Kane County Notebook: Batavia DB Evan Kopf a ‘Hell-Raiser’ in bringing bigger opponents down to size

Evan Kopf admits he’s always been on the smaller side height-wise on the football field, but it seems that chip on his shoulder sustains him to try and win his matchup on every play anyway.

“Just getting physical, getting up in the receivers and messing around with the timing and route patterns definitely has become a big thing for me this year,” said Kopf, Batavia’s 5-foot-9, 140-pound senior defensive back. “Even coming up and making tackles, filling gaps if I need to and holding the edge...just being physical overall has been a big step-up for me this year.”

“It’s just always been [a mindset to] be physical and just kind of be a little bit of a Hell-Raiser,” Kopf continued.

Kopf might earn a one-on-one matchup with a receiver three or four inches taller than him – a winnable matchup on paper for the offense – but results haven’t trended that way.

Through three games, Kopf is tied for third on Batavia’s defense with 13 tackles. Kopf is also tied for second with two interceptions and four passes defensed on a unit that is largely dominating opponents.

“[I] do have that chip on your shoulder and all you got to do is get physical with him, you know?,” Kopf said. “Just disrupt that timing.”

In 2019, Kopf was part of a Batavia secondary alongside seniors Jackson Williams, Sam Barus and Nick Crankshaw. Kopf had 34 tackles, two interceptions and 12 passes defensed.

“It was definitely awesome playing with two all-conference and Division I safeties with Jackson and Barus,” Kopf said. “Definitely [they made] it a lot easier for me and they pass[ed] a lot [of advice and techniques]. They were definitely good role models and leaders and I feel they passed it on to me and our other senior safety, Anthony Bradley.”

Kopf committed to the University of St. Francis in Joliet two months ago.

Batavia’s defense has sparkled this season, allowing just 2-yards-per-rushing attempt and 54.3 rushing yards per game through three games. Opponents have just a 33% completion percentage and average 64.3 passing yards per game.

The Bulldogs are a plus-30 in point differential – scoring 38.7 points per game while allowing just 8.7.

Having a loaded front seven, headlined by linebackers Matt Weerts and Tyler Jansey, certainly is a part of that puzzle.

“It makes everything so much easier for me and the whole secondary,” Kopf said. “...It has to be a nightmare trying to go up against this front-seven every week...every week, on the film...I’ll come back and see Mojo or Jansey or whoever flushing the quarterback and he’s running for his life. I go ‘Oh, oK, that’s why that throw went wherever.”

DuKane Conference Moving Forward:

The DuKane Conference was split into two pools, one with Kane County schools, one with DuPage schools, ahead of the season.

Batavia, Geneva and both St. Charles East and North was the first division. Wheaton Warrenville South, Wheaton North, Lake Park and Glenbard North was the other.

Through three weeks, here is the current division standings:

Division One

Batavia (3-0)

St. Charles North (2-1)

Geneva (1-2)

St. Charles East (0-3)

Division Two

Wheaton North (3-0)

Wheaton South (2-1)

Glenbard North (1-2)

Lake Park (0-3)

Here is the remaining three-game schedule:

NOTE: Friday games will be 6:30 p.m.

The final week of the season, each game will be played at Northern Illinois’ Huskie Stadium. Times are to be announced.

Jacob Bartelson

Jake is a full-time sports reporter writing primarily for the Kane County Chronicle covering preps. His collective work is featured across several Shaw markets and platforms, including Friday Night Drive and Bears Insider. Jake began full-time in 2017.