It’s not the debut Plainfield South coach Ken Bublitz was hoping for, but there wasn’t much the Cougars could do to stop Bolingbrook quarterback Aaron Bailey. The junior quarterback tossed three touchdown passes, ran for another and even caught a pass, as Bolingbrook defeated Plainfield South 40-16 in Friday night’s season opener in Joliet.
Bailey threw all three of his touchdown passes in the first half on three straight pass attempts. He threw for touchdowns of 30, 40 and 45 yards and finished the game with 181 yards in the air. Junior wide receiver Xavier Perkins was on the end of two of the strikes (30 and 45 yards). The 45-yard touchdown reception put the Raiders up 27-3 going into the locker room.
“Aaron did well in all aspects of the game,” Bolingbrook coach John Ivlow said. “He has the hardest job of all because he has to read that option.”
Plainfield South got off to a good start, forcing a fumble on Bolingbrook’s opening possession. Linebacker Sean Dermody’s fumble recovery set up the Cougars’ first scoring drive. South quarterback Austin Howarth connected with wide receiver Ed Presniakovas on a 51-yard reception, which gave the Cougars first-and-goal. Unfortunately, for the Cougars, they couldn’t punch the ball in the end zone and had to settle for a Matthew Imburgia 24-yard field goal. The 3-0 lead would be the only one of the game for South.
After the South field goal, Bolingbrook drove down field and took a 7-3 lead on Jaden Huff’s 29-yard touchdown scamper. Then came Bailey’s three consecutive touchdown passes, and before South knew it, they were down 27-3.
“We played a good football team,” Plainfield South coach Ken Bublitz said. “We were very aware that Bolingbrook had a fine team that was physical, fast and had good players.”
A lot of those good players were on defense for Bolingbrook. The Raiders’ defense harassed South’s Howarth into a 14-for-36 passing night. Howarth did finish the game on a positive note, finding sophomore Joshua Harris on a 52-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter. Harris had a solid game, hauling in four receptions for 78 yards and the touchdown. Junior Michael Krawiec scored on a 5-yard touchdown run for Cougars’ final score of the game. Howarth finished with 181 yards passing.
“You have to make plays to keep yourself energized,” coach Bublitz said. “We moved the ball well, but we didn’t make plays when we needed to early in the game.”
The Cougars could not get their running game going on Friday night. Junior Johnathan Kosirog was South’s most productive back, rushing for 34 yards on seven carries.
Running the ball was not an issue for Bolingbrook. The Raiders’ running game was just too much for South. Bailey finished with 84 yards rushing on 15 carries. He also scored from five yards out in the third quarter. Junior running back Omar Stover ran for 113 yards on 14 rushing attempts. Huff finished with 62 yards rushing and D.J. Pruitt had nine carries for 70 yards. Even the backup quarterback got into the act as Jimmy Vespo scored from 34 yards out on an option keeper in the fourth quarter.
Note: Plainfield South defeated Bolingbrook 33-20 in the sophomore game.