BATAVIA – As Batavia wide receiver Kyle Ambrose tiptoed into the corner of the end zone while hauling in a touchdown pass from Ryan Boe, the senior had one of those unforgettable sports moments.
It was one of the highlights of a huge effort from the Bulldogs, who jumped on Lake Park early and overwhelmed the Lancers 42-0 in a DuKane Conference game Sept. 16 in Batavia.
“Last year, I didn’t get to play because I broke my back and missed out on the whole season,” Ambrose said. “This year is my comeback year and this was my first starting game today here at home. I came out and tried to help the team.”
Ambrose’s 4-yard touchdown reception was the fifth score by Batavia in the first half as the Bulldogs led 35-0 at halftime.
“We played a really good first half,” Batavia coach Dennis Piron said. “We had a great week of practice after a tough couple of weeks – we got going late against Lincoln-Way East and last week [against Wheaton North], we felt really good until the last few minutes and then boom. The kids could’ve hung their heads but they practice extremely well. They did an outstanding job of bouncing back.”
The Bulldogs jumped on the Lancers from the start. After forcing the Lancers to punt on the game’s opening possession, Ryan Whitwell scored the first of his three touchdowns on the night from three yards out.
After forcing another quick Lake Park possession, the Bulldogs scored quickly again, this time on their first play, a 50-yard run from Boe.
“We came out good running the ball and we got good downfield blocks to get good runs for Ryan Whitwell,” Ambrose said. “We’ve been waiting for this [the home opener]. I can remember going to BYF (Batavia Youth Football) nights when I was a kid. It was awesome coming to the games.”
The Bulldogs received a well-rounded effort, posting a shutout that was inspired by a pair of fourth-down stops in the first half.
“We did everything fundamentally sound tonight, so this is how we play when we’re fundamentally sound,” Batavia junior linebacker Ben Fiegel said. “We’ve played really good teams and the last two weeks we should’ve come out harder and done some stuff so we fixed them for this game.”
Lake Park delayed Batavia from scoring its sixth touchdown and starting the running clock until early in the fourth quarter.
“I feel like we didn’t really come out ready to play,” Lake Park coach Chris Kirkpatrick said. “I think that was kind of the idea, but I am proud of the guys for not quitting. We’re at a place in our program where I think we’re trying to turn into a championship culture and I think (Batavia) is a team that has a championship culture. But I am very proud of my guys. They never quit, the coaches never quit tonight and there are some ugly things we’ll see on the film, but also some things we’re going to love the kids up and tell them how they’re getting better.”