Batavia is off to a fast 4-0 start following a 35-13 victory over Bartlett on Friday night when the Bulldogs intercepted Air Force-bound quarterback A.J Bilyeu five times.
Senior Johnny Gray picked off 3 of those passes, giving him five through four games. That his team was prepared for Bartlett's high-powered attack came as no surprise to first-year Batavia coach Dennis Piron who said the Bulldogs can't get enough of studying the finer points of the game.
"Our kids are watching film at night, watching film at school," Piron said. "At breaks at lunch they are talking about football. They are talking about the opponent. They are taking about formations and plays they have seen and when it comes on the field and those things happen they feel confident in their reaction."
Technology has made all the film study even easier.
"The kids work hard at what they do," Piron said. "This huddle video stuff we read about in the paper? I think the teachers are probably getting mad. The kids are watching it on their iPhone and stuff. We know what you are doing. We know your playbook. That's what that thing does if your kids use it."
Batavia plays a pair of Tri-Cities rivals the next two weeks at opposite ends of the won-loss spectrum. First comes 0-4 St. Charles East for Homecoming, then the 94th meeting against Geneva in a series that dates back to 1913. The Vikings are 4-0 and winners of seven straight conference championships.
The Bulldogs have put themselves in position to compete for this year's Upstate Eight River title, and it all started with the work before the season began.
"This group of kids paid the price in the off-season," Piron said. "Nobody outworked us. I can promise you that.
"I can thank the community for the facilities they built. The fitness center we have to use, the field house and all these things. Our off-season program and strength training we have been able to do here is phenomenal. Coach (Lori) Trippi running the PE program, the kids love her, has us lifting during the season. We are strong, we are fit, we are athletic and we have a very smart football team. And they love each other. It's a lot of fun to coach."