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Sports

Football: Jack Meyers ready to step in at quarterback for Batavia

Bulldogs' senior replacing record-setting Riley Cooper behind center for defending 7A champs

Batavia's Jack Meyers looks to throw the ball during the first day of football practice at Batavia High School in 2017.
Batavia's Jack Meyers looks to throw the ball during the first day of football practice at Batavia High School in 2017.

BATAVIA – A year ago, Jack Meyers and Riley Cooper were locked in a competition for Batavia's starting quarterback spot.

Bulldogs' fans know how the story played out.

Cooper won the job, and piloted a Class 7A state championship offense.

Cooper, who will attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison and will not play football next month, left his mark in the state history books.

He set Class 7A state title game records for most passing yards (295), passes completed (28) and passing attempts (42) while throwing for three touchdowns and two interceptions in the overtime victory over Lake Zurich.

Replacing a state champion quarterback is a tough act to follow, but Meyers, a senior, appears more than ready.

"[Meyers] was the guy last year that we thought if he would've stepped in to [the starting spot], he would've taken charge for the season," Batavia offensive coordinator Sean Anderson said. "[Cooper] figured it out, and did a heck of a job, but Jack was right there with him."

"We feel very comfortable and happy with [Meyers'] performance and everything he's doing right now," Anderson said.

Meyers, who threw only 10 passes last season in limited duty, had an up-close perspective of learning how to handle a high-profile starting position.

"[Cooper] was very intelligent with quarterback reads," Meyers said. "[And at] looking at defenses and being able to pick them apart, so I learned a lot from him from that area of football. He was a pretty good leader when it came to gametime, so it's easy to learn some things from him when he's as good as he was."

"One thing [that] grew on him was his maturity level, his leadership level grew," Cooper said of Meyers last season. "As he got more confident in the offense and the system and what we were doing...his overall ability grew because of that."

While there are similarities between their games, Meyers could be a faster, more athletic version of Cooper.

"Hopefully, he's got the same kind of savvy and everything that [Cooper] did in the pocket," Anderson said of Meyers. "I think we'll be able to do a little bit more with getting him on the edge...he'll be a threat, if he doesn't see anything open, then just being able to take the ball and go."

"He's really taken the spot that he's at, has taken it seriously, and he's working his tail off," Anderson said.

Batavia lost 144 catches, over 2,000 receiving yards and 28 touchdowns in combined production from the graduations of tight end Collin Richter and receivers Jared Martin, Tom Stuttle and Eric Peterson.

In the backfield, gone are Reggie Phillips, Jeremiah Evers and Elijah Green. Combined, the trio provided 277 rushing attempts for 1,315 yards. Martin, who played both running back and in the slot, added a creative speed element to the mix.

Batavia, however, is not hurting for size on the outside or up the seams.

Six-foot-4 wideout Zack Weber (five catches, 58 yards last season) and 6-foot-5 tight end Drew Iutzwig take care of the size needs that were left behind by Richter and Peterson, while Ethan Neibch replaces that speed void Martin left in the slot.

"We have a very nice quick game," Meyers said. "We've got a lot of speed on our team. We can run the ball outside...we have a little bit to improve in our longer passing game, but that's just going to come with the summer."

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