Introduction

East Batavia and West Batavia high schools united in athletics in 1909, but did not play Geneva Community High School in football (except in a practice game) until 1913. 2017 marked the 104th anniversary—but the 105th year—of the rivalry.

      Batavia and Geneva did not meet every year—in fact, they did not play in 1914–1915, 1918, 1934–1936 (when Batavia dropped football for three years), and 1996 (when the schools were in different divisions of the Suburban Prairie Conference)—and the teams met twice in 2006 (both games won by Batavia), so Game 99 in the series took place in 2017.

      The high schools fielded teams prior to 1913—Batavia as early as 1894, when there were two high schools in two different school districts. Geneva reportedly played a game against East Batavia High School in 1903, and East Batavia regularly met West Batavia on the gridiron.

      The latter rivalry probably would have grown in significance—not unlike the annual East Aurora and West Aurora game, which dates to 1893, the second oldest, but logest-running series in Illinois3 —had the two Batavia districts not merged in 1911.

      Except for an unprecedented 19-year win-streak by Geneva (1967–1985) under legendary Coach Jerry Auchstetter, the series has been remarkably even. Batavia has won 43 games, lost 51, and tied 5. (The Illinois High School Association implemented tie-breaker rules in 1975, so ties are now a thing of the past.)

      As noted in the 1924 Gecohi (Geneva’s yearbook), the rivalry is the “Biggest game of the season,” and strange things happen now and again. The 1960 game, won by Geneva, 13–12, had “probably the most bizarre TD in the history of the Little 7.” The 1981 game was won by Geneva, 6–0, on a “wild interception-fumble-touchdown play” in the fourth quarter. The 1958 game, a 6–6 tie, “featured … a total of 12 fumbles.”

      A total of 10 games were won by 3 points or fewer. The lowest score (other than two scoreless ties) was 2–0, won by Geneva in 1950. The most lopsided score was 64–0, won by Batavia in 1916. The most combined points in a game (80) occurred in 2011, won by Batavia, 46–34.

      These facts and others are found in The Record Book and the Supplementary Material, the latter of which runs the gamut from statistical highlights (such as “most lopsided scores”) to playing fields, and from athletic conferences to school traditions (school colors and nicknames).

      Finally, for those readers who want to read further, a list of “Sources Consulted” appears at the end of this document.

 


[3]The oldest rivalry (1889) is between Englewood and Hyde Park (Pruter, "The Greatest High School Football Rivalry in Illinois").The longest-running series in Illinois is between East Aurora and West Aurora (Solarz, Aurora's East–West Football Rivalry). See also: Schmidt, "A Century-Plus of Gridiron Thrills."