The teams didn’t disappoint.
“The No. 1 reason we and Oswego put this series together was the atmosphere it figured to be,” Batavia coach Dennis Piron said of last weekend’s wild season opener.
The game, delayed by lightning midway through the first quarter on Friday, was completed Saturday in one of the most exciting finishes imaginable.
Each team scored twice and the lead changed hands four times, all in the final one minute and 49 seconds, before the visiting Panthers pulled out a 40-38 win on Steven Frank’s 24-yard touchdown pass to Joe Hennessy on a play that began with no time on the clock following a defensive penalty on the final play of regulation.
“Friday night was pretty special. Both communities really support their teams,” Piron ssaid. “And Saturday, we had another good crowd, too, especially considering it was a holiday weekend.”
The former Little Seven Conference rivals will meet next year at Oswego.
“We haven’t played ’em in 10 years but it was the same power attack,” Piron said. “It was like nothing had changed.
“I don’t know if people know how good Oswego is and how good we are. Games this week may set the value on it with them playing Waubonsie Valley and us playing Glenbard North. I think it’s two weeks in a row each team will have played a team deserving of being ranked in the top 25 in Chicagoland.”
Twice as nice
The two-headed monster Batavia utilized at quarterback proved formidable and could be scary for future opponents.
Senior left-hander Evan Acosta completed 10 straight passes to open the game for the Bulldogs and finished 15-of-22 for 189 yards and one TD. He played through the first series of the third quarter before being relieved by junior righty Kyle Niemiec.
How’d he do?
Niemiec completed 15 straight passes at one point and ended up 16-of-18 for 152 yards and two TDs. Neither Acosta nor Niemiec threw an interception and they had QB ratings of 100.9 and 148.4, respectively.
“We told them they’d both play but we didn’t have a specific play count or strategy,” Piron said. “Kyle had missed about a month in the summer with a knee injury so that’s why we started Evan. What was also nice was we had passes completed to nine different receivers and didn’t have one drop and they weren’t sacked once. Part of that was the game plan, designed to get rid of the ball quickly.”
The real deal?
Geneva quarterback and Northern Illinois commit Daniel Santacaterina, who threw for three scores at West Aurora, impressed Blackhawks’ coach Nate Eimer.
“We’ve seen some good ones, but the way that kid stays on the move and throws, it’s pretty impressive,” he said.
East Aurora, which had lost its regular-season finale in 2013 to West Chicago 29-24 came close again against the Wildcats in the 2014 season opener. The Tomcats picked off four passes and rallied from a 26-8 deficit to lose 26-24.
Mooseheart led 12-0 at Kirkland but Hiawatha rallied to tie it and send it to overtime. The Hawks’ defense stopped the Red Ramblers, then Evan Williams connected with Alex Flones on a 10-yard scoring pass to win it.
Not so close calls
Metea Valley running back Bryson Oliver ran for 264 yards in the Mustangs’ 18-0 win over Woodstock; Yorkville’s Nathan Scott completed 12-of-16 passes for 165 yards in the Foxes’ 34-6 rout of Plano and Marmion upended Plainfield Central in its opener for the second year in a row 26-7.