The Blue Devils squad that took to Woodward Field on Saturday night put on a brand of football that hasn't been seen from the bleachers of Van Detta Stadium in many years.
Dominating on offense, defense and special teams, Batavia crushed Wellsville 57-20, to the point that third-year Head Coach Brennan Briggs was almost apologetic to Lions' leader Wayne Stonemetz.
"I don't love being in this situation because I've never been on the side where we're up so big," Briggs said. "It was great because we got to get everybody in the game, but at the same time you don't want to try and run that score up, because I totally believe in being a first-class guy and I don't want to send the wrong message that we tried doing anything like that."
By the 4th quarter, however, it was almost as if the Blue Devils could do nothing but score, notching TDs after a kickoff miscue by the Lions, then scoring on a kickoff return by Anthony Gallo and finally scoring with seconds left while trying to run out the clock with the second-team offense.
Where did this motivation to dominate come from? Briggs blames Livonia, who last week beat Batavia 16-13, scoring with just seconds left in the game.
"I think it brought us closer," Briggs said. "We showed Livingston County that we can play with the best in Livingston County because they were saying Livonia was the best team. I think our kids saw OK, we lost in the last second, but we hung with them. That loss really cut them deep. They realized, this about the team and we can battle with some of the best."
Briggs called the win a team effort and several players did contribute throughout the night.
Dom Mogavero gained 108 yards and scored three TDs on 10 carries. Ahdeosun added two more TDs, gaining 64 yards on 11 carries. Anthony Gallo's two TDs came on a 55-yard kickoff return and a 45-yard reception.
QB Greg Mruczek tossed the ball for 66 yards and one touchdown.
On defense, Trevor Rittersback had 11 tackles, including one for a safety, and James Cryer had 7.5 tackles and an interception.
"I love this team. I really do," Briggs said. "They're about as strong as they're going to get together as a unit. This is one of the closest-knit teams I've seen in quite some time."
The community saw something from the Blue Devils that should encourage them to pack the stands in 2014, coaches told the players after the game.
Asked what the community can expect this year, Briggs said, "I want them to know these are tough kids. They work hard every day. They grind it day in and day out. There aren't many of them, but they've bought into this system. They're a disciplined group of kids and they're here to have fun and play football."
Next up, Hornell in Hornell, which leaves little time to savor the victory.
"We've got to turn the page and be ready for Hornell next week, because Hornell is not going to care what we did this week," Briggs said. "It's one game. Yes it's good for the kids and I'm happy for them, but we need to turn the page."
Briggs is chomping at the bit for a little bit of revenge.
Two years ago, the last time the two teams met, Batavia managed to take an eventual championship team into a 14-14 tie at the half, but Hornell pulled away in the second half for a 30-14 win.
"It left a sour taste in my mouth and I just want to go down there and hopefully show them that, hey, we can go out there and we can smashmouth it with ya and we can get the ball out to our athletes," Briggs said.
Top photo: Dominick Mogavero dives into the end zone in the first quarter.
James Cryer snags an interception.
Wellsville punter Josh Cline breaks free of Batavia's Trenton McGraw while still in his own end zone. While pinned deep in their own territory, Wellsville faked a fourth-down punt and Cline gained about 70 yards on his run, setting up a Wellsville touchdown.
Richy Ewell scores for Wellsville.
Noah Dobbertin blocks a pass from Brett Migliore.
Batavia running back Ahdeosun Aiken with positive yardage.
Dominick Mogavero cuts toward the endzone on another score.
Block That Punt: And that's exactly what the Blue Devils defense did for a touchdown.
Ahdeosun Aiken scores.
Anthony Gallo scores on a kickoff return.
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