June 02, 2023
Sports - Kane County


Sports - Kane County

Bulldogs’ offense gets on track vs. Sycamore

SYCAMORE – The Batavia offense that stumbled early in the season seemed a faint memory Friday night.

In a virtual must-win game against a Sycamore squad that a week ago handed Rochelle its first loss of the season, the Bulldogs racked up 625 yards of total offense en route to a 48-27 Western Sun Conference win.

“It was a huge game for us coming in here getting a win against a Sycamore team ... with a lot of momentum,” Batavia coach Mike Gaspari said. “I’m really proud of the way our kids played.”

For four quarters, the Bulldogs (4-3, 3-2 WSC) baffled the Spartans defense with a masterfully balanced attack.

Quarterback Jordan Coffey engineered touchdown drives on Batavia’s first four possessions of the game. The first – a 64-yard pass to Erich Zeddies with 3:33 left in the first quarter – typified Coffey’s day. The junior quarterback fumbled the ball rolling right, but quickly recovered it, scanned the field and – given plenty of time by a dominant offensive line – found Zeddies (five catches, 113 yards and two touchdowns) wide open along the Batavia sideline.

“It’s like playing a video game, really,” Coffey said. “If you get time back there, you can do anything. The first couple passes I realized I had a lot of time, so when I fumbled, I was like, ‘I’m probably going to get a lot of time here.’ Most of the time you’re told to fall on [the ball], don’t do anything stupid. But I figured if I could pick it up quick, I was going to be able to hit somebody.”

Coffey’s 1-yard score on a quarterback sneak early in the second quarter gave Batavia a 12-0 lead. But Coffey, aided by five-Mississippi counts generally associated with touch football, did most of his damage through the air, throwing for 256 yards – 217 in the first half – and two scores to give the Bulldogs a 27-13 halftime lead.

From that point the Batavia running game gained traction behind Brian Krolikowski (85 yards, two touchdowns) and Bai Kabba. Kabba rushed for 153 of his team-high 175 yards in the final two quarters, including a 58-yard score to open the half.

“[In] the first half the line was doing good, but I just wasn’t getting it done myself,” Kabba said. “[In the] second half, I knew I had to start making plays to start helping the team out. I can’t go for one yard, two yards a carry. The O-line was doing it the whole way, so I just wanted to finish it off for them.”

The lone sore spot was Batavia’s difficulty with the Spartans’ spread offense, which accounted for 361 yards passing behind Nick Anderson. But Sycamore (3-4, 2-3) rushed for only 62 yards in stark contrast to the well-rounded Batavia attack.

“I really believe this is going to be one of those springboard games that takes us to something special,” Gaspari said. “We’re going to be an interesting team to deal with.”

BATAVIA 48, SYCAMORE 27

Why the Bulldogs won: The Bulldogs unleashed a massive offensive arsenal with 625 yards of total offense, enjoying success on the ground and through the air all night.

Turning point: Down 12-0 in the second quarter, the Spartans were driving in Batavia territory when quarterback Nick Anderson fumbled on a draw play. The Bulldogs recovered and later converted on the turnover when Brian Krolikowski scampered in for a 3-yard rushing score.

Most outstanding player: Quarterback Jordan Coffey passed for 256 yards – 217 in the first half – and accounted for three touchdowns, guiding the Batavia offense to a key Western Sun Conference road win.