Teammate and linebacker Anthony Thielk, a rock-solid 215 pounds, calls elusive Batavia running back Anthony Scaccia “swivel hips.”
Playing Saturday on the windblown frozen tundra at Rockford Boylan, the 157-pound Scaccia was more power ranger in leading the Bulldogs to a dominant 38-6 win over the Titans to advance to next week’s Class 6A football state championship game.
“Look at that kid. You see him? Does he look to you like the bad (dude) that he is?” Batavia coach Dennis Piron said. “He’s a power running back disguised at 157 pounds. Power football. It was awesome.”
The 5-foot-7 Scaccia carried 41 times for 184 yards and scored three first-half touchdowns with only three runs of 10 yards or more, leading the Bulldogs (12-1) to their 11th straight win.
“Big physical line. Great running back,” Rockford Boylan defensive lineman Ian Riggs said when asked what made the Bulldogs so hard to stop. “No. 28 (Scaccia), he runs hard He’ll definitely be going somewhere in the future.”
Next stop? DeKalb and Northern Illinois University’s Huskie Stadium, where the Bulldogs will meet Richards, a 7-6 winner over East St. Louis, at 1 p.m. Saturday for the title.
Four first-half Titan turnovers and another strong effort by Batavia coordinator Matt Holm’s defense were equally important in what Piron termed “brutal conditions.”
Batavia’s first possession was a 14-play drive that ended at the Boylan 10 when the Bulldogs turned it over on downs. Batavia defensive end Josh Leonhard recovered a Nick Pumilia fumble on the Boylan 24 three plays later.
Scaccia bulled in from two yards out with 41 seconds left in the first quarter, but Howie Morgano’s PAT kick was blocked. PAT conversions proved to be the Bulldogs’ only problem, but Piron blamed it on the frozen turf that “was like concrete” and didn’t allow kickers a chance to get any traction.
Fortunately, it wasn’t a problem for Scaccia and his offensive line. Batavia was 5-of-6 on fourth down conversions — three by Scaccia — in the first half in which the Bulldogs ran 35 plays to just 19 for the home team.
Scaccia added TD runs of one and four yards, but the dagger came with 1:06 left in the half when defensive back Rourke Mullins returned an interception of a pass by Demry Croft 56 yards for a TD that made it 24-0 at the break.
“It was pretty tough,” said the Boylan quarterback. “I lost the feeling in my fingers in the first quarter. It was tough to feel the ball.”
Scaccia kept grinding and so did the Batavia defense, the first string now limiting an opponent to seven or fewer points for the 10th straight game. Croft scored the Titans’ only points on a five-yard run as time on the clock ran out.
Batavia quarterback Micah Coffey passed for 205 yards, including second-half TD tosses of 32 yards to Michael Moffatt and 90 to Jordan Zwart.
It was just the second loss in four years for Boylan (12-1), which went undefeated in claiming back-to-back state titles in 2010-11.