With a defense like this, who needs an offense?
No. 6 Bolingbrook forced five Lincoln-Way East turnovers and returned an interception for a touchdown to help make up for a nightmarish evening from its normally potent offense in a 12-3 victory Friday night. The win also gave the Raiders their first Southwest Suburban Blue Conference title since 2009.
No. 11 Lincoln-Way East put on a show early, holding Bolingbrook to zero first-half yards.
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Lincoln-Way East High School, 201 Colorado Avenue, Frankfort, IL 60423, USA
Bolingbrook High School, 365 Raider Way, Bolingbrook, IL 60440, USA
Lincoln-Way East (6-2, 4-2) held a 3-0 lead for most of three quarters but found itself consistently backed up deep in its own territory. Punting from their own 4 to start the fourth, the Griffins watched as Bolingbrook's Parrker Westphal returned the short kick 15 yards to East's 22. Three plays later, Jaden Huff (20 carries, 83 yards) bowled in from the 7 to give the Raiders (8-0, 6-0) their first lead.
Bolingbrook's defense took it from there, picking off Griffins quarterback Jordan Wirtz on the next two possessions, with sophomore linebacker Tuf Borland grabbing an errant screen pass and taking it to the end zone for a 16-yard score.
"This defense is like a family and we had to rise to the challenge," Borland said. "I know I made that play, but I wouldn't have been able to do it without my teammates. I was just the guy making the play."
The Griffins put together their only scoring drive on their second possession, moving 57 yards in 10 plays before stalling at Bolingbrook's 17. Anthony Sciarini booted a 39-yard field goal as time expired in the first quarter. The Griffins were hampered by the early loss of running back Brian Casey, who left after one carry with an undisclosed injury. Still, Alex Kraft managed 90 yards on 24 carries.
"We could have done a lot, but no finger-pointing here," Lincoln-Way East coach Rob Zvonar said. "It was a team effort; we win as a team and we lose as a team. We're not very good at this losing thing.
"We played good defense, they played great defense and deserved to win it. When you don't finish games when you have a lead in the fourth, this is what happens."
Player of the game: Tuf Borland, Bolingbrook, INT return for TD.
Key performers: Bolingbrook — Jaden Huff, 20 carries, 83 yards. Lincoln-Way East — Alex Kraft, 24 carries, 90 yards; Luke Epich, 3 tackles for loss.