QB’s exploits carry Raiders over Eagles
Getting lost in the woods is a somewhat common occurrence for characters in fables and fairy tales.
The scene shifted to a football field Friday night, but the storyline remained the same: Woods caused Sandburg to lose its way, too.
Quincy Woods wasn’t the only one responsible for sending the Eagles in a wayward direction, but the Bolingbrook quarterback certainly played a starring role in Sandburg’s eventual misfortune. By rushing for 177 yards on 20 carries and tallying three touchdowns, Woods inflicted the most pain on the Eagles at Seliga Field.
Sandburg’s defense did a credible job of preventing the Raiders from running the score up much higher, but its offense was unable to follow suit with an equally productive performance. Already without starting quarterback Sean Leland, the Eagles lost backup signal-caller Julian Gutierrez (shoulder) and first-string tailback Brian Langowski (possible concussion) during their encounter with SouthWest Suburban Conference-Blue leading Bolingbrook and simply didn’t have enough firepower to seriously challenge the Raiders.
Instead, Sandburg got tagged with a 35-6 loss. While the setback didn’t shut them out of the Class 8A tournament, it did relegate the Eagles (5-4, 4-3) to a first-round date at Homewood-Flossmoor this Friday.
The Vikings beat Sandburg 48-10 on Oct. 4. Meeting up with a conference opponent for a second time in the same season isn’t unusual for the Eagles, who’ve traveled a similar postseason road in recent years.
“It really is amazing when you think about it,” Sandburg coach Dave Wierzal said of his club’s frequent rematches. “It does take away from the magic of the playoffs, [when you hope to be] playing somebody different, but this is a game where we don’t feel too bad about our rematch.
“We didn’t feel we represented ourselves very well the last time. The kids played hard this year, and we’re going to go at it with the idea that we’re getting a second chance.”
The Eagles weren’t without their chances to make Bolingbrook uncomfortable. Sandburg’s offense was able to gain some yardage before Langowski exited, and it also flexed a bit of defensive muscle.
The Raiders did score twice in the opening half, but they could have shoved the hosts into a much deeper hole. Bolingbrook missed a field goal and committed turnovers in Eagles territory on two other occasions.
The visitors’ six-pointers came on Woods’ 12-yard run and a 38-yard Dan Greer-to-Parrker Westphal aerial collaboration.
“I know everybody talks about their defense, but their offense is pretty special, too,” Wierzal said of the Raiders. “Woods is a very special athlete and I think they run the offense very patiently. They run the option and don’t pass a lot; when they do throw, they do it effectively.
“Playing for field position was kind of what we were hoping for, and we did move the ball pretty good [early on]. We started thinking maybe we can play defense with them. The [halftime] score was 14-0, but they had only one good drive.”
That was the 80-yard, nine-play journey that was culminated by Woods’ TD sprint. Westphal’s touchdown followed his punt return to Sandburg’s 45.
Bolingbrook misfired on another field-goal try in the third quarter after Louis Paleothodoros’ third-down sack knocked the Raiders 10 yards backwards. But Woods then administered a critical blow when he raced 19 yards for a score right after the Eagles coughed up the football.
“We can’t do that,” Wierzal said, referring to the miscue. “It’s scary how quick it happened. They’re very good, no question about it.”
Sandburg repelled Bolingbrook once more after it ventured to the Eagles’ 21 as linebacker Graham Hevel made a fourth-down stop. Hevel, who recovered the Raiders’ first-half fumble, ended the evening with 11 solo tackles and four assisted ones.
Paleothodoros (seven solos, forced fumble), Dan Trentacoste (six solos, two assists, interception), Mike Howard (five solos, one assist), Mike Saylors (four solos, two assists), Matt Taylor (four solos, two assists), Alante Walker (four solos, one assist) and Shawn McHale (four solos) were other notable defensive figures for Sandburg.
Following Hevel’s series-ending tackle, the Eagles went in the other direction and finally broke through on Zac Zavon’s 30-yard touchdown throw to Rasheed Carney.
“We were still in it with them,” Wierzal said. “At 7:50 to go, we still felt like we had a chance [to win].”
That sensation subsided after a long pass completion set the Raiders up for their fourth TD, which Mike Valentine supplied on a 3-yard run. Bolingbrook then recovered its own wind-blown kickoff and tacked on one more score as Woods took off on a 32-yard dash.
The Raiders outgained Sandburg 322-60 overall. The Eagles’ meager output — Wierzal called it the lowest he could remember — translated into only four first downs for the hosts.
Bolingbrook 6 8 7 14 - 35
Sandburg 0 0 0 6 - 6
First downs 15 4
Yds. rushing 221 14
Yds. passing 101 46
Total yds. 322 60
Att./comp. 9-6 16-4
Fumbles/lost 3-1 3-2
Had intercepted 1 1
Penalties/yds. 5-40 2-10
Punts/avg. 4-22.3 10-31.2
BB — Quincy Woods, 12-yd. run (kick failed)
BB — Parrker Westphal, 38-yd. pass from Dan Greer (Jaden Huff, pass from Greer)
BB — Woods, 19-yd. run (Alan Klein kick)
CS — Rasheed Carney, 30-yd. pass from Zac Zavon (kick failed)
BB — Mike Valentine, 3-yd. run (Klein kick)
BB — Woods, 32-yd. run (Klein kick)
Sandburg Rushing: Langowski 10-23, Robley 5-4, Trentacoste 1-2, Gutierrez 8-(-15). Passing: Zavon 2-1-30, Gutierrez 14-3-26. Receiving: Carney 1-30, Johnson 1-13, Valiga 1-8, Robley 1-5.