Rood awakening: Batavia breezes in opener

Alex Rood (2) rushed for 107 yards and one touchdown. The senior quarterback also completed two of three passes including a 38-yard strike to Jesse Reinhart for another six points. (Photo: PAUL GOTHAM)

By PAUL GOTHAM

WAYNE, N.Y. — The names have changed; the style of play hasn’t.

Make no mistake. The Batavia football team rushes the ball to win football games, but the Blue Devils can score through the air when needed.

Three players combined to rush for 377 yards as Batavia opened its 2019 season with a 42-12 win over the Wayne Eagles.

“The game is won and lost in the trenches,” Batavia head coach Brennan Briggs said. “We will always believe that. Our guys did a good job getting it done tonight.”

Terrez Smith led the way with 10 rushes for 121 yards. The Alexander transfer went 40 yards on a fourth and four play to give Batavia the lead on its opening drive.

 


One possession later, senior quarterback Alex Rood scored on a keeper from the two-yard line, and the Blue Devils had all the points they needed with a 14-0 advantage.

Batavia converted on its first five possessions with senior running back Cody Burns scoring from 61 yards out on the first play from scrimmage of the second half.

“Everybody knows that we’re going to run the football,” Briggs added. “We’ve got three guys there that are all probably starting tailbacks somewhere.”

Batavia, though, has the ability to strike the air. Rood didn’t throw a pass until late in the second quarter. After warming up his arm with a swing pass to Alex Hale, he went up top on a fourth down play and connected with Jesse Reinhart for 38 yards and a touchdown.

“We’re a run-first team, but I want opponents on film to see that we’re not afraid to throw the ball because we can,” Briggs noted. “We’re not going to hang our hat on it, but when we need to do it, we’ll do it. I thought it was a good situation. I liked a little bit of a matchup and the leverage that the defensive guy had on ours. I figured I was going to call it at some point and I just thought that was a good time.”

 


“I was telling myself if I have the opportunity, I’m going to capitalize and make it happen,” Rood said. “Coach called a great play. All game long our line gave protection. They couldn’t have done a better job than they did right there.”

A running back last season, Rood made a seamless transition to under center. He rushed the ball 11 times for 107 yards and connected on two of three passes including the touchdown.

“Alex did a tremendous job,” Briggs added. “We’ve talked quite a bit about what his role. His role is to manage the team, manage the offense and do what he needs to do in the air to keep them honest.”

Wayne’s Mason Blankenberg finished 15 of 24 through the air for 191 yards and two touchdowns. The sophomore quarterback connected with Richie Cassano on 22-yard touchdown in the final seconds of the first half. He hit Brian Sills on a 38-yard strike late in the third quarter.

 

 

“I’m very pleased with him as a sophomore,” Wayne head coach Dave Marean said. “It’s his first year starting. I thought he was poised. He had a lot of pressure in his face. He responded. I’m excited about the future with him.”

Jonah Pullen recorded 13 solo tackles including two for a loss to lead the Wayne defense.

“We return nine guys on defense, and we shouldn’t have played the way we played,” Marean noted. “I think what happened is some of the guys tried to do their own thing instead of trusting the system. When it comes to a team like that (Batavia), it’s not a five-yard gain, that’s a touchdown.”

Josh Barber led the Batavia defense with nine tackles. Rood added seven tackles including two for a loss and two for a sack. Smith had five tackles with two sacks and two for losses. Burns recorded a sack.

 

 

“It was a great job overall by the team,” Rood commented. “I couldn’t have done it without our (offensive) line, the receivers, the running backs.

“Coach said tradition doesn’t graduate. No matter who we got out there, the Batavia Blue Devil way of playing they’re animals out there.”

Batavia hosts Livonia next Friday as the Blue Devils will christen Vandetta Stadium, the school district’s new turf field.

Wayne hosts Palmyra-Macedon on Friday. Both games have a 7 PM kickoff scheduled.

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