. Leach with the ball, heads to his left and finds nothing but open field to the end zone. Touchdown. Two-point try fails, 42-26 Glens Falls.

Batavia tries an onside kick but a whistle blows at the line of scrimmage. Illegal motion. Batavia will kick again from the 35. The kick fails to travel 10 yards before going out of bounds at the 40. Five-yard penalty on Batavia, first and 10 from Batavia's 35. 

Sampson with the carry for four yards. Sampson with a 25-yard carry but a flag on the play. Block below the waist, 10-yard penalty on the Indians. Sampson again, big gain, to the 22. First down. Great backfield tackle on Sampson sweeping to the left, loss of two. Sampson breaks a tackle and finds some space but Iburi-Bethel catches him and comes over his back, hanging on, trying to strip the ball, and Sampson shakes him off and scores. Extra point is no good, 48-26 Glens Falls.

Time left, 3:44.

Rood at QB, hands off to Leach, sweeping left and a five-yard gain. Ball on the 25. Batavia tries a tricky play, with snap to Rood, hand off to Leach, pitch to Iburi-Bethel who heaves the ball downfield well beyond any receivers or defenders. Rood scrambles stops, turns to throw just pass the line, and lineman T.J. Guy intercepts giving Glens Falls the ball on Batavia's 16.

Sampson on the sweep to the left. Nobody touches him. Touchdown. Extra point makes it 55-26. There was a late flag on Sampson run, a personal foul that will be enforced on the kickoff.

Glens Falls kicking off from Batavia's 45. The kick skips through the end zone.

First play from the 20, Leach with the ball, untouched through the line, all the way to the end zone for an 80-yard TD. Leach stopped on the two-point try. 55-32, Glens Falls.  

Leach is exhausted.

Penalty on Batavia's kick. Try again from the 35. And another penalty. Encouragement. Ball on the 30. After two failed onside attempts, deep kick to Sampson who bobbles the ball but recovers, and carries the ball to Glens Falls 41-yard line. Sampson with the carry, six-yard game. Sampson with a first-down carry. Sampson, no gain. Less than a minute to play. Time will expire with Glens Falls up 55-32.


Here's the hardware they're playing for.

November 22, 2018 - 1:01pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in football, sports, news, Batavia HS, batavia, notify.


When you're a high school football player, it's something special to get to practice on Thanksgiving Day. It means only one thing. You're playing for a chance to win a state title.

The Batavia Blue Devils (12-0) held a walk-through practice this morning at the Batavia Middle School gym, rehearsing plays and defensive schemes in preparation for that championship match up with the Glens Falls Indians (10-2) at noon Saturday (Nov. 24) inside the Carrier Dome in Syracuse.

"It was a special thing to practice on Thanksgiving and my father and I always talked about it, saying, 'wow, you know, think about it, some high school teams are practicing today,' " said Head Coach Brennen Briggs, son of Section V Hall of Fame Coach Jim Briggs. "It's finally us, so you know the hard work has paid off with all these guys and we're excited to get out there on Saturday."

Batavia got to the state final by outscoring the #1 ranked Skaneateles Lakers 54-49.

That game was the first time all season the Blue Devils faced a standout, strong-armed, athletic quarterback, in Patrick Hackler. As they turn their attention to the Indians, they're again facing a top-ranked QB, Joseph Girard III, who has a 63-percent completion rate on the season.

Again, he's big and athletic (he's all-time leading scorer in Basketball for Glens Falls, with 3,306 career points, and just signed a basketball scholarship with Syracuse).

He's also not the only member of the Girard family on the team. He's one of six cousins from a family with 75 years of athletic history in Glens Falls.

Briggs said facing Hackler and Skaneateles definately helped his team be better prepared to defend against Girard and the Indians.

"Obviously it's a very good football team over there," Briggs said. "You know we're game-planning for their quarterback and their skill positions. It's going to be a tough test for us. I think we'll be up for the challenge and you know we're hoping to get another good day of work in tomorrow."

The game plan for Batavia will come as no surprise to Glens Falls Head Coach Matt Shell: Give the ball to Ray Leach and make the Indians stop him.

So far in the postseason, every other opponent of the Blue Devils has found that impossible.

Leach has 1,223 yards rushing and has scored 22 touchdowns over the past three games, including eight touchdown performances against both Cheektowaga and Skaneateles (state playoff records). He was handed the ball 50 times against the Lakers. He set a new state record (breaking his previous week's record) with 474 yards rushing. His 50 points scored is a playoff record for New York.

Leach also intercepted a Hackler pass on defense, with Andrew Francis snagging another key interception to open the third quarter and allow Batavia to extend its lead by two touchdowns for the first time in the game.

