From one Ivlow to another — way to go, DadDick Goss, The Herald News Sports Editor
Updated: November 28, 2011 7:01PM
Mike Ivlow’s smile said it all as he peeled off his drenched coveralls in the shelter of the press box at Memorial Stadium in Champaign.
Ivlow is a sophomore fullback in the Minooka football program, but nobody clad in the black Bolingbrook uniform Saturday night was any more enthused about the Raiders’ 21-17 victory over No. 1-ranked Loyola in the Class 8A state championship game.
“I’ve been a Raider fan since I was 6-years old,” said Ivlow, son of 10-year Bolingbrook coach John Ivlow. “This is like my first team and Minooka is my second team.
“I know these guys real well. They worked their tails off from the beginning. That’s why they won.”
John Ivlow said yes, the Raiders worked hard. But it was not all on the practice field.
“Our schemes are so simple on offense,” he said. “When you have that, you don’t have to spend a lot of time on it. You can spend more time in the weight room.
“What we do is easy. I like the simplicity.”
Simple, and deadly.
The Bolingbrook defensive effort, especially in the second half, was as dominant as you will see in an 8A final. Loyola netted 10 yards of offense after halftime. The 182 total yards the Raiders allowed is an 8A title-game record.
And remember, that was done without outside linebacker Antonio Morrison, who suffered a broken bone in his left foot in the quarterfinals. Morrison will play at Florida. Imagine what the Raiders defense might have accomplished with their defensive leader healthy and on the field.
On the offensive side, junior quarterback Aaron Bailey’s 33-yard touchdown run with 5:01 left accounted for the decisive points. If you previously hadn’t seen Bailey, that run would come off as spectacular. For those accustomed to his heroics, it was commonplace.
Bailey rushed for 149 yards to finish the season with 1,981. Yet what might have been more impressive was his passing. Throwing mainly on sprint-outs, he completed 8-of-13 for 140 yards — in all that rain — to finish with 1,039 passing yards. So he was responsible for 3,020 total yards of offense and countless big plays throughout the regular season and playoffs.
“When you have No. 15 (Bailey), anything is possible,” Mike Ivlow said in regard to a possible Raiders repeat next season.
“Without Antonio and our two-year starter at left guard (Jacob Hawk, who suffered a torn ACL in the quarterfinals), nobody gave us a chance,” John Ivlow said. “I told a select few before the season this was our best team, and these kids did it.”
If the Raiders indeed are back in Champaign next season, Ivlow, who lives in Joliet, will be there leading the way.
“I’m good for another year,” he said. “But after next year, I’ll have three in high school. I’ve seen one of (Mike’s) games in two years. It’s very tough, but houses aren’t selling. Unless I can move to Bolingbrook, I’ll have to pull the plug.”
Regardless of when Ivlow steps aside, he forever will be remembered as the coach of Bolingbrook’s first state football champion. It’s a true No. 1, the team that proved the naysayers wrong.
While Bolingbrook’s defense, which excelled all season under veteran coordinator Bob Corra, starred in the 8A final, a different story played out in the 5A title game earlier that day. No, the scoreboard did not lie: Montini 70, Joliet Catholic 45.
The records that fell are too numerous to detail, beginning with the 515 rushing yards and 19.6 average per carry for Joliet Catholic’s Ty Isaac, the Hilltoppers’ 747 rushing yards and 791 total yards in a 25-point loss and 1,644 total yards for the two teams combined.
While you digest those numbers, I will toss out a couple of others.
There were 16 touchdown “drives.” The two teams needed 63 offensive snaps to score those 16 touchdowns, so the average number of plays per touchdown drive was 3.9.
The most popular scoring march was one play; that happened four times — for 66, 30, 69 and 94 yards.
While the Hilltoppers offense was as awesome as it had been all season, though flawed by a few uncharacteristic costly turnovers, the Montini match-up, with John Rhode passing for 587 yards and seven touchdowns, provided the perfect storm for the Hilltoppers defense.
Dan Sharp, whose has coached six of Joliet Catholic’s record 13 state champions and eight of the record 17 title-game appearances, praised the numerous superb skill players in the Montini camp and added, “Obviously, we have got to get better defensively. We don’t have the depth we had in the early 2000s. We got ourselves into some situations where there were mismatches.
“We’ll get our staff together in the offseason and get it fixed.”