Josh Dornink, Batavia open season with dominant win over Phillips

Dornink runs for three touchdowns in 33-6 Bulldogs’ win

BATAVIA – Perhaps Batavia senior running back Josh Dornink has already made a notable stride as a football player in just a few short months, but he instead credits the culture and collective team effort as to what got him prepared for “this moment.”

“The whole football program, we’ve been working hard all summer,” said Dornink, who ran for three touchdowns as the Bulldogs rolled over Phillips 33-6 in a season-opening victory on Friday. “We’re lifting and conditioning. I think that got me prepared for this game and this moment.”

Dornink finished with 76 yards on 12 rushes, many of those yards coming from pounding defenders through contact.

”It’s thrilling [to have Dornink and Jalen Buckley]. They’re great leaders and great people. They’re captains for a reason,” Batavia coach Dennis Piron said. “Between them and then AJ [Sanders], showing how special he can be. [Wideout Drew] Gerke [is] a playmaker. Had three clutch catches that moved chains for us…A young O-line dealt with a lot of adversity. [Phillips] stunts a lot and they have some talent up front and made it tough.”

In the first half, Dornink scored on rushes of 3-yards and 33-yards, respectively, to give the Bulldogs a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter.

After another Phillips punt, Batavia quarterback Ryan Boe connected with slot receiver AJ Sanders for a 34-yard strike. The extra point was blocked, but the Bulldogs maintained the 20-0 lead into the half, despite two turnovers by Boe.

Bulldogs senior linebacker Drew Bartels had three first half sacks and limited the Wildcats to 76 rushing yards on six first half possessions.

After the Bulldogs (1-0) fumbled the opening kickoff for the second half, Phillips was rewarded with a 8-yard touchdown pass from Tyler Turner to Dayvone Rainey, but the two-point conversion failed.

Batavia senior two-way star Buckley needed just five plays to answer with a nifty 40-yard scoring run, and finished with 86 yards.

Boe finished with 135 yards passing and had three turnovers, but Dornink knows “he can do amazing things.”

”I think he just had to get the jitters out. Once he had a feel for the game and once he got used to it and got rhythm, he was great,” Dornink said.

”…[Boe], a sophomore quarterback, in [his] first varsity football game that had been playing freshman ball last year, he made some pretty spectacular throws,” Piron said. “He has a lot of upside there.”

Boe, however, credits his early success based on how everyone else played around him.

”The line, they did a great job blocking,” Boe said. “My running backs, they did a great job running the ball. Josh just powered through everybody; I don’t even know how he does half of that.”

”Gerke had a great game; same with AJ with that touchdown. I would say my success was really based off the people around me,” Boe continued.

Gerake had four catches for 67 yards.

Phillips (0-1) was paced by Rainey’s 124 yards on the ground. Turner had 41 passing yards and one touchdown.

”We have a really good group of defensive players; all 11, every guy is solid, can challenge you. We’re getting a nice rotation going up front with some good d-line players. So, pretty excited where we’re headed.”

Jacob Bartelson

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.