The interceptions, perhaps, made the biggest difference and highlight a weakness for high school teams that live by the pass. Even the best high school quarterbacks are more prone to turnovers than top running backs.

Batavia's big line will be ready to pressure Girard and with Leach, Francis, and Taiyo Iburi-Bethel in the defensive secondary, the Blue Devils have the tools to disrupt the passing game.

"If we do what we do by taking care of the football, as we've done, then it should be pretty good for us," Briggs said. "I think that we've got some guys out there that are hungry to get the football once it's in the air so hopefully we can put some pressure on him, contain him, and create some turnovers."

At the end of today's practice, Briggs and his coaches told their players -- enjoy Thanksgiving with their families, be thankful for what they've got, recognize the unique position they're in -- a chance to play for a state championship, take care of themselves and be ready to go on Saturday. 

If you're not attending the game, you can listen to the WBTA broadcast (UPDATE: WBTA will stream the came on WBTAi.com) or check The Batavian for updates.






November 17, 2018 - 8:11pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia HS, batavia, news, sports, notify, football.




PHOTOS: from Jim Burns.

In big games, big-time players come up big and Ray Leach, for the second time in the postseason, scored eight touchdowns to, quite literally, carry his team, the Batavia Blue Devils, to a 54-49 win over defending state champion Skaneateles to propel Batavia to a state title shot Saturday at the Carrier Dome.

In three games, the Section V championship, the Far West Regional championship, and today's state finals playoff game, Leach has run for 1,223 yards and scored 22 touchdowns. 

"I'm speechless, really," said Head Coach Brennan Briggs after the game. "What he does every single week is impressive. You know, when he really turns it on, I don't know that anybody is stopping him in New York State. So hopefully you know we can put together a great week and hopefully, he can have a great game for us next week along with our offensive line."

Credit to the offensive line for opening holes but Leach was also impressive in his ability to step through small gaps, side-step diving linemen, create space on sweeps, break tackles, and if all else failed, drag one or two Skaneateles players along for a few extra yards.

For the second game in a row, Leach set a state record for rushing yards in a playoff game, hitting 472 tonight (on 52 carries), breaking last week's record of 427 yards.  His eight touchdowns tied last week's record eight touchdowns.

Josh Barber, who was once again a defense stalwart, said Leach helps lift the team's confidence.

"Ray Leach has played great since his freshman year," Barber said. "I knew he could get it done."

As is his habit in post-game interviews, Leach gave credit to his offensive line but he also acknowledged that Briggs expects him to be the man on the field and get the job done.

"I definitely got to come out hear him perform how I'm supposed to, and I just follow my line and things work out," Leach said.

Skaneateles came into the game 11-0, ranked #1, and behind quarterback Patrick Hackler one of the most potent offensives in the state. Hackler is a big kid and impressive when he heaves long passes downfield. With Nick Wamp as a frequent target and Areh Boni in the backfield, the Lakers kept the pressure on Batavia's defense all night.

Hackler was 17-30 passing for 260 yards and three TDs. He also ran for 149 yards on 17 carries and two touchdowns. Wamp caught seven passes for 145 yards and two TDs. Boni ran for 64 yards and a TD.

Both teams came into the game with an unblemished streak of never trailing at any point in any game during the season. Batavia ruined the Laker's out-front run on its first drive, with Leach carrying the ball on all six plays, including the final 15-yard run to score.

Skaneateles would tie the game three times but with Batavia up 28-21 to start the second half, Andrew Francis intercepted Hackler on the first play from scrimmage setting up a Blue Devils drive that extended the lead but was only possible because Ethan Biscaro was able to scramble on a busted pass play, making his way to the far sideline, where he dodged Lakers down the line for a more than 20-yard gain, giving Batavia a first down on what had been a third-and-long play.

"Ethan's a fantastic athlete," Briggs said. He's got a great sense for the game. He knew exactly what he needed to do when he extended the play. He's a great football player."

From the Lakers' 47, Leach sprinted to the five-yard line and then scored on the next play.

Leach also led the team with 9 tackles and he had a key interception near the end of the third quarter.

Skaneateles still had a chance in the fourth quarter, scoring three touchdowns, including one on a 54-second drive that pulled them within five points, but Batavia was, as Briggs preaches, relentless, and answer the Lakers score for score.

"You know he (Leach) is an unbelievable player but up front, they got a job and they got the job done all night defensively," Briggs said. "Obviously there were some holes in there but that's a very good football team. Our kids banded together. They bend but they don't break."

For more game pictures click HERE













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