Batavia turns the page on last year’s controversial loss to Mount Carmel, excited to ‘show the whole state what we’ve got’

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The emotional tenor in the Batavia dressing room, suffice it to say, is quite excited.

Batavia (10-3) will face Mount Carmel (13-0) on Saturday at 4 p.m. for the Class 7A state title. It is the fourth state title in the program’s history. Batavia won titles in 2013 and 2017.

This time, however, has the added storyline going back to how Batavia’s season ended last year.

The Bulldogs lost in heartbreaking fashion to the Caravan 16-14 in the second round of last year’s play-offs. Batavia was stung by two pass interference calls on Mount Carmel’s final drive, the first on an incomplete fourth down pass and the second on what would have been the final play of the game.

Denny Furlong’s game-winning touchdown run from the right ended a comeback that will forever be haunted by flags.

But that was then. This is now.

Batavia has long since turned the page.

“Very excited,” Batavia senior security Drake Ostrander said Tuesday at Batavia’s Media Night. “Just excited to show the whole state what we really have. A lot [outside] doubt in us I see in all the comments I see from other people who doubt us. I really believe we can show them who we really are and how great we really can be.”

Caravan quarterback Blainey Dowling comes in red hot, already holding the program’s record for touchdown passes in a season. Dowling has 2,719 passing yards and 39 touchdowns coming in on Saturday.


Mount Carmel’s lowest point total of the season (20) came last week in its semifinal victory over St. Rita. The Caravan has scored at least 40 points in eight games.

“I think we’re going to do the same as last year. I think we played really well last year. We made some mistakes, [and] we’re going to correct those,” said Batavia senior linebacker and Iowa State commit Jack Sadowsky. “We are the better team and I think we know that.”

“It doesn’t matter who we play against. We’re going to play 100%. [our brand of football]Sadowsky continued.

Ostrander didn’t play in last year’s playoff game against Mount Carmel, but Dowling’s first impressions point to his arm talent.

“You have to respect his arm,” Ostrander said. “He’s got a strong arm, so you just have to know what he’s got and just give it your best shot against him.”

Bulldogs junior linebacker Ben Fiegel knows his defense has been “put to the test”.

“A lot of people are praying for our demise, I think, if you look all over social media now,” Fiegel said. “I think it just motivates us more and more. We have to decide it’s our last week and not many people get to do that. We deserved to be able to say: this is our last week and I think all of us are pumped to play one last game together as a group.

“This group is so special and I just love playing with my best friends, so it’s one more game, one more week.”

What will it take to beat Mount Carmel and hoist Batavia’s third championship trophy in program history?

“Lots of grit,” Ostrander said. “A lot of struggle and just can’t give up. You know it’s up and down [moments] during this game and we just really need to take advantage of every game we get. If they make a mistake, we have to jump on it.”

“All we’ve got,” Sadowsky said.

Ahrens D-line anchorage:

Maybe statistics don’t tell the whole story for Quinn Ahrens.

Zitkus, a senior from Batavia, has a total of 26 tackles, two for a loss and no sacks.

However, it doesn’t quite mean that the impact isn’t felt on the pitch.

“I hold my gap and when I see [the linebackers] bounce, I know my boys have them,” Ahrens said.” I do my job, as the coach says: do my own thing. I stay in my hole.”

Whatever hole that particular defensive play requires, Ahrens stays true to it.

“If I get called for a hole, I stay in that hole. I’m not into getting sacked. If I don’t get sacked, I don’t really care. I’m just trying to win the game.”


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