By Chris Chaney
The Batavia Bulldogs capped off a historical season on Friday, Oct. 26 with their 54-12 win over Fayetteville-Perry. The win was the icing on a season that saw the team go a perfect 10-0 overall and 4-0 in the Southern Buckeye Conference, earning them their first playoff berth since 2003.
“It’s a culmination of all the hard work,” head coach Don Sizer said of the accomplishment. “Time, effort; blood, sweat and tears; compromise put in by everyone, the coaches, the players, spouses — don’t forget the spouses of the coaches, they sacrifice, too — but the culmination of those things made it possible to be 10-0.”
The team, players and coaches alike are not the only ones excited about the Bulldogs solid regular season. Batavia athletic director Ben Stewart said that the excitement surrounding the team has overflowed the halls at Batavia High School into the community.
“We know everybody’s really excited as far as the school and the entire community,” Stewart said. “It’s fantastic right now. It’s a fun place to be. Obviously, the team is receiving a lot of support from other students and teachers.”
The Bulldogs are a senior laden bunch with 13 seniors who have gained a lot of varsity playing time since they arrived on campus.
“This team is full of seniors,” Stewart said. “They are led by 13 seniors who have worked together and stuck it through and gone through some tough years over the past three years.
“A lot of these kids started and almost all of them played varsity as freshman and as a result they gained a lot of experience and now all their dedication and hard work is paying off.”
Coach Sizer echoed Stewart’s sentiments, saying that his team has done everything within their power to have a successful season and that work was rewarded when the final whistle blew on Friday night.
“The seniors have gone from really taking their lumps as freshmen and sophomores, all the way up until last year when they set the tone for this season,” Sizer said. “I’m happy for them because they’ve put a lot of effort and time and energy and their heart and soul into it, so I’m glad to see them win. I think they deserve it because they time and effort and all the things necessary to have a great season.”
The Bulldogs great season will continue on Friday, Nov. 2 as Batavia will host a playoff game for just the second time in their school’s history.
“We’ve made the playoffs two other times ever,” Stewart said. “Most recently was in 2003, that was also our last SBC championship.
“We also made one other time and that was in 1999 and that was the last time we had a home game.”
With hosting the game, Stewart and Sizer both hope that fans can create a good home-field advantage against the Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy.
“We hope to have a really big crowd,” Stewart said. “We hope everybody that can be there is there.”
The Bulldogs will play the 9-1 CHCA Eagles at 7:30 Friday night and while Sizer understands that there are no more easy games on the schedule, he plans to attack CHCA the same way they have every other team on their schedule.
“(CHCA) is an outstanding team with a lot of playoff experience,” Sizer said. “Coach Taylor and his staff do a great job. What we’re expecting is that they won’t do anything special for us, they’re going to come out and do what they do because they have had a lot of success with it.
“We’re pretty much going to do the same thing. We’re going to dance with the girl we came with: running the ball and playing some tough defense and being solid on special teams. We’re just going to try and play our game.”
Batavia will be hosting a community pep rally on Thursday, Nov. 1 at 7:30pm at the high school with the game taking place the next night at Holman Stadium.
Presale tickets have been available since Tuesday in the high school office for $7 or else will be available for $9 at the gate.
If you are unable to attend the game, follow updates via our Twitter account, @ClerSunSports.