Bolingbrook Wins 40-16 As Plainfield South's Bublitz Era Begins With A Loud Thud

Bolingbrook Wins 40-16 As Plainfield South's Bublitz Era Begins With A Loud Thud

Bolingbrook struggled last season and needed a season-ending victory over Lincoln-Way Central to get into the State Playoffs. Although they won that match-up, it didn't take long  before Mount Carmel sent them home after a First Round IHSA Playoff loss. That, no doubt, was a very bitter pill to swallow and I am sure that they were more than eager to show the area sports writers that they are primed for a run at a State Championship in 2011-2012.

Now, I am not sure if the Bolingbrook Raiders (1-0, 0-0) will win a state championship or not this season, but, after witnessing their 40-16 mauling of the Plainfield South Cougars (0-1, 0-0), well, they definitely don't lack the  offensive and defensive talent to make a heck of a go of it.

As for Plainfield South, even after going 9-2 last season, they may just be in for a very long season. I have to be honest, prior to last night's game I felt confident that the Cougars had the talent necessary to compete - in spite of the fact that they lost a good portion of their core team to graduation. After all, this is still a team that has kids who come from a very successful sophomore program over the past two seasons.

And believe me, these Cougars do know how to win!

Don't get me wrong either - Bolingbrook has one darn good football team and I would never take nothing away from this squad. With four standout players like Jr. QB Aaron Bailey, Sr. RB DJ Pruitt, Sr. DL/OL Robert Bain and Sr. LB Antonio Morrison it is easy to overlook how deep this team is.  Never-the-less, the Plainfield South Cougars have some great talent of their own too and I would never have thought that there was a 24 point difference between these two squads prior to the game. But- stuff happens right? Unfortunately for the Cougars - it pretty much went the Raiders way all night long.

I have to admit, though, that I am more than a little bit perplexed as I sit here replaying last night's game in my mind. Plainfield South is a team that began playing a spread option offense last season with much success. Quite frankly, though, I am still looking for a glimmer of that long after this game has been played. However, the spread option is what I would still consider to be the Cougars strength given the athletic talent they have to execute it. This in spite of the fact that the formation looked impotent last night. Give the Raiders credit though - their defense read it and executed their game plan brilliantly.

Of course it didn't help matters much either that the Cougar Coaching staff maybe under estimated the Raider defensive schemes and failed to make the proper adjustments. Let's face it, 5 Offensive Lineman are going to have a problem when they are constantly blitzed by 6 rushing defenders and one of them is 6'3" 296 pound Robert Bain.  Bain was clearing out everything in sight like a tsunami. But, even when the Cougars were lucky enough to get a nice pass over that defensive line, the Raider Linebackers were making the outstanding open-field tackles to limit the yardage.

So instead of seeing something similar to last season's successful offensive juggernaut, the Cougars looked a lot more like the New Orleans Saints of old and their beat up QB Archie Manning. Cougars QB Austin Howarth just couldn't get on track and was hurried all night. And that was just something that I hadn't envisioned when I wrote my preview post earlier in the week. Don't forget, I watch this team practice, so I see the work that these kids put in every day. Although I expected Bolingbrook to win - I never expected such a thorough dismantling . That has to be the number one shocker for me.

But hey, I am not a football coach and I certainly do not know with certainty what their exact game plan or adjustments are. I am just an observer and write what I see, you know? But I have to tell you that it seemed as though Bolingbrook was just more than just a little comfortable defending whatever the Cougar offense was trying to throw at them. I am also dismayed over the ineffectiveness of the Cougar Offensive Line but they were pressured relentlessly too. They will, however, have to keep up the intensity they are capable of and defend their QB, Austin Howarth if they expect to be successful. In my opinion, the Cougars were over-powered by Bolingbrook.

The Raider defense not only dominated the game but they pretty much forced the issue all night long with their 6 man defensive line. Naturally we can't forget that QB Aaron Bailey lit up the Cougar secondary as he burned them three times with long passes before finally throwing one for a long pick.

As for a bright spot - the best offensive drive for the Cougars occurred late in the game when both squads substituted their starters. But I have to tell you - they looked much better than the first team did in their execution of the plays. They were not only able get the blocks and traps as designed - but they scored quickly and impressively. Unfortunately, that TD came with a little over 2 minutes remaining and after a failed Plainfield South on-side kick - all Bolingbrook had to do was run out the clock for the victory.

As I reflect on the first game of the Ken Bublitz Era: All I can say is that it was a doggone shame that this game didn't measure up as I expected. The ability is there and I am sure that there isn't a young man among them who doesn't feel down after a performance like that. I am sure that they will pull together and be a solid team. I know most of these kids well and they don't lack the talent or the desire needed to pull it all together this week in practice. They will focus on getting a win over Joliet West next week.

I am not exactly sure as to what direction Coach Bublitz will go yet with his overall game plan, but I do know that he and his coaching staff will get a handle on what they want to accomplish. Fans must trust them as they are the only ones who know what is best for the team and what their perceptions are as to the talent level they think they have this season. I do think that last season's formula is still a very viable option for the Cougars if the earlier sophomore game is any indication. They defeated Bolingbrook 33-20 with stellar performances by Cougars QB Kody Voda and RB Mike Valentine.

For this observer, though, I am not sure if this Cougar team will reach the same level of success as last year's squad. This season didn't just begin with a little thump - this was kind of one loud T-H-U-D! If they are to compete this year there will have to be some re-adjustments made. The Southwest Prairie Conference is tougher this season!


