Prep football: Bivens powers Alter in 35-0 shutout of Badin

Marshall Flaig (5) is among the Badin defenders eyeing Alter running back John Bivens (3) during Friday night’s game at Hamilton’s Virgil Schwarm Stadium. RICK CASSANO/STAFF
Marshall Flaig (5) is among the Badin defenders eyeing Alter running back John Bivens (3) during Friday night’s game at Hamilton’s Virgil Schwarm Stadium. RICK CASSANO/STAFF

Friday was Milestone Night for two rushing standouts in the Greater Catholic League Coed Division … and another big ‘W’ for Alter High School’s football team.

John Bivens roared to 260 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries, while Connor Bazelak’s only two completions went for TDs to Luke Ewald, as the visiting Knights handled Badin 35-0 at Hamilton’s Virgil Schwarm Stadium.

It was the 20th straight win for Alter in the series. The Rams’ last victory came in 1999.

“It’s an unbelievable streak,” Knights coach Ed Domsitz said. “If you keep playing, you know it’s going to be broken someday. We don’t even talk about it during the week. God knows it doesn’t help us. The only way it might motivate us is if we don’t want to be the ones to let the streak break while we’re here. But it serves as a lot more motivation for that team in green.

“I thought both teams played very physical football. There were a lot of bodies flying around. Badin lined up and hit us in the mouth, and I liked the way our kids responded.”

Badin opened the game with a drive of nearly eight minutes, but came away with nothing after Ethan Krug’s 41-yard field-goal attempt was off the mark.

The Knights wore the hosts down, forged a 367-146 edge in yardage and got a TD run from Peter Riazzi, but also had a pair of touchdowns negated by penalties.

“I feel like we can beat anybody when we’re playing our best,” said Bivens, a 6-foot, 204-pound junior who was nursing a sore ankle as he headed toward the bus. “Badin came hard. That’s GCL football for you.”

Bivens blew past the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the season after starting the night at 850, while Badin senior Lavassa Martin also reached the 1,000 plateau. He ran 16 times for 105 yards and now has 1,042 yards in 2017.


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“The L-Train’s got to keep rolling,” said Martin, only the sixth player in BHS history to run for 1,000 yards in a season. “I was aware of what I had to get … I wasn’t aware of what I got. I’m just happy that I got to cement my place in Badin history. I love this place. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”

The Rams were in a 14-0 contest late in the third period.

Bivens broke off a 57-yard touchdown run with 1:27 left in the third to make it 21-0. Alter added two touchdowns in an eight-second span in the fourth quarter when Jack DiMario returned a punt 61 yards for a score and Bazelak hit Ewald for a 26-yard tally after Badin fumbled the kickoff.

“It shows up 35-0, but certainly I felt it was closer than the final score indicated,” Domsitz said. “I think there were a couple occasions where Badin was just one tackle away from being in the end zone.

“I knew that Badin’s offense was pretty potent. This was one of the more formidable offenses that Badin’s had in the last few years, so I’m not surprised they moved the ball. I’m a little surprised we shut them out. But our defense is tough. We had some big defensive plays.”

The Knights are 7-1 overall and 5-0 in the GCLC North Division. The Rams are 5-3, 3-2 GCLC Central.

“We were trying to get first downs and keep the clock moving, and I felt like we did a pretty good job of that for three quarters,” Badin coach Nick Yordy said. “They probably didn’t have a whole lot of guys going both ways, and we do. That’s just the situation we’re in. We’re up for that. We’re prepared for it. Our kids played hard and they’re always going to play hard, and I commend them for that.”

Bivens ripped off chunks of yardage throughout the evening. He piled up 262 yards against Fenwick in Week 5.

“That sounds good,” Bivens said when told about his Friday stats. “The O-line is opening up the holes. I’ve got to give all the credit to my teammates for blocking for me and helping me out.”

“John’s something special to watch,” Domsitz said. “He’s physical, and he’s got some speed.”

The 5-10, 185-pound Martin averaged nearly seven yards per carry and went over 1,000 with a 28-yard burst early in the third stanza. The Senior Night contest was his last home game as a Ram.

“It’s bitter and sweet. That’s how it feels,” Martin said. “I’ve been thinking about it the whole game. Football’s more than just going out there and suiting up and hitting a bunch of dudes. It’s life lessons and things you’re going to remember and making memories with lifelong friends.

Badin’s Lavassa Martin (6) is brought down the Alter defense during Friday night’s game at Hamilton’s Virgil Schwarm Stadium. RICK CASSANO/STAFF
Badin’s Lavassa Martin (6) is brought down the Alter defense during Friday night’s game at Hamilton’s Virgil Schwarm Stadium. RICK CASSANO/STAFF

“You don’t come into a game like this thinking about records. You come in thinking about what you have vs. what they have. It’s yours and theirs. Tonight they had the upper hand on us, but it’s not going to deter us and our outlook upon our season. I still think we’re in a good shape.”

“Lavassa played well, but he wasn’t the only one,” Yordy said. “Those seniors all played their butts off tonight, and I’m thankful for that. They’re all pretty special.”

Badin’s Bryan Henson and Alter’s Andrew Hornick had fumble recoveries. The Rams were 3 of 8 for 12 yards through the air between Jordan Flaig (3 of 6) and Zach Switzer (0 of 2).

Bazelak didn’t throw a lot either. He was 2 of 4 for 59 yards.

“I know my quarterback would like to throw the ball more, and there are games where he will throw it more,” Domsitz said. “But to me, what’s more important than the number you throw is the productivity of the passing game. He had a nice pass on the one touchdown that was called back. If you creep up a little bit, we can hurt you with the pass.”

Both teams will resume GCLC play next Friday, Badin at Chaminade Julienne and Alter against McNicholas at Fairmont.

Ram rushing leaders: Here is a list of 1,000-yard rushing seasons at Badin:

1,364 yards, Tony Farquis (1980); 1,171 yards, Cody Boxrucker (2014); 1,080 yards, Tony Farquis (1979); 1,068 yards, Cody Boxrucker (2015); 1,042 yards, Lavassa Martin (2017); 1,039 yards, Colin Finnigan (2011); 1,011 yards, Matt Chaney (1990); 1,006 yards, Scott Surface (1977)

Alter 0-14-7-14—35

Badin 0-0-0-0—0

A: Peter Riazzi 1 run (Jack Ruffolo kick)

A: Luke Ewald 33 pass from Connor Bazelak (Ruffolo kick)

A: John Bivens 57 run (Ruffolo kick)

A: Jack DiMario 61 punt return (Ruffolo kick)

A: Ewald 26 pass from Bazelak (Ruffolo kick)