Football Class 6A State Championship: Richards can’t keep up with revamped Batavia, falls 34-14
DEKALB — Healthier and smarter was a combination for Batavia on Saturday.
Playing the team that handed it its lone loss back in Week 2 when it was missing several defensive starters, Batavia was back at full strength in the Class 6A final.
Anthony Scaccia added to his school records for rushing yards and touchdowns with 189 yards and three scores, and Batavia bottled up Richards’ explosive offense en route to a 34-14 victory at Huskie Stadium.
Micah Coffey added 229 passing yards and two scores for offensively balanced Batavia (13-1), which won its first state title in its second trip to the finals.
“We knew the big play was a big part of their offense,” Batavia’s Forrest Gilbertson said of the 31-25 regular-season loss. “We had some let-ups the first game.”
“To be honest, I think we were a little intimidated,” Scaccia said of the teams’ first meeting. “This time we were more prepared.”
It certainly looked that way. Batavia opened up a 14-0 lead in the first quarter on Scaccia’s one-yard touchdown run and Michael Moffatt’s 96-yard catch-and-run and Richards (12-2) never caught up.
“It’s a big play and it allowed us to keep them on their toes,” Coffey said. “Us breaking that play opened up the floodgates a little bit.”
“They [saw] our weaknesses and attacked them,” Richards’ Savon Robinson said. “We saw what they were doing and we didn’t execute.”
Richards cut the deficit to 14-7 on Hasan Muhammad-Rogers’ nine-yard touchdown pass to Dedrick Shannon, set up by a 52-yard completion to Tacari Carpenter. But Batavia pushed the lead to 28-7 on Coffey’s 25-yard touchdown pass to Rourke Mullins and Scaccia’s one-yard scoring run.
Meanwhile, the Batavia defense was tightening up, getting one of its three interceptions and then stopping Richards on four plays inside the Batavia five-yard line in the final minute of the first half.
Going for a field goal and some points heading into the half wasn’t an option, according to Richards coach Tony Sheehan. “We knew we needed to attack,” he said.
Batavia pushed the lead to 34-14 on Scaccia’s third touchdown run, a 12-yarder, at 8:16 of the first half. Muhammad-Rogers’ four-yard scoring run less than two minutes later ended the scoring.
“He has good feet, he’s a good runner,” Robinson said of Scaccia, who finished the season with 1,914 rushing yards and 35 touchdowns. “I respect him.”
Coffey, who completed 15 of 18 passes, gave props to the guys up front: center Patrick Gamble, guards Connor McKeehan and Zachary Tate and tackles Jack Breshears and Max Heidgen.
“They came out and dominated the line of scrimmage the first half,” he said. “I credit everything we did today to our offensive line.”