Preps Talk

Bailey-less Bolingbrook tops Sandburg

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Bailey-less Bolingbrook tops Sandburg

By Mike Clark
SeasonPass.com

Bolingbrook didn't need Aaron Bailey on Friday night, though it didn't look that way for a while.

The Raiders lost fumbles on two of their first three plays from scrimmage and managed just six points in the first two quarters.

But then they came out and blitzed host Sandburg with a 32-point second half, coasting to a 39-7 victory in the first round of the Class 8A playoffs.

Bolingbrook (8-2) continues the defense of its Class 8A title next week against Neuqua Valley, which beat Naperville North Friday night.

Quincy Woods, who has been subbing for Bailey since the Illinois-bound quarterback was hurt in a Week 6 loss to Lincoln-Way East, survived a rough start to run for 104 yards and three touchdowns.

He was helped by a defense that held Sandburg (7-3) scoreless after its first possession and scored two touchdowns of its own.

"When you have a good defense with what they did today, it was easy," Woods said. "The offense just had to execute and we executed in the second half."

Woods' first start in relief of Bailey came in the Raiders' first meeting with Sandburg this season, an overtime loss.

His improvement has helped make the Raiders stay afloat while they wait to get healthy. Besides Bailey (knee), running back Omar Stover (ankle) also sat out Friday.

"He keeps getting better, which is what you need right now," Bolingbrook coach John Ivlow said of Woods.

As for Bailey and Stover, Ivlow said the latter is more likely to return next week. "Aaron hasn't done anything in four weeks," Ivlow said. "Until he gets in shape, I guess you'd say, I wouldn't expect to see him."

Sandburg took a 7-0 lead on Miles Taylor's 21-yard run with 8:40 left in the first quarter. But couldn't capitalize on Bolingbrook's two first-quarter turnovers, going three-and-out and then getting a field goal blocked.

Bolingbrook, meanwhile, was getting its offensive act together.

"They had a good scheme, what they were doing with their ends on our quarterback, so we had to change some stuff up on the offensive line," Ivlow said.

Woods scored on a one-yard sneak after hitting Chandler Piekarski with a 47-yard pass, pulling the Raiders within 7-6 at the half.

Emile Wisdom returned a Sandburg fumble 25 yards for a touchdown with 8:40 left in the third quarter, giving Bolingbrook its first lead at 12-7.

"The offense wasn't scoring, we had to make sure we picked it up," Wisdom said.

Jaden Huff (10 carries, 84 yards) scored on a four-yard run to make it 20-7 with 5:36 left in the third and Woods had a three-yard touchdown run at the 11:04 mark of the fourth.

Greg Amos returned an interception 55 yards and Woods dashed 54 yards for the Raiders' last two touchdowns.

What happened after halftime for Sandburg? "We started missing keys, playing sloppy," Taylor said.

"This is our game," Ivlow said. "Three and four yards a crack, get them to wear down, suck them in and then hit the perimeter."

High School Lites Week 9 football roundup

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High School Lites Week 9 football roundup

High School Lites featured plenty of great action on Friday night as NBC Sports Chicago had highlights of many of the area's top matchups. Some playoff dreams came to fruition while others crashed and burned. 

Watch tomorrow as the IHSA playoff brackets are revealed tomorrow on NBC Sports Chicago+ at 8 p.m. Be sure to also follow us on Twitter @NBCSPreps for all of the latest IHSA football scores and highlights. 

