BATAVIA – On the second play from scrimmage, DeKalb junior running back Dre Brown found a hole up the middle and took a handoff 69 yards for a touchdown and, he hoped, a momentum-builder.
It wasn’t to be.
DeKalb wouldn’t reach the end zone again, and No. 2-seeded Batavia (9-1) rode a seemingly unstoppable running game to a 48-6 win over the visiting No. 15 Barbs (5-5) on Friday night in the first round of the Class 6A playoffs. Brown led the Barbs with 185 yards, while the Bulldogs were paced by 146 yards and four touchdowns from Anthony Scaccia
The post-game was somber, but senior quarterback Jack Sauter was able to look past the disappointment and acknowledge the Barbs’ accomplishments this year.
“We made huge strides this year, so you can’t overlook that just because of a playoff loss,” he said. “We’re just excited because we’ve got DeKalb football going in the right direction now.”
It looked as though DeKalb might have a chance to keep its surprise season alive, but the Barbs weren’t able to parlay the score into defensive momentum. Scaccia returned the ensuing kickoff 70 yards, and just more than a minute after Brown’s touchdown, Bulldogs running back Kevin Green answered from 12 yards out.
Batavia could not be stopped. Even with an accurate quarterback in Micah Coffey, the Bulldogs elected to run. In the second quarter, Green reached the end zone again, followed by two more touchdowns from Scaccia.
“They’re big and physical,” DeKalb coach Matt Weckler said. “They took it to us up front from the very beginning.”
Batavia didn’t punt in the first half and scored on all five possessions, taking a 35-6 lead into the break.
After Batavia wore down the Barbs for mostly short runs in the first half, Scaccia opened the second half by breaking a tackle and going 54 yards for the touchdown.
When the Bulldogs got the ball back on an interception, they looked poised to initiate the running clock rule that starts at a 40-point margin, but DeKalb senior defensive back Ethan Graves recovered a fumble to stop the drive.
Batavia was slowed down for a short time, and a Blake Crowder touchdown meant the clock would run for the final 8:57 of DeKalb’s season.
Weckler will get many of the accolades for taking the Barbs to the playoffs in his first season, but he deflected credit onto the seniors who helped lead them there.
“For some of these guys, they’ve been putting their heart and soul into this program for four years-plus, and I thank them,” Weckler said. “It’s important for the younger guys in our program to realize the importance of what those guys did.”