BOLINGBROOK – On a night where two defenses turned in great performances, one football squad took advantage of five turnovers while the other got only one.
That pretty much explains the difference in Lincoln-Way East’s 28-0 SouthWest Suburban Conference Blue Division victory at Bolingbrook on Friday.
The Griffins (4-1, 3-0) intercepted three passes and recovered two fumbles to hold the Raiders (2-3, 1-2) scoreless for the first time since 1998, a span of 193 games.
“You certainly don’t expect to do that,” Griffins coach Rob Zvonar said. “It’s just a credit to the defense for going out there and playing one play at a time. I thought that each unit complemented each other and picked each other when we faltered a little bit.
“When you play a team like [John Ivlow’s], you’re going to face some adversity since they’re a great program that’s well-coached with great players. My hat’s off to all of them, and especially Tuf Borland, who’s a special kid and we wish him all the best in Columbus (at Ohio State). Bolingbrook will make a run at the end of the year with leadership like his.”
Bolingbrook received a 25-tackle performance from Borland. The Raiders held East to 131 yards on 45 carries and only 43 passing yards.
East, which recorded its third shutout during its four-game win streak, limited Bolingbrook to 55 rushing yards on 22 attempts and allowed 90 additional yards through the air.
Leading the defensive effort for the Griffins were Pat Carr, who returned an interception 55 yards for a score and also recovered a fumble, and Brian Burns, who had two interceptions.
“That interception was quite the experience,” Carr said of his third-quarter pick that made it 21-0. “The credit goes to coach Z. He told me all week that’s where it’s going to go. I think the word of the week was ‘preparation’. From Monday, our scout team gave us a great look.
“Right now, we’re playing as a team, and that’s all that we can ask for. Everyone’s accepting their role and that’s huge. We tell ourselves, ‘We play 11 as one, get your assignment and everyone just fly to the football. It’s counting down now, especially for the seniors.’ ”
Burns also nearly had a pick-six, but his 65-yard interception return in the second quarter was cut to 32 yards because of an illegal block. His third quarter pickoff that moved the ball to the Raider 12 came shortly after Carr’s pick and led to East’s second score in a 1:22-span.
“I have to give credit to our scout ‘O’ since they’ve been preparing us all week and all year,” Burns said. “We had a bump in the road the first week off the season but it might have been the best thing that could happen to us. Our defense wants to play football.
“We want to be on the field as much as we can. We get happy when we get to be back on the field. We’re just an excited group of guys. There’s no selfish players and everyone just wants everyone to do good. We’re taking it week to week and it’s very exciting so far.”
Early in the game, East quarterback Brandon Bauer (15 carries, 70 yards) scored on a 6-yard run and in the second period, he tossed a 24-yard touchdown pass to Brody Bolsoni. After Burns’ second interception, Bauer ran in from 4-yards out to cap the scoring.
“We didn’t do any favors for our defense by giving those guys a short field,” Raiders coach Ivlow said. “I thought our defense played very well. When you look at it, they didn’t put together any drives. If we don’t turn the ball over, we’re in the game and can win the game.
“Tuf’s a monster and that’s why he’s going to Ohio State. There’s no secrets. Anybody whose kid wants to go to Ohio State better look at that film and take a look at that kid and what he brings to the table, because not many kids in the nation do that.”