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Rick Armstrong’s football notes: Jake Hlava leads Batavia sack attack

Here we go again.

The sacks continue to pile up for the Batavia defense.

In last season’s Class 6A state championship run, junior defensive ends Noah Frazier (13.0) and Josh Leonhard (12.0) each surpassed the single-season sack record fof 10 set in 2006 by Kevin McFarland, a member of the Bulldogs’ state runner-up team.

And it appears the record could soon fall again. Through seven weeks, senior Jake Hlava has piled up 11.5.

“He’s done a great job of getting to the passer,” Batavia coach Dennis Piron said of the 6-2, 215-pound senior. “We’ve used him at weak-side linebacker, strong-side linebacker and end. He’s really fast and with teams sometimes double-teaming Josh and Noah, it’s opened things up for Jake.

“(Hlava) is very explosive and plays at a high level. He’s a scrappy player.”

In addition to the sacks, Hlava has 15 quarterback hurries, one interception, three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery to go with 37 tackles (27 solo, 10 assists).

As a team, the Bulldogs (6-1) have piled up 35 sacks, including 4.5 from Frazier (6 hurries), 4.5 from defensive tackle Jon Wall (12 hurries) and 4.0 from Leonhard (13 hurries).

Rivalry week, East-West

West Aurora, fresh off its upset of previously unbeaten Waubonsie Valley, travels across the river to East (0-7, 0-5) for the 123rd meeting in the state’s longest running series that dates to 1893.

The Blackhawks (2-5, 2-3) last year won for the 13th straight time, 46-18, and hold a 61-48-12 advantage in the series. With West returning to the Upstate Eight Conference this school year, the game has been moved back to later in the season. It had been the season opener since West left the UEC for the DuPage Valley in 1997.

Rivalry week, Batavia-Geneva

Geneva (7-0, 5-0) plays at Batavia (6-1, 5-0) in a game that will again likely decide the Upstate Eight River title. Piron’s Bulldogs carry a 24-game conference winning streak into the game and are bidding four their fourth straight league title.

Geneva has been a 5-1 runnerup in two of those years, and won the first UEC River title in 2010-11 when both teams joined after the Western Sun broke up.

The football rivalry between the neighboring towns dates to 1913, and according to a history of the matchup compiled in 2013 by Batavia Public Library director George H. Scheetz, Geneva holds a 51-39-5 lead in the series. They did not meet in 1914-15, 1918, 1934-35-36 and again in 1996, but did play twice (playoff) in 2006.

Rivarly week, Valley style

Not nearly as longstanding, but just as intense in recent years, is the matchup between District 204 rivals Waubonsie Valley and Neuqua Valley, which will be played at North Central College.

The Warriors (6-1, 4-1) face a must-win against the Wildcats (5-2, 5-0) if they hope to claim at least a share of the title. Neither team has “gimmees” the following week with dates against South Elgin and Metea Valley, which are both 3-2 in the league.

Post rivalry

Last week’s Sandwich-Plano meeting, won 45-24 by the Reapers, was the 95th in the series that dates to 1903 but has not been continuous. Sandwich now holds a 49-43-3 edge in the series, according to research provided by local historian Chris Schwemlein.

Watkins earns honor

West Aurora kicker Darryl Watkins, who kicked a 36-yard field to tie the game with Waubonsie Valley and send it into overtime and then won it with a 28-yarder in double overtime, has been selected the AllState High School Athlete of the Week.

The junior, who is also the Blackhawks’ backup quarterback, will be interviewed this week at practice and featured on Comcast’s High School Lites program on Friday.