DOWNERS GROVE, Ill. -- With only three returning starters from last season’s team, few outside the Bolingbrook lockerroom gave the Raiders much of a chance in Friday night’s season opener. They faced a veteran Downers Grove South team, on the road, and had an unproven sophomore signal-caller making his first varsity start.
Quarterback Aaron Bailey believed in his team and the Raiders (1-0) delivered a 28-21 upset at No. 14 Downers Grove South.
“A lot of people doubted us and we wanted to come out here and show that we won’t be pushed around and that we can win week in and week out,” said Bailey.
Bailey, who played on varsity last season as a wide receiver, was a difference-maker all night, finishing with 244 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns. The one-man highlight reel opened the second half with an 81-yard touchdown run and bookended the quarter with a 42-yard scramble that led to the winning score.
The Mustangs offense was lethargic all evening, and graduated quarterback Chandler Whitmer, now at the University of Illinois, was sorely missed. Junior A.J. Simoncelli replaced Whitmer but completed just four passes for 32 yards. Running back Josh Williams ran for over 100 yards with a touchdown and receiver Ryan Oruche scored two touchdowns, including a 90-yard kickoff return.
Perhaps the scary part for the rest of Class 8A is that Bailey showed lots of room for improvement. Still, the 6-foot-2, 200-pound sophomore is ready for more.
“Come Monday, we’re back to business and Week 2,” Bailey said after the game.
Player of the game: Bolingbrook quarterback Aaron Bailey - 174 rushing yards, TD; 60 pass yards, TD
Stat of the game: 1 - The Raiders commited one turnover, an interception on a tipped ball, and their defense forced three.
It was over when: Senior defensive back Diandre Rhodes intercepted Simoncelli late in the fourth quarter.
Quote of the night: “We got a shoot-out!” - Aaron Bailey when asked what was going through his mind after Downers South responded to his 81-yard touchdown run with a 90-yard kickoff return