It’s hard to walk anywhere in Batavia these days without seeing red or gold ribbons or a “Bulldog Power” poster.
Batavia High School football player Drew Anderson appreciates all the support. “It’s been really cool to see all the signs around town,” Anderson said. “We thank the community for supporting us throughout the whole season.”
A caravan of supporters will follow the team bus to Champaign today when the Batavia Bulldogs face off against the Normal Community Ironmen in the IHSA Class 6A state championship. This is the Batavia football team’s first trip downstate for a championship game.
For those not going to the game, it will be broadcast at 10 a.m. on WPWR-TV Channel 50.
WBIG AM-1280 also will carry the game.
Some of the community support has been orchestrated by a group known as “Spirit Moms” – the mothers of the football players. Carol Schmitt helped to make a large three-sided sign to cheer on the team. She is the mother of football player Danny Schmitt and the aunt of Bulldogs quarterback Alex Schroeder.
Schmitt got her brother, Terry Schroeder, who owns a construction crane, to hoist the sign up along Main Street near Batavia High School.
“Having a child on the team makes it extra special,” Carol Schmitt said. “It is just every exciting for the whole town. I’m just totally caught up in it.”
Glenn Cushing, a 1967 Batavia High School graduate, was among a group of people Friday watching the players in their final practice before the big game.
“I think it might be the tightest football team we’ve had,” said Cushing, who played football in high school. “The community supports its teams very well.”
Batavia football player Shane Holl is glad to be the recipient of all this support.
“Everybody I know is going to the game,” Holl said. “It helps knowing they are coming to cheer us on.”
Even Geneva Mayor Kevin Burns, who is a Geneva High School graduate, will be rooting for the Bulldogs in today’s game. Batavia beat Geneva last weekend for the right to play in today’s championship game.
“Your friends to the north will be watching the 6A championship game with great interest and, perhaps for the first time ever, cheering on the Bulldogs,” Burns said in a letter to Batavia Mayor Jeff Schielke said.
Win or lose, there will be a community rally at 5 p.m. Sunday at the Batavia Riverwalk, just before the city’s Celebration of Lights festival, to congratulate the team for its winning season.