Fox All-Area Football Team Captain: Ryan Boe, Batavia
Perhaps there will be a run on the No. 21 in the not-so-distant future for Batavia High School quarterbacks.
You can thank Ryan Boe for that.
Boe, a 3-year varsity starting quarterback for the Bulldogs, turned the unconventional signalcaller's number into a hot commodity after leading them to the Class 7A state championship game as a junior, a 9-0 regular-season record as a sophomore, and Class 7A state semifinal appearance this past season.
After throwing 32 touchdown passes his first two seasons, Boe doubled those numbers during his superb senior campaign, as he completed 188 of 287 pass attempts (65%) for 2,977 yards with 33 touchdowns and just 3 interceptions.
For his efforts, Boe has been selected as the Captain of the Daily Herald's 2023 Fox All-Area Football Team.
Wearing 21 has been commonplace for Boe since he began playing flag football as a second grader.
"It was my Dad's number when he played baseball in high school and at Elmhurst College," said Boe. "I wore the number throughout BYS (Batavia Youth Sports) and it kind of always stuck. I wore it my freshman year and nobody ever asked me to change my number."
When you put up the kind of statistical numbers that Boe did the past three seasons, the last thing any coach would do is change what works.
"I thought it (Boe wearing number 21) was cool as heck," said Batavia coach Dennis Piron.
Boe began his senior season on a positive note, completing 20 of 34 passes for 304 yards and 3 touchdowns while adding a rushing touchdown in the Bulldogs' 42-20 victory over Phillips.
With his team trailing Class 8A powerhouse Lincoln-Way East 14-7 late in the fourth quarter, Boe displayed the clutch gene when he engineered a 13-play drive, capped by his 1-yard touchdown keeper with 8 seconds remaining to make it 14-13.
"He showed that he has ice water in his veins," said Piron. "That late touchdown drive gave us a chance to win."
Boe, who finished 15 of 20 for 155 passing yards with another 91 yards rushing and a pair of touchdowns, was stopped just short of the goal line on his game-winning, 2-point conversion run try.
From there, Boe continued to elevate his game, throwing for 253 yards and 3 touchdowns in Batavia's 47-21 Week 3 victory over Lake Park.
He added a pair of rushing scores and a passing touchdown in the Bulldogs' 45-21 victory over St. Charles North, then had 2 more rushing touchdowns (109 yards on the ground) in the team's 21-18 win over Geneva - the Bulldogs' 13th consecutive triumph over their rival.
During the regular-season finale, Boe completed 13 of 18 for a season-high 360 yards and a career-best 6 touchdowns in the Bulldogs' 41-7 victory over Glenbard North.
Following back-to-back, 3-touchdown performances in Batavia's playoff victories over Brother Rice and Lincoln-Way Central, Boe put on a show in the quarterfinals, passing for 303 yards and 5 TDs during the Bulldogs' 55-14 rout of Rockton Hononegah.
Despite his team's 64-26 semifinal loss to eventual 7A state champion Mt. Carmel, Boe passed for 309 yards and 4 touchdowns.
"After that game, it didn't feel like I did anything - it felt like a bad game," said Boe. "It shows how dominant they were. They had studs all over the field."
"He played a good game," said Piron. "I think we only punted twice. There were some play calls we'd like to have back because there were two other times we had the ball in the red zone but didn't score. We should have scored 40 points - that shows the type of player he was for us."
Boe scored 5 rushing touchdowns apiece during his sophomore and junior seasons.
This year, the 6-foot-3, 205-pounder doubled those numbers, finishing with 10 rushing touchdowns and 491 yards.
"As a sophomore, I was not as big but as I put on more weight, I could take more hits," said Boe.
"There were times during his sophomore year where I wondered whether he was going to get up after taking a hit," said Piron. "But he was sturdy and tough. It got to the point where he enjoyed physical contact. He was the one administering the punishment on tacklers."
Piron heaped praise on his quarterback.
"Ryan checks all the boxes," said the coach. "He is special. He is such a good leader. He is a good student. He is a great teammate. He is a happy kid - very calm and content. He is a great guy to have around.
"He is strong and powerful and can make all the throws. He is a multisport kid who also plays baseball. He was the focal point of everything we did offensively. He worked so extremely hard to become the best player he could be."
That included what Piron called "a great partnership" between Boe and Batavia offensive coordinator Sean Anderson.
"The two of them built something special," said the coach.
"During this past offseason, I worked on my timing and footwork with Coach Anderson," said Boe. "It helped elevate my game. It was a big boost - how well my coaches coached me. Coach Piron is a fun guy to be around - he gives off a positive vibe.
"I also couldn't have done it without my teammates. Our offensive line was great, and we had athletes all over the field."
Four different receivers - Luke Alwin, Isaiah Brown, CJ Valente, and Charlie Whelpley - topped the 500-yard mark.
Next season, Boe will head to North Dakota State.
"A lot of their coaches remind me of the coaches here at Batavia," said Boe. "I met every single coach when I was there for a visit."
Boe enjoyed every minute of his high school football experience.
"Playing at Batavia is special because of all the support we receive," he said. "It's crazy how fast the time has gone."
"He will be missed - that's for sure," said Piron. "I'm hoping he'll be around to help our younger guys next summer."
Then there's that number - 21.
"I'm sure there will be plenty of kids wanting to wear '21' now," said the coach. "We may have to reserve it."