BOLINGBROOK – Matt Rafferty might end up getting most of the recognition following Hinsdale Central's season-opening football win against Bolingbrook, but he want's to share the praise.
Rafferty passed for 168 and two touchdowns in his first action at quarterback in years, but in his mind it was the Red Devils' defense that sparked the 23-15 win over highly-regarded Bolingbrook.
"Our defense came up huge," Rafferty said. "They held them a couple times and we got to come out and just run the ball to close it out."
The Raiders (0-1) came into the game regarded as one of the top teams in the state, but they were playing catch-up from the onset.
They had a punt blocked and returned for a touchdown less than three minutes into the game. Their ensuing possession ended with a failed fourth down conversion after which Central (1-0) struck quickly for a 74-yard touchdown that put the hosts in a 14-0 hole.
"I think we blew a couple coverages," Bolingbrook junior linebacker Tuf Borland said. "Cover four, a guy got behind us, and man-to-man, we kind of blew that, too. When you don't do your job, it costs you."
Bolingbrook battled back to take a 15-14 lead at the half. Adam Klein connected with Neo Armstrong for a 41-yard touchdown late in the first quarter. Julian Huff ran in the 2-point conversion. After a lightning delay halted the game, Quincy Woods bulled his way into the end zone and Klein converted the extra point early in the second quarter. Yet a sack on the final play of the first half seemed to be a sign of things to come for the Raiders.
"We just made too many mistakes and that's something we'll have to get corrected," Bolingbrook head coach John Ivlow said. "Penalties and some special teams stuff we'll have to get taken care of."
A 44-yard pass from Matt Rafferty to Ryan Doney put Central ahead 20-15 with 3:02 to play in the third quarter, and Mark Dykstra's interception two plays later set up a field goal that made it 23-15 entering the fourth. A failed fourth down conversion and a fumble cut short Bolingbrook's final two drives of the game.
Losing a second consecutive home game (going back to last year's second-round playoff game against Marist) wasn't what the Raiders had in mind, but they quickly realized one game does not make an entire season.
"They're a good team," Ivlow said. "We still have to make plays and we have to sure up some things, but that's what practice is for, and the most improvement is make from Week 1 to Week 2."
Hinsdale Central 23
Passing: HC – Matt Rafferty 9-for-16, 168 yards, 2 TDs. BOL – Adam Klein 10-for-22, 134 yards, TD
Rushing: HC – Christian Bobak 8-36. BOL – Julian Huff 12-45; Quincy Woods 11-38
Receiving: HC – Thomas Ives 5-102, TD; Ryan Doney 4-66, TD. BOL – Woods 6-56; Neo Armstrong 1-41, TD