GLEN ELLYN – As John Ivlow told his Bolingbrook team after a 28-7 loss Saturday to Glenbard West, the opening game wasn’t nearly as bad as the final score might indicate.
Indeed, the young Raiders – who brought back one returning starter on offense – were able to get their feet wet against one of the top teams in state and should no doubt improve as the weeks go by.
“We played a good team,” Ivlow said about the game that started an hour late because of weather. “We came up here and gave it our best shot. We are going to get better as the year goes on, and we are healthy. That’s all you can ask for at this point.
“Are we happy offensively? No, but we will get better. We never use youth as an excuse.”
Bolingbrook’s defense, led by Ohio State recruit Tuf Borland, made life difficult for standout Hilltoppers running back Sam Brodner. The Raiders limited the senior to 57 yards on 24 carries, although he scored a pair of touchdowns on short runs, one of which made the score 14-0 late in the first quarter.
“That’s what our coaches talked about all week, shutting down Sam,” Borland said, “and we did a pretty good job. But it’s the little things that were the difference between the score right there.
“This was kind of a great judge of where we are at, facing a team like that. We’ve got a lot of improving to do, and we will do that and be ready for Week 2.”
The visitors got on the board with 1:11 left in the opening half on a 1-yard touchdown run by Lucas Warren. Bolingbrook capitalized on a bad snap off a Glenbard West attempted punt and took over at the Hilltoppers’ 10-yard line.
But the home team answered right back on the ensuing kickoff as Isaiah Skinner took the ball up the middle for an 80-yard score, increasing the margin to 21-7 at intermission.
A 1-yard Brodner touchdown run with 4:48 remaining in the third quarter was the only scoring of the second half.
“You can’t take anything away from them,” Borland said. “Glenbard West is a great football team.”
Kendall Smith caught six passes for 52 yards to lead the Raiders, who employed Joseph Coates and Michael Freeze at quarterback. Tyron Taylor notched an interception in the fourth quarter.
Bolingbrook was hurt by seven penalties and four turnovers.
Warren finished with 17 rushing yards on four attempts, while Dangelo Colon and Jaylen Griffin each ran for 16 yards.
Bolingbrook will play its home opener against Romeoville at 7 p.m. Friday.