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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Bolingbrook senior defensive back Tevin Teamer understood the consequences if the Raiders’ defense failed at any point in the fourth quarter.
One score meant a state championship for Loyola and runner-up trophy for Bolingbrook.
“We knew it was going to be on us, and we had to make a stop,” Teamer said. “The game was put on us. If we didn’t make a stop, we lose.”
Teamer and company didn’t disappoint.
The Raiders stopped Loyola on four possessions in the fourth quarter, and Bolingbrook held on for a 21-17 win in the Class 8A state championship to give the program its first state title.
“We just step up and makes plays,” Bolingbrook defensive back Diaron Rhodes said. “We’re the best defense in the state. [This championship is] like a dream come true. It’s all I’ve dreamed about since I was little.”
|For the first time in school history, Bolingbrook is a state champion.|
Bolingbrook’s defense came through in the fourth quarter, but it was also dominant throughout the second half. With the game tied 14-14 at halftime, the Raiders allowed Loyola just three first downs and three points in the second half.
Part of Loyola’s struggles were due to the weather. High winds and pouring rain diminished Loyola’s passing attack.
Despite the obstacles of Mother Nature, Loyola (13-1) acknowledged it hadn’t seen a defense like Bolingbrook all season despite playing in the defensive-minded Catholic League.
“The weather conditions weren’t optimal for our team,” Loyola coach John Holecek said. “You have to credit Bolingbrook. They’re extremely talented and physical.”
Loyola quarter Malcolm Weaver had experienced better days than Saturday. He finished 10-of-31 passing for 99 yards and an interception. He also rushed for 31 yards and a touchdown.
“They’re the fastest team in the state,” Weaver said.
As it had all season, Bolingbrook not only relied on its defense, but also the running ability of junior quarterback Aaron Bailey. Bailey rushed for a game-high 149 yards and two touchdowns. He also was 8-of-13 passing for 140 yards and two touchdown.
“They ran on us,” Holecek said. “Not many offenses I thought could run on us.”
With Loyola leading 17-14 in the fourth quarter, Bailey provided the needed offensive heroics for the win. He broke open a run for a 33-yard touchdown to put the Raiders ahead with 5:01 left in the game.
“It’s a total blessing to get the first championship for Bolingbrook High School in football, and I thank God for it,” Bailey said. “I’m just excited right now. I’m enjoying the moment. I don’t know if it’s hit me yet.”
Will Cushwa kicked a 40-yard field goal to give Loyola a lead in the third quarter. Reed Michalek also scored on a 25-yard run for the Ramblers in the first quarter.
Loyola’s Luke Ford had a game-high 12 tackles. Bolingbrook’s Andre Allen had two sacks.