BOLINGBROOK – When Bolingbrook's football team made a run to the 2011 state title, CJ Clark was along for the ride as a sophomore linebacker. Now a senior leader at the same position, Clark is one of many players returning as the Raiders look to continue a tradition of success that has seen them make the playoffs in 21 consecutive seasons.
Rossi: How has preseason practice been going?
Clark: It's gone pretty good. We have a few new guys but they're catching on real fast and I think we're going to be really prepared for Hinsdale [Central].
Rossi: How much do you think about last year's early playoff exit?
Clark: We think about it every day, and the coaches bring it up to inspire us to do better. I think we just take it and learn from it. Not forget about it, but have it in the back of your head and go out every day and play hard.
Rossi: How much did the team improve during summer camp?
Clark: I think we improved a lot. Summer camp is something we all took seriously. I know the defense took it seriously. That's where you learn a lot, that's the installation period. Without summer camp the season would be a lot harder to get ready for.
Rossi: In what areas have you personally improved?
Clark: I'm quicker, better at reading the line. I can read the offensive line and figure out what play's coming.
Rossi: What are you most looking forward to on the first Friday of the season?
Clark: Seeing how the defense plays. I know the offense is going to be ready, I want to see the same from the defense.
WEEK 1 MATCHUP
Who: Bolingbrook at Hinsdale Central
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Where: 55th and Grant streets, Hinsdale
2012 records: Bolingbrook 8-3; Hinsdale Central 7-3
Outlook: The Raiders will see where they rank among Class 8A teams right off the bat as they face a perennially tough Red Devils squad that features two Division I players in lineman Jack Allen (Michigan State) and wide receiver Ian Bunting (Michigan). Bolingbrook quarterback Quincy Woods is the full-time starter after filling in under center late last season. Raider running backs John Hall and Jaden Huff give Central's defense plenty to prepare for.
"Lincoln-Way East is always big, but that's not until later [Week 8]. We've got Hinsdale [Central] Week 1, and they've got two nationally ranked players and it's at their place." John Ivlow
BY THE NUMBERS
1991: Last time Bolingbrook missed the playoffs
17: Starters returning for the Raiders this fall
1,012: Rushing yards gained last year by graduated all-state back Omar Stover
Aug. 30 at Hinsdale Central, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 6 Romeoville, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 13 Joliet Central, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 20 at Stagg, 7 p.m.
Sept. 27 Joliet West, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 4 Lockport, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 11 at Homewood-Flossmoor, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 18 Lincoln-Way East, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 25 at Sandburg, 7:15 p.m.