Batavia took advantage of a bad snap on a punt attempt by host St. Charles North to score in the opening minutes of Friday night's Upstate Eight River contest and it wasn't what North Stars coach Mark Gould had in mind.
"We told the kids that to create an upset and play the spoiler, they would have to play a perfect game and it didn't start off real well that way," Gould said.
In the end, the early snafu was almost moot as the undefeated Bulldogs locked up at least a share of their first Upstate Eight title with a convincing 42-0 victory over St. Charles North.
"We're really happy with the way we've been playing," Batavia coach Dennis Piron said.
Who wouldn't be happy with an 8-0 overall record and 5-0 conference mark?
Batavia roared to a 35-0 halftime lead behind three Dom Guzaldo touchdowns and forced the game into a running clock by establishing the 42-0 final score early in the third quarter when Alec Lyons scored on his second 2-yard touchdown run of the night.
In between, quarterback Noel Gaspari found receiver Zach Strittmatter with a 30-yard scoring strike in the second quarter, part of a comfortable evening behind an offensive line that wasn't allowing a North Star near him.
"It's incredible the way he was throwing the ball in these conditions, he looked real good throwing the deep ball tonight," Piron said, referring to Gaspari's 13-of-21 effort for 212 yards on a windy evening.
"He's a special quarterback, and with him doing that kind of stuff and the way our run game has developed, we're just a really, really good high school football team," Piron added.
Guzaldo made things look easy by running for a 12-yard touchdown after the early North Star miscue, then bolting 34 yards for a score on Batavia's second possession of the night.
"The holes were just wide open, anyone could have run in for those touchdowns," Guzaldo said. "The offensive line was just great."
Guzaldo took his scoring act to the air for the Bulldogs' third touchdown of the first quarter, hauling in a 6-yard toss from Gaspari with just less than three minutes left.
The Batavia defense made life miserable for the North Stars offensive unit, which couldn't generate any drives with key running back George Edlund being swarmed by Bulldog defenders.
Edlund finished with a game-high 71 yards rushing on 17 carries, but the North Stars picked up only six first downs in the game, with two of those coming on Edlund runs.
The loss marked the first for St. Charles North (2-6, 2-3) against Batavia in three tries, and Gould knows why.
"They have so many weapons, they are big and strong and fast, so it was very frustrating for us," Gould said. "They've been aiming for this year for a long time, and rightfully so, they are playing with a lot of confidence."
Gaspari was quick to credit the Bulldogs' impressive linemen with leading the way in an unblemished season.
"It's been a real fun year, and the offensive line has done an incredible job," said Gaspari, a three-year starting quarterback. "Each game we've won, the offensive and defensive lines have been the reason."
Guzaldo knows the Bulldogs can't expect an easy road when the state playoffs start.
"It's pretty tough to keep up the intensity with all of the easy games we've been having," Guzaldo said. "But we'll be ready when it comes time for the playoffs, because it's going to be a great atmosphere."
Batavia has one step to take prior to the playoffs when the Bulldogs host Streamwood next Friday in the season finale. Batavia will look to finish the season without a loss and claim its first Upstate Eight River title outright in only its second year in the conference.