By Mark Gregory
Last season, Bolingbrook missed making the IHSA playoffs for the first time since 1991 – so getting back this season was all but a must for the Raiders.
That goal was accomplished with a 42-21 win over Lockport last week in a game that was no where near as close as the score sounds.
“This win means so much to us,” said senior defensive tackle lineman Dashaun Mallory. “Last year ruined the streak and this year was a new era and we just wanted to get back.”
The Raiders left little doubt if they would become playoff eligible after putting up 35 points in the first quarter.
Last week, running back Quentin Pringle ran for 421 yards and this week it was all on the arm of quarterback Anthony Vespo, who tossed four TD passes in the opening frame as Bolingbrook came out in empty backfield sets from the gun, catching Lockport off guard.
“They have some special athletes. We didn’t expect them to really come out in empty in every play,” Lockport coach Dan Starkey said. “It turned into a seven-on-seven and they really have some special athletes that beat us out on the perimeter and got behind us. We practiced some against it, but we were a little outmanned in space.”
Vespo finished 11-of-14 passing for 315 yards to go with his four TD tosses.
“We did a good job game planning,” Vespo said. “This was 90 percent coaches. Last week, we came out and ran the ball for 421 yards and we knew they would stack the box and we just came out and threw it. We pride ourselves on our speed. There are not a lot of teams that can match us with speed.
“I love how diverse we are on offense. It is pretty awesome. It is fun to be around these guys every day in practice. We have quite a (few) D-I athletes on this squad.”
While the offense scored fast, the Bolingbrook defense held the Porters at bay – not allowing a point by the first unit.
“Our game plan for this year is dominate and we just want to be the best defense we can,” Mallory said. “Our foot is always on the pedal. We know is they are scoring , we want to go out and get a turnover or a three and out.”