Lincoln-Way East beats Batavia in a thriller

The No. 2 Griffins’ defense stopped No. 3 Batavia’s two-point conversion attempt with eight seconds left to win 14-13.

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Lincoln-Way East’s DJ Richardson catches a touchdown pass in the fourth quarter.

Lincoln-Way East’s DJ Richardson catches a touchdown pass in the fourth quarter.

Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times

Lincoln-Way East linebacker Conner Durkin didn’t need months or years to appreciate the game his team experienced Friday in Batavia. He didn’t even need the bus ride back to Frankfort.

“It was perfect,” Durkin said. “You couldn’t ask for a better game, a closer game. It’s definitely something we are going to remember for the rest of our lives.”

Durkin and the No. 2 Griffins’ defense stopped No. 3 Batavia’s two-point conversion attempt with eight seconds left to win 14-13.

“It was one of the best character building games I’ve been a part of in 30 years,” Lincoln-Way East coach Rob Zvonar said. “Great kids on both sides of the ball just going at it all night as hard as they could. It’s what high school football is all about.”

Batavia quarterback Ryan Boe scored on a three-yard run to set up coach Dennis Piron’s decision. Piron says he’s an overtime guy. But his players wanted to go for the win.

“This is Week 2, the kids wanted it,” Piron said. “Everyone’s sore and tired. It just felt like the right thing.”

Boe kept it on the conversion attempt, sweeping right. Lincoln-Way East senior cornerback Jashawn Echols made a terrific diving tackle to take Boe down.

“We had a perfect play call,” Durkin said. “They came out in the formation we wanted and [Echols] made an amazing tackle.”

The game-winning touchdown was a 35-yard pass from Braden Tischer to DJ Richardson with 6:11 to play.

“It was just a roll out play to the left,” Tischer said. “On a play prior I saw DJ was open and I missed him, threw it to someone else. DJ ran a great route and made a great catch.”

Tischer was 14-for-22 passing for 233 yards with two TDs and no interceptions. Ryan Usher was his favorite target. The senior had seven catches for 73 yards.

The Griffins’ first touchdown was a 58-yard pass from Tischer to Cade Serauskis. That opened the scoring. Batavia (1-1) responded with a one-yard TD run late in the half from Boe. Neither team scored in the third quarter. The Griffins (2-0) missed a field goal and had one blocked.

“It was a super thrilling game knowing that any play could win it,” Tischer said. “But right now it is so much pressure off my shoulders. We get to relax and enjoy it this weekend.”

Boe, a three-year starter for Batavia, earned praise from both coaches and the Lincoln-Way East players for his poise and decision-making.

“He played phenomenal,” Durkin said. “That’s the most disciplined player we’ve ever played. He didn’t make any mistakes.”

Boe was 15-for-18 passing for 163 yards. He also rushed 18 times for 94 yards and two touchdowns.

“The goal is to win, it isn’t to play close against Lincoln-Way East,” Piron said. “So we are not taking a lot of satisfaction in it.”

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