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The thing one has to like about this Batavia squad is that they have been through adversity and come through it with flying colors. Last season the Bulldogs saw their young, spirited, first-year head coach Caleb Corrill step down after just two games due to illness. The rattled squad would go on to lose two of its next three affairs under newly appointed head coach Matt Lester (who was the Bulldogs offensive coordinator).
Sitting at 2-3 on the year Batavia rallied behind Lester and won its final five games. The Bulldogs come into 2015 beaming with confidence.
This team will have a different kind of obstacle to hurdle and it will be on the field. “Replacing KeShawn Foley will be tough. He is arguably the best player ever to play at Batavia. This means we will be starting a new quarterback. We had some staff turnover this past season, it is important we solidify this in order to create continuity for the players,” Lester states.
With a core group of battle-tested and experienced warriors in place there should be no problem finding ways to replace Foley’s productivity. “We have a number of kids that have started 10-20 games and played a great deal last year. We have two of our top three players coming back on offense and our leading tackler. We expect to have a very strong defense, led by a number of returning starters. Offensively we will also have a number of returning starters,” Lester quips about his Bulldogs.
Division IV, Region 14
2014 RECORD: 7-3, 4-0
COACH: Matt Lester (6-2 @ Batavia, second year, 6-2 overall)
Shawn Adams, Sr, WR/DL – Adams reeled in 24 reception for 365 yards and 11 touchdowns as a junior. On defense he was in on 31 tackles and had three sacks. He garnered First Team All-SBAAC National and Honorable Mention All-Southwest District honors for his efforts. Adams is getting looks from NAIA & DII-III schools as a tight end.
Seth Steele, Sr, WR/LB – All Steele did in his first year of playing football was register 105 tackles, force four fumbles and recover three fumble recoveries on his way to First Team All-SBAAC National accolades.
Austin Gray, Jr, OL/DL – The 6-foot-5, 300 pound Gray heads into his third year as a starter. He recorded 45 tackles and had three sacks in ‘14. Gray was named Second Team All-SBAAC National as a sophomore. “He really turned a corner in the middle of the season and became a great player,” Lester said. Gray is getting interest from Division I schools.
Dylann Wagner, Sr, RB/WR/DB – A leader by example Wagner is one of the hardest workers on the team and “one the most coachable kids I've ever seen” Lester states .The versatile Wagner ran for 588 yards caught 23 passes for 152 yards while finding the endzone five times. He set the school record with 304 yards rushing versus Fayetteville-Perry. On defense Wagner recorded 49 tackles, recovered three fumbles and had three interceptions. He was named Second Team All-SBAAC National for his work.
Joe Sickles, Sr, WR/DB/K/P - 41 tackles, 1 interception, 1 touchdown receiving. Quiet, hard worker. Great ball skills and length, had a great year last year as a defensive back, punter and kicker, Second Team All-SBAAC National, 2 year starter
Shaun Howe, Sr, QB/WR/DB – An intelligent, hard-working athlete Howe has played every skill position on the field for Batavia. He recorded 40 tackles, forced two fumbles and had five takeaways (four fumble recoveries, one interception) as a junior. 1
Trey Raper, Sr, OL/DL – Raper has stepped and become a leader this off-season. Add in his strength and speed and the package is there for an All-League caliber performance.
Ian Stamper, Sr, OL/LB – Injuries limited Stamper as a junior seeing action in just four tilts but still registered 23 total tackles and 1.5 sacks. “Ian made a very unselfish decision to move to offensive line to help the team,” Lester proudly states.
Tyler Woods, Sr, FB/DL – One offense Woods is fast enough to to be a downfield blocker and he is one of the best in the league at the craft. As a defensive lineman he was in on 47 tackles with a sack as a junior.
Stephen Trainor, Jr, OL/LB – Trainor started five games last year. Coach Lester calls him, “very solid, a throwback type of player who is a quiet, hard worker and the strongest Bulldog in the weight room.”
Kylun Swanson, So, OL/DL –The 6-foot-3, 260 pound Swanson started one game as a freshman. A great off-season will benefit the youngster on the field in ’15.
(three appearances, 1-3) - 2012, 2003, 1999
The schedule has the same cast of foes as it did in 14 with non-conference games versus East Clinton and Mariemont as well as SBAAC American crossover affairs against New Richmond, Amelia and Norwood. The ball is in their court to pick up some quality Level 1 Harbin points this season
DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS
Batavia finished ’14 by winning its final five games. Four of those victories were in league play as they swept their SBAAC National rivals to win the divisional title. During the Bulldogs current streak the defense has allowed just 13.8 points per game with no foe having scored more than 20 in a contest.
Greg is a co-founder of TSF and is now entering his ninth season as a Featured Analyst for the website. The Xavier University grad also serves as the Content Manager for the website and is widely considered one of the top high school football experts in the region. If you are interested in covering your team, please CONTACT US.