Feelin’ hot, hot, hot.
While everyone else in Lake Zurich’s stadium struggled to keep feeling in fingers and toes, Batavia’s Tyler Jansey seemed to warm up to the task Saturday despite the 20-degree temperatures and a howling wind.
Fellow senior Jack Sadowsky, an Iowa State recruit and Jansey’s running mate at inside linebacker in the Bulldogs’ vaunted 3-4 defense, had an interesting theory about that.
“I think playing both ways on offense and defense, especially in this game, probably helped him stay warm,” Sadowsky said. “I was freezing on the sideline, playing only one way.”
Maybe Sadowsky was on to something.
Jansey ran for 176 yards on 19 carries, including a 71-yard touchdown run on the first play of the second half, in leading the Bulldogs to a 24-7 win in the Class 7A state semifinals.
Batavia (10-3) will play Mount Carmel (13-0) — a 20-9 winner over St. Rita — at 4 p.m. Saturday in the championship game at the University of Illinois’ Memorial Stadium in Champaign.
It gives Jansey, a Wisconsin commit, a chance to match the accomplishment of his older brother, Michael, and the 2017 team for the Bulldogs that won a state title.
“Awards are nice, but at the end of the day, what you want most is a state championship with your high school team,” Jansey said. “Those are your brothers, the guys you grew up with, and that’s an experience most people don’t get.”
Jansey proved to be key in creating that opportunity with the big run and his usual important plays on defense.
“He just runs people over,” Sadowsky said of Jansey’s TD. “That’s who he is.”
It came on a simple dive play up the middle after the Bulldogs had been pounding the right side of their offensive line.
“I was just running behind my fullback, saw daylight, made a cut and went,” Jansey said. “My linemen, my fullback were absolutely crushing people.
“The push they had was especially unbelievable.”
Sixteen carries and 151 yards for Jansey came in the second half when Sadowsky and the rest of the Bulldogs were cooling their jets on defense.
They limited the Bears (11-2) to three possessions that were three-and-outs, all followed by punts.
“Seriously, playing both ways when it’s 90 degrees is terrible,” Jansey said. “When it’s cold, I look at it as a good thing because I’m staying warm.”
Batavia’s defense gave up an 82-yard TD pass play midway through the first quarter for the first score of the game.
From that point on, the Bears’ offense had a net total of 20 yards.
Charlie Whelpley took a snap in Wildcat formation and forced a 7-7 tie with a 2-yard TD run. Alec Crum then kicked a 32-yard field goal with 1:06 left in the first half to give Batavia the lead for good.
“We felt we could run the ball,” Batavia coach Dennis Piron said. “Our offensive line really came off the ball well. They pushed ‘em around a little bit.”
The Bulldogs ended up with 461 yards on the ground, including 81 from Boe.
“Boe can run,” Piron said. “He’s fast and he’s tough.
“These conditions have been crazy the last few weeks. Hopefully on Saturday, it’s 40-50 degrees with no wind and we can have some fun.”
Sadowsky knows Batavia can rely on Jansey, no matter the conditions.
“I think he thrives on pressure,” Sadowsky said.
And that’s not all.
“It’s crazy, but the job’s not finished,” Sadowsky said. “We’ve gotta dominate there. We’re not just there in Champaign to show up. We’re there to actually win.”