June 02, 2023
Sports - DeKalb County

Sports - DeKalb County

Bulldogs chew up Spartans

SYCAMORE - Entering Friday night, the Sycamore High School football shared the same record with Batavia.

Most years, the Spartans would be joyous over that prospect heading into the seventh week of the season. Both teams sported identical 3-3 and 2-2 marks in the Western Sun Conference.

The Spartans were riding an emotional high following last week’s 9-7 triumph over then-undefeated Rochelle, which was tied for first place in the conference until the loss. Friday, Batavia brought Sycamore back down to reality with a 48-27 triumph at Engh Community Field.

“That’s a very good football team,” said Sycamore coach Joe Ryan of Batavia. “They’re really starting to come together and playing really well offensively.”

The Homecoming festivities and warm weather led to the biggest crowd in over five years for a Sycamore home game.Despite the loss, the Spartans had an impressive showing on offense. The two teams hooked up for an old-fashioned shootout, much to the delight of the fans. The Bulldogs (4-3, 3-2) rolled up 615 yards of total offense, with 334 rushing and 281 passing. Batavia junior quarterback Jordan Coffey orchestrated the deluge of yards.

The 6-foot-5, 200-pounder was protected by Batavia’s mammoth offensive line. The Spartans rarely put a finger on Coffey, allowing him to pick apart Sycamore’s secondary with his rocket arm.

Coffey played a flawless game, tossing just six incompletions in 24 passing attempts. He completed his first five passes for 107 yards, finishing with 281 yards passing. He had touchdown passes of 63 and 37 yards, and ran for a 15-yard TD. Coffey’s main target was Zach Zeddies, who caught five passes for 124 yards, including the game’s first score, a 63-yard strike from Coffey.

“They did a good job,” Ryan said of Batavia’s offensive line. “They’re big and athletic and create seams. He (Coffey) played well. He’s a good quarterback, but we got tentative.”

Near the end of the second quarter, Batavia had silenced the large Homecoming crowd by taking a 27-7 lead. The Bulldogs were closing in on another score when Sycamore defensive back Marckie Hayes picked off Coffey’s lone mistake of the night near the goal-line. A few plays later, Sycamore quarterback Nick Anderson tossed a perfect 6-yard fade pass to Josh Howells to limit the damage to 27-13 at halftime.

Hayes, a junior, was a bright spot in the loss. Along with his pick, he had several long kickoff returns.

“Hayes did a nice job,” Ryan said. “That was a big interception by him.”

The Spartans (3-4, 2-3) didn’t have the firepower to keep up with Batavia’s multi-dimensional attack. Behind a powerful and deep offensive line, the Bulldogs blended the pass and run in beautiful harmony, chewing up big yards at will against the Spartans. Batavia tailback Bai Kabba led all rushers with 12 carries for 139 yards. Sycamore nearly matched the Bulldogs in offensive totals, but couldn’t stop the high-powered BHS offense.

“We didn’t tackle with a passion like we did last week,” Ryan said. “I’m frustrated because we’ve got to shore some things up. We didn’t have enough stops tonight.”

The Spartans provided their fans plenty of aerial highlights. Anderson and Coffey locked horns in a duel of strong-armed quarterbacks. Anderson’s 58-yard bomb to Will Strack got the Spartans on the board with 4:27 left in the second quarter. The Anderson-to-Strack duo lit up the skies, but the Spartans couldn’t establish a running attack. Anderson added a touchdown with a hard-running 10-yarder up the gut of Batavia’s defense.

“I think we can score points, but we’ve got to have more stops,” Ryan said.

Bobby Narang can be reached at bnarang@daily-chronicle.com.

Bob Narang

Bob Narang is a contributing sports reporter to Shaw Local News Network