BATAVIA – Tyler Jansey crashed into the end zone.
His arms soon stretched high above his head before the manic scene unfolded all around him.
In double overtime and facing fourth-and-goal from the 1 – moments after Hersey missed its second consecutive field-goal attempt in overtime – Batavia needed its senior star to be one in a blustery, flukey spectacle Nov. 5 in Batavia.
The Wisconsin recruit crashed in from a yard out to cap Batavia’s 19-13 double-overtime thriller over previously unbeaten Hersey in a Class 7A second-round game.
“I can’t even describe it,” Jansey said. “It’s just unbelievable. Miraculous, honestly. All glory to God.”
Tied 13-13 entering the first overtime, Batavia (8-3) opted to go with its offense first. After stalling because of a false start, Hersey was flagged for defensive holding on a Ryan Boe pass attempt on third and goal.
Bulldogs running back Ryan Whitwell was stuffed just short on fourth down to give Hersey (10-1) a chance for the win to prolong its first perfect season since 1975.
On fourth-and-goal at the 1, Hersey opted for a field-goal try from Will Gabrione. The kick appeared to be at least partially blocked and hit the bottom of the cross bar to send the game to a second overtime.
Gabrione’s field-goal attempt in the second OT sailed wide left on fourth-and-goal from the 5.
The Bulldogs then rode Jansey.
“They were just giving me the ball,” Jansey said. “We were just running up the middle all four downs.”
The Bulldogs advanced to host Yorkville (10-1), which survived quadruple overtime in its 34-31 victory over Moline. The Foxes have reached the quarterfinals for the first time since 1999.
Batavia took a 6-0 lead in the first quarter on Whitwell’s 21-yard run. The extra-point attempt was blocked. The Huskies responded with a field goal to cut the deficit to 6-3. The Bulldogs punted on the next possession and Hersey again was in business.
The Huskies faced fourth-and-goal with 3:34 left in the half. After a timeout, Hersey running back Charles Meister was stuffed at the line by a host of Bulldogs.
Batavia’s next possession ended in a safety after a high snap rolled into the back of the end zone to make the score 6-5 with 1:56 left in the half. The ensuing kick back to Hersey into immense wind was able to travel at least 10 yards through the air and Batavia recovered its own kick but was unable to score before the half.
On Hersey’s second possession of the second half, it was able to convert a pair of fourth-down plays to extend the drive. Batavia was flagged for two defensive penalties later in the drive and Hersey cashed in on Carter Hansen’s touchdown pass to Logan Farrell. Hersey converted the two-point play for a 13-6 lead with under a minute left in the third quarter.
Then came a stunning play by Batavia senior standout Drew Gerke – an 85-yard kick return for a touchdown to close the third quarter at 13-13.
After a back-and-forth fourth quarter, Batavia kicker Alec Crum appeared to have made a 40-yard field goal with 44 seconds left in regulation. But Hersey had been granted a timeout and Crum’s next attempt missed, sending the game to overtime.
“It was really just a crazy game,” Batavia coach Dennis Piron said. “I mean, the wind made it that weird stuff was going to happen. They had fumbled snaps. We had fumbled snaps. You have things that you thought would be normal and weren’t normal. I don’t know. It’s just ... I don’t even know what to make of it.
“Everything was out the window and it was just play and hope for the best. You couldn’t throw with the wind or against it. Everything was ridiculous.”
Batavia was paced by Whitwell’s 89 rushing yards. Jansey had 40 rushing yards. Boe had 32 rushing yards in the low passing affair.
Hersey, crushed leaving the field, gave everything it had.
Standout running back Brett Kersemeier finished with 45 rushing yards and 54 receiving yards. Colton Gumino was 6-for-10 for 88 yards. Carson Grove had three catches for 29 yards.
“Obviously just a terrific high school football game,” Hersey coach Tom Nelson said. “Obviously, conditions were a big factor. Credit to Batavia to make plays when they had to, but I’m just really proud of the grit and fight of our kids. They’ve done every single thing you ever ask of them. And it showed today.”