Other SPC season opener scores:

Hinsdale South  22  Romeoville  20
Marian Central  47  Oswego  41
Metea Valley  38  Plainfield East  26
Morris  27  Minooka  21
Oswego East  27  Rich South  12
Plainfield Central  41  Amundsen (Chicago)  15
Plainfield North  36  Bradley-Bourbonnais 20


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  • Dont take the loss so hard. South showed some good things, they just ran into a tough Raider team looking to get back to the extremely high level Raider football expects after a rough season last year. South is a young school building their tradition and this week 1 loss doesnt set that back at all, I'd still say winning the conference is a legit possibility as South played the toughest competition in conference by far, followed by Minooka.

    Good luck the rest of the way and if you do lose again, make sure its only to Joliet West as we get the playoff point regardless of the outcome.

  • In reply to Bones:

    Thanks for the comments Bones, appreciate it. I'll tell you - I was impressed with Coach Ivlow and his staff. I was fortunate enough to work the chain gang and man the intensity on that sideline was tremendous! There is definitely a winning attitude that is exuded at Bolingbrook. Even as things were in control - they remained focused on mistakes made by Raider players and were quick to correct and teach the players immediately. Raider football is one of the best in the area and I wish them success this year as last year must have been a disappointment given the expectations. Lincoln-Way East looks like a formidable foe as they are lucky enough to not have lost many players to graduation, just like BHS and that has to be a big plus as they prepare the underclassmen for next season.

    I suppose my disappointment wasn't in losing as it was a failure to adapt to that defensive line. I do believe the coaches under-estimated the speed of the outside backs. As you know the spread can be effective against such defenses but you must force those DB's from getting inside. When you run into a scheme like the Raiders put forth - well there have to be certain adjustments made and it didn't happen, at least not effectively. But you are right - this was probably the best team South will face outside of the conference (and most within).

    Oswego looks super tough even though they lost 41-47 - but hey 88 points? WOW! Ryan West will probably be the SPC MVP this season and their O and D lines are good. I think better than Minooka's, although we can't overlook them or Plainfield North. The SPC has some really good teams this year and South must be able to adapt if they expect to compete for the conference. Even Plainfield Central will be improved because they were forced to play a large amount of underclassmen last season due to injuries and these kids got valuable playing time because of it. Naturally beating Chicago Amundsen (one of my alma matas) wasn't much of a surprise or unexpected. but the score was impressive none the less.

    By the way - if we lose to Joliet West - then we are in trouble. JW is also more athletic this year so we better respect them! Hopefully we will capitalize on the playoff points Bolingbrook can provide us.

    Yes One loss doesn't make or break a season (except for maybe today's match up between WWS and Glenbard) but there is a tone that is set for the season. I expected a loss to the Brook - but not the final outcome or our offense being too predictable. We just can't expect to go to certain guys every play - we need to mix it up better because we have a bigger arsenal. Unfortunately it didn't look that way to an observer.

    Thanks and Good Luck.

  • Yes, Oswego's offense was probably one of the best I saw all summer during 7 on 7's and that QB is going to be a steal for whoever gets him. But Oswego seems to need to make some defensive changes before they start winning games. North did also win that Notre Dame 7 on 7 so it looks like last season where there will be some extremely formidable offenses in the SPC, I'm just not sure about the defenses. Offenses? Forget about it, whoever has the best D in conference probably takes it.

    I wouldnt want to lose to Joliet West either, but they should be competitive and able to steal a game if teams let them hang around

    One thing I realized driving out there is that Plainfield may be the biggest town EVER. The fact that I have to drive for 10 mins on the expressway get off and drive another 20 mins out into the country just to get to a school in a town that is literally right next to where I live proves it. Looks like there's plenty room for growth so I expect big things from South and East in the future.

  • In reply to Bones:

    Last Point First - Gosh You Are Right. I guess we are just so used to it that Plainfield is huge - but their is an explanation; i.e. for instance South has many students who have a Plainfield Address but actually live in Corporate Joliet. So I guess the Southside is actually the Far West Side. LOL. But yeah Plainfield's four schools have some deep talent but that too can be a problem as that talent gets dispersed among 4 schools.Plainfield Central, though is probably the only TRUE Plainfield School. East, North and South has jagged borders, unincorporated areas, etc.. But hey - you gotta call the schools something right?

    Yes, Yes, Yes "D" is king! Unfortunately the SPC has never really been known for that since Morris left. All the schools have adopted a spread type offense and as such defenses tend to be on the field longer and scores are higher. The nature of the beast I suppose. I kind of like a hybrid spread / I offense. Get a two TD lead and run the clock - natch that is easier said than done since coaches like to get those running clocks.

    Joliet West will definitely be competitive this season and I agree with you. Your conference makes teams better! There will probably be 5 State Qualifiers coming out of the Southwest Blue. Amazing - and I do follow the Conference by the way.

    The way I see the SPC stacking up though is: Oswego and Minooka will battle for 1st/2nd - Plainfield North and South for 3rd/4th - Oswego East and Plainfield Central could make a run for everything from 3rd to 6th - Romeoville I am just not sure of at this point as a 2 pt loss to Jacobs doesn't tell me much. Plainfield East could be a surprise and battle for anything up to 4th. Another week or two and we'll see how things shake out. But Minooka and Oswego could go 0-2 and that opens doors all the way down the line.

    Hey keep in touch and let me know any inside stuff going on in your conference. p.s. Good Luck vs Belleville East next week - long trip!

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