Usually a team that throws for zero yards is on the losing side of the final score, but most teams don't have a quarterback with wheels like Bolingbrook's Aaron Bailey.
The junior signalcaller ran for 300 yards and 4 touchdowns yet attempted only two passes as Bolingbrook pulled away in the second half en route to a 33-14 opening-round Class 8A victory over Neuqua Valley on Friday night in Bolingbrook.
"If it's not broken, don't fix it," Bailey said. "The pass wasn't there, but the run was, so that's what we kept doing and it was working."
The Raiders jumped all over the Wildcats early as Bailey ripped off touchdown runs of 71 and 80 yards to give Bolingbrook (9-1) a 20-0 lead in the second quarter.
Neuqua battled back valiantly behind its defense, which forced three fumbles on the evening, and then took the momentum at the end of the second quarter with an improbable 30-yard Hail Mary to Shane Langton to bring the Wildcats within 6 points heading into the half.
"That was like a video game how they got that throw at the end of the first half," Bailey said. "It would've been nice to have instant replay, but it was a great catch. I just told the guys at halftime to keep your heads up. This is a game and we are going to have trials and tribulations, we just needed to calm down and take care of the ball."
The Bolingbrook defense then took over and shutout the Neuqua attack in the second half, as the Raiders' defense had five sacks on the evening.
"They just caught us off guard with some of their delayed blitzes and we needed to hit the shorter routes quicker, but we got ourselves into deep third-down positions and it was those little things that killed us," Neuqua quarterback Nate Boudreau said.
"We expected great things in the second half, but we didn't get it done," Neuqua coach Bryan Wells said. "They are a difficult team to run against, so give them a lot of credit. We caught some breaks with the turnovers, we just couldn't capitalize."
"That Bolingbrook defense is really fast, and they have some big guys on the line and their safeties come up real hard so it's tough on the run game," Neuqua running back Joey Rhattigan said.
Despite the ebbs and flows of the game, everything came back to Bailey and the Raiders' rushing attack, as Bolingbrook ran for 437 yards while passing for zero yards. Bolingbrook running back Jaden Huff also chipped in with 132 yards and a touchdown to help preserve the victory.
"It's tough to stop Bailey because he's a great 1-on-1 player and he's been doing that all year, so it's a tough offense to contain," Wells said.
In the end Neuqua played an overall solid game, just couldn't quite contain the Bolingbrook rushing attack.
"We just couldn't put things together," Boudreau said. "Our defense gave us momentum with the turnovers, we just couldn't feed off that momentum. Our defense played a heck of a game and our offense gave us our their best effort, but we couldn't put them together."