For the second time in this year's playoffs, Bolingbrook wins without having a single passing yard.
The Raiders (11-1) beat Downers Grove South 47-19 as junior quarterback Aaron Bailey pounded the Mustangs defense for 214 rushing yards and five touchdowns.
Bolingbrook now advances to the state semifinals for the first time since 2001 and will face Naperville Central (9-3).
Bolingbrook defeated Neuqua Valley without a completed pass in the first round of the IHSA 8A playoffs, where the Raiders rushed for 433 yards. This week, the Raiders upped the ante.
“We were kind of messing up on the first series, but once we got focused and figured out what we’re doing, we were able to make some big holes,” said Bailey, whose team rushed for 494 yards. “I thank God and my offensive line for their help.”
The Mustangs (10-2) came out firing on the game’s first play. Senior quarterback A.J. Simoncelli did a flea-flicker to senior running back Josh Williams, who threw a 31-yard completion to junior wide receiver Kaylon Miller. The play set up a 32-yard field goal from Downers South senior kicker Anthony Farinella to give the Mustangs an early lead.
“They’re a good football team,” Downers Grove South head coach John Belskis said. “We didn’t play as well as we needed to tonight. We didn’t stop their offense. We had a couple opportunities to score in the first half and we didn’t do it.”
Bailey had runs of 30- and 29-yards the following drive wound up scoring on a 1-yard run to give Bolingbrook a 7-3 edge.
To start the second quarter, Downers South went three-and-out. Bailey and senior running back D.J. Pruitt had 18- and 17-yard runs, respectively, with Bailey running it in from 8-yards out for a 13-3 advantage.
Later in the quarter, Bolingbrook would score on a 95-yard drive to take a 21-3 halftime lead.
Downers Grove South senior running back Josh Williams, who averages more than 200 yards rushing per game, was held to just 32 yards in the first three quarters.
“You need to have a team to win a game, both offense and defense,” Bolingbrook head coach John Ivlow said. “We’re really quick on our linemen, linebackers and safeties. We can’t match Josh Williams with his speed, but we could get him going side to side, we’ll take those angels.”
Bolingbrook’s defense dominated in the third quarter by forcing three straight three-and-outs, three sacks and three turnovers.
Bailey rushed for two more scores and junior running back Omar Stover had a 26- and 10-yard touchdown run to blow the game open 47-3.
After the Raiders put the second stringers in, the Mustangs scored two touchdowns—a 40-yard pass to Miller and a 21-yard run by Williams.
“I told my offense ‘Let’s go out in style,'” said Simoncelli, who was 7-of-16 for 111 yards. “We wanted to prove something. We didn’t want to just have three points on the board because we know we are a better offense than that. We wanted to end on a good note.”
Belskis said he was proud of his team.
“Our kids fought and it was a great year,” Belskis said. “They are a great group of kids and it’s one of my favorite teams coaching. It was a pleasure coaching them.”
For the Raiders, they will face a Naperville Central team that defeated Minooka, Belleville East and Homewood-Flossmoor.
“Central is an excellent team and is a well coached group like these guys are,” Ivlow said.