ROCHELLE – Rochelle always likes to run the football. Friday night was no exception.
The Hubs used their power rushing attack for a total of 346 yards on the ground in a 30-6 victory over Batavia. Josh Bernardin led the way with 151 yards and three rushing touchdowns while C.J. Navarro had 88 yards on the ground.
Quarterback Brett Metzger didn’t attempt a single pass all game.
"They are very proficient at what they do," Batavia coach Mike Gaspari said. "You have to give a lot of credit to the seven kids up front that block for that offense. The kids obviously run hard. We've marveled for the last four years since we've played them at how they come off the ball offensively."
The Bulldogs (1-3, 0-2 Western Sun) were dealt a huge blow on the first drive of the game when quarterback Noel Gaspari’s pass was intercepted by Rochelle’s Cody Cassidy and returned to the Batavia 22-yard line.
Rochelle (3-1, 1-1 Western Sun) would only need four plays before Bernardin punched in a 4-yard touchdown run to give the Hubs a 6-0 lead. Bernardin would get the ball on the two-point conversion, but was stopped short of the goal line. The Hubs would go 0-for-4 on two point conversions on the evening and missed their only extra point attempt.
“(The interception) gave them the momentum,” Mike Gaspari said. “Great field position obviously, and they scored.”
It seemed like nothing could go right for the Bulldogs. On fourth-and-two at the Rochelle 40-yard line in the second quarter, running back Emund Kabba was stopped mere inches short of the first down.
“I bounced it outside, there was no hole open,” Kabba said. “I honestly did think I had it. I was on the ground and I looked over to the (marker) and I was for sure that I had it, but they called it short.”
The momentum swings proved to be huge for the Hubs, who took a 18-0 lead going into halftime and scored 24 unanswered points before Batavia finally got on the board with a 46-yard touchdown pass from Gaspari to Scott Poulos with six seconds left in the third quarter.
Kabba would finish with 40 rushing yards while Danny Seiton had 42. Gaspari was 6-of-19 for 93 yards through the air.
“We showed some signs offensively,” Mike Gaspari said. “We just didn’t put enough together.”
ROCHELLE 30, BATAVIA 6
Batavia 0 0 6 0 – 6
Rochelle 12 6 6 6 – 30
First quarter R-Bernardin 4 run (conversion failed) 8:50. R-Ruppenthal 13 run (conversion failed) 3:40. Second quarter R-Navarro 4 run (conversion failed) 8:14. Third quarter R-Bernardin 1 run (Ruppenthal kick failed) 3:08. B-Poulos 46 pass from Gaspari (conversion failed) 0:06. Fourth quarter R-Bernardin 12 run (conversion failed) 4:10.
INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS RUSHING-Batavia: Seiton 8-42, Kabba 7-40, Gaspari 3-3, Hartmann 2-10. Totals: 20-95. Rochelle: Bernardin 21-151, Navarro 13-88, Ruppenthal 10-51, Gabriel 10-27, Montez 5-20, Metzger 3-9. Totals: 62-346. PASSING-Batavia: Gaspari 6-19-1 93. RECEIVING-Batavia: Peskind 4-35, Roeske 1-12, Poulos 1-46. TOTAL YARDS: Batavia 188, Rochelle 346.