The likes of Tyler Jansey and Jack Sadowsky are perhaps the face of the Batavia defense.
Behind the scenes, however, is defensive coordinator Matt Holm. Holm is the mastermind behind the Bulldogs’ defensive dominance seemingly any given season.
Saturday’s 19-13 double overtime victory over Hersey in the Class 7A second round is just another chapter to add to the file.
The Batavia defense limited the previously undefeated Huskies to 47 rushing yards and 108 passing yards. Hersey managed just 17 total yards in the fourth quarte.
“There’s not many experts,” Batavia coach Dennis Piron said in the blustering wind last Saturday. “Matt Holm is an expert. He truly is.”
“He’s an expert at his craft. He’s one of the best defensive coordinators in Illinois,” Piron continued. “He does such a good job of taking away things that you like to do and he’s amazing. He’s got the tools to do it.”
Jansey, for his part, had 19 total tackles, and three for-loss. Sadowsky followed with 13 tackles, and that’s just two names of several one could ultimately list.
“Our defense is very good and me going back to play defense has been a blast,” senior Ryan Whitwell said. Whitwell plays running back on offense and safety on defense.
“I’m having a blast being able to play both sides, [which allows] me to play the game as much as possible,” Whitwell continued. “And our defense has so many playmakers on it. Everyone knows about Sadowsky and Jansey but, [Ben] Fiegel, [Brody] Osborne,[JP] Chaney, Buckley, [Drake] Ostrander [and Joey] Barbush make just as many plays.
Batavia’s Road Pavers
Whitwell and Jansey chew up sizable yardage for the Bulldogs rushing-wise.
The line of Frankie Porcaro, Jonathan Brown, Jack David, Jimmy Zitkus, and Nick Ruiz, perhaps quietly, pave the way for that to happen at all.
“Those are the guys who have allowed our offense to move. We run off them,” Whitwell said. “They make my job easy. They open the holes and all I have to do is make a move or out-run someone to make a good play.”
“I think they truly deserve the respect, as I’ve seen these guys as a group work together and become better and better every week,” Whitwell continued. “And, they’re so funny, I could be with them all day that’s how good me and their relationship is.”
Warsaw, St. Charles North stick to the script
St. Charles North’s recipe for wins usually starts and ends with Drew Surges at the top of the list.
Saturday’s 25-9 second round victory over Hoffman Estates stuck exactly to script.
Surges ran for a touchdown, caught a touchdown pass, ran for a conversion and had an interception to help lead the North Stars to their 10th consecutive win that day.
“Our game plan going in there was just we wanted to run the football and just tire [Hoffman Estates] out from the start,” offensive lineman Henry Warsaw said. “And then, once we got our run game going, it can open our pass game up. Considering the weather, too, with the wind being pretty bad, we were focused pretty hard on the run game.”
The North Stars then simply had to out-physical their opponent.
“It was a pretty physical game. There were some big shots going back and forth,” Warsaw said. “Both teams kind of got the ball moving and then we got stopped a couple times. Our defense was having some big stops. In the long run, we were just pulling away. It was a tough game. They had some good athletes and we had to grind it out. That’s what we did.”
St. Charles North (11-1) now hosts St. Rita in the quarterfinals at 1 p.m. Saturday.
“I think the big thing for us this week is just keep doing what we’re doing,” Warsaw said. “It’s going to come down to how well we can execute our game plan. We’ve got to execute as good as we have all year this upcoming week and I think, if we do that, we’ll get the win.”