DRIVE: Prairie Ridge: Episode 10

Wintrust Athlete of the Week: Back of the Yards QB Jeremiah Harris

St. Xavier Team of the Week: De La Salle Meteors

Friday's Top 25 Games

No. 1 Lincoln-Way East 18, No. 19 Bolingbrook 14 

No. 2 Prairie Ridge 55, Dundee-Crown 14

No. 3 Maine South 56, Niles West 9

No. 4 Marist 42, Joliet Catholic 14

No. 5 Lake Zurich , Mundelein

No. 6 Phillips 53, Clark 0

No. 9 Homewood-Flossmoor 50, Sandburg 14

No. 10 Barrington 40, Conant 19

No. 11 Huntley 45, McHenry 7

No. 12 Naperville Central 35, Lake Park 21

No. 13 Hinsdale Central 42, Hinsdale South 14

No. 24 St. Charles North 35, No. 14 Batavia 28

No. 16 Wheaton North 20, Waubonsie Valley 10

No. 17 Crete-Monee 52, Cahokia 8

No. 18 St. Rita 47, Marmion 14

No. 20 Lyons 31, Oak Park-River Forest 14

No. 21 Nazareth 48, Marian Catholic 7

No. 22 Oswego 30, Plainfield Central 0

Mount Carmel 35, No. 23 Providence 34

Other Highlights

Tinley Park 29, Evergreen Park 0

T.F. South 21, Oak Forest 14

Glenbard North 24, Neuqua Valley 14

St. Edward 29, Wheaton Academy 28

Marian Central Catholic 44, St. Patrick 21

Saturday's Top 25 Games

No. 7 Loyola vs. Brother Rice

No. 8 Glenbard West vs. Proviso West

Cubs will be open for business as Theo Epstein weighs trading hitters for pitching

Cubs will be open for business as Theo Epstein weighs trading hitters for pitching

Theo Epstein answered questions from the Chicago media for more than an hour on Friday afternoon at Wrigley Field, but the most interesting part might have been what the Cubs president didn’t say, something along the lines of: These are our guys.

Or at least Epstein didn’t give the same full-throated endorsement of The Core that he delivered after engineering the Jose Quintana trade with the White Sox this summer, getting an All-Star pitcher without giving up anyone from the big-league roster.

Whether it’s the way the Los Angeles Dodgers dominated the Cubs throughout the National League Championship Series that ended Thursday night, the inconsistencies and frustrations during a 43-45 first half of this season or the reality of losing 40 percent of the rotation, you walked out of that stadium club press conference thinking big changes could be coming.

“We’re going to pursue all avenues to get better,” Epstein said.

The Cubs already understood this would be a challenging time to dramatically reshape their pitching staff, with Cy Young Award winner Jake Arrieta, Big Boy John Lackey and All-Star closer Wade Davis about to become free agents.

The Cubs don’t really have many (any?) high-end, headliner prospects left to trade after borrowing heavily from their farm system to acquire Aroldis Chapman for last year’s World Series run and get Quintana to help solidify the rotation through 2020.

All of Major League Baseball is looking beyond this winter and preparing for the monster free-agent class that will hit the open market after the 2018 season.

Meaning it’s time for the Cubs to make some difficult decisions about all these young hitters they’ve collected.

“It may or may not be,” Epstein said. “Those choices, they’re not unilateral things. You can’t sit there and decide: ‘Hey, this guy, we’re moving him.’ Because you don’t know what the return might be. You don’t know how the different moving parts might fit together.

“I think going into the offseason prepared to make some tough choices and execute on them — and keeping an open mind to anything — is appropriate under the circumstances where we have some obvious deficits and we have some real surplus with talented players who are really desirable.”

Let’s assume All-Star first baseman Anthony Rizzo, MVP third baseman Kris Bryant and catcher Willson Contreras are essentially untouchable.

The Cubs used the ninth overall pick in the 2015 draft on Ian Happ with the explicit idea that the college hitter should be on a fast track and could be flipped for pitching later: Is it time to sell high after the rookie just put up 24 homers and an .842 OPS?

During an exit meeting with Albert Almora Jr., Epstein said he couldn’t promise an everyday job in 2018, though the expectation would be more responsibilities: Think anyone else would be interested in a potential Gold Glove center fielder who’s already playoff-tested?

Do you want Addison Russell or Javier Baez as your everyday shortstop for the next four years? Is there an American League team willing to bet big that Kyle Schwarber will crush 40 homers a year as a designated hitter?

The Cubs have to ask themselves those types of questions, which could mean getting outside of their comfort zone and taking on some riskier pitching investments and sapping the strength that has turned them into the dominant force in the NL Central.

“We’ve really benefitted from having two or three extra — and ‘extra’ in quotes because they’re not really extra — starting-caliber players on the roster,” Epstein said. “That helped us win 97 games in ’15, 103 last year, 92 this year. That’s as big a part of the club as anything.

“Having an Addison Russell go down and being able to move Javy Baez to shortstop — that’s an obvious example of it. But those things show up every week for us. There’s a day where someone can’t make the lineup and someone else slides in and you’re still starting eight quality guys. That’s huge.

“Sooner or later, you reach a point where you have to strongly consider sacrificing some of that depth to address needs elsewhere on the club. There’s no sort of deadline to do that. But I think we’re entering the phase where we have to be really open-minded to that if it makes the overall outlook of the team and organization better.”

Translation: The Cubs are open for business. Make your best offer.