BOLINGBROOK – New faces abound as the new football season begins at Bolingbrook.
Julian and Jared Huff (Minnesota), Micah Dew-Treadway (Notre Dame) Armani McNulty (Ball State) and 15 other 2014 Raiders starters graduated after compiling an 8-4 record. Coach John Ivlow welcomes back only three starters.
Senior linebacker Tuf Borland, one of the top high school linebackers in the country, will lead the way. The 6-foot-2, 225-pound Borland, who will play for Urban Meyer at Ohio State, started a year ago, as did 220-pound defensive end TJ Lee and 250-pound center John Tyler Ivlow.
“We are very young but have a real fine group this year,” coach Ivlow said. “We will start a number of juniors from our sophomore championship team. We will find out how far we have come when we open at Glenbard West. It’s a great program at West, which I understand is loaded again this year.”
“We lost a number of guys from last year’s team, but I’m really excited about our team,” Borland said. “The sophomore team has been amazing as juniors and has really stepped up. I believe this will be the fastest defense we have had at Bolingbrook since I have been here. I’m looking forward to leading our team and help us all work hard to get better each day.”
Up front on the offensive line, sophomore Collin Wilson, juniors Matt Zulfer and Isaiah Sanchez and 300-pound senior Elliott English will join John Tyler Ivlow.
“Our offense will be a junior-led group,” Ivlow said. “I have been working with the group very hard in the offseason and in practice. We’re really coming along, and I’m confident that we will be successful.”
Junior quarterback Joe Coates looks to call signals for the Raiders, although senior Mike Freeze remains in the mix. Coates hooked up with now-junior Kendall Smith on a 47-yard touchdown pass on the final play to stun Homewood-Flossmoor in October and seize the SWSC Blue sophomore championship.
Smith and senior Eddie Sanchez are quality receivers. Jaylen Griffin, along with juniors D’Angelo Colon and Jeremiah LeBron, are the main running backs.
Former Morris coach Dan Darlington moves to the defensive side of the ball as coordinator for Ivlow. After last year’s tenure as offensive coordinator, the Morris legend is looking forward to the task.
“I’m really looking forward to taking over the defense,” Darlington said. “I have a number of young kids who are all great kids. They will do anything for you. I couldn’t be happier. As offensive coordinator, you are a more of a technician, where as a defensive coordinator, you can run wild, and I enjoy that style of coaching.”
Outside of Borland and Lee, the rest of the Raiders’ defense will be comprised largely of juniors. Izayah Green-May and Marmion transfer junior Lucas Warren will step in at linebacker with Borland. Dalen Winston, sophomore DeShaun Mallory and senior Demetrius Cristano will play in the line. Senior David Garner and junior Josiah Purchase are leaders in the secondary.
“The juniors have been amazing, and I’m very confident we will have an outstanding defense,” Lee said. “Speed. That’s what we base our defense on here at Bolingbrook. The kids really can move. This is the third year I have been here, and as Tuf said, this will be the quickest defense we have had.”
Homewood-Flossmoor, which returns a number of starters from its state-runner up team, is the overwhelming favorite to repeat as SWSC Blue champion. Lincoln-Way East and improved Lockport will challenge the Vikings. But don’t be surprised if the young guns from Bolingbrook are in the SWSC Blue race in late October.
“H-F is loaded, and Lincoln-Way East is always tough,” Ivlow said. “Lockport should be much improved. Although we will be very inexperienced, I expect us to compete for a SWSC Blue title.”
“I want nothing less than a Class 8A state championship, “ Borland said. “I also want to help our young team be the best we can be and – for me, personally – to be the best player I can be.”
“I do not want to lose in 2015,” Lee added. “An undefeated state championship season, and personally, I would like to lead the state in quarterback sacks.”
“One game at a time. We want to beat Glenbard West on the 28th,” John Tyler Ivlow said. “A conference championship and then a state championship. Personally, I would like to have a great season and get a scholarship somewhere and continue to play football in college.”
RAIDERS AT A GLANCE
2014 record: 8-4, 5-2 in Southwest Suburban Blue
Coach: John Ivlow
Offensive coordinator: Ivlow
Defensive coordinator: Dan Darlington
Returning offensive starter: John Tyler Ivlow
Returning defenisve starter: Tuf Borland, TJ Lewis
August: 29 – at Glenbard West, 1:30 p.m.
September: 4 – Romeoville, 7 p.m.; 11 – at Sandburg, 7 p.m; 18 – Joliet West, 7 p.m.; 25 – Lincoln-Way East, 7 p.m.
October: 2 – at Stagg, 7 p.m.; 9 – Joliet Central, 7 p.m.; 16 – Lockport, 7 p.m.; 23 – at Homeowood-Flossmoor, 7 p.m.