The Brook & The Griffins Ready for Battle

Florida bound LB Antonio Morrison

Green Bay/Chicago, Michigan/Ohio State, Joliet Catholic/Mt. Carmel & now Bolingbrook/Lincoln Way East, the annual slugfest between the Raiders and the Griffins is becoming one of the annual must-see games in Illinois High School football and it's on again tonight.

If you want a seat tonight to watch what is arguably the biggest game thus far this season, get to Bolingbrook early. The place is going to be packed. Both teams are undefeated and both have teams that can make deep play-off runs.

Lincoln-Way East is led by quarterback Ben Winkler, who is a very good manager of the game and doesn't put the Griffins in bad spots; He has a pair of wide receivers in Jay Yancy and Illinois recruit J.J. Robertson that will keep the Raider defense on their heels.

That defense is led by Florida Gators recruit Bo Morrison. The 6-foot-3, 220-pounder plays sideline-to-sideline and he doesn't take plays off. He'll have to be at his best tonight to help The Brook get to 6-0.

"Bolingbrook is loaded with athletes," said East coach Rob Zvonar. "It's hard to compare teams but they seem to be even better on paper than the year they came to our place with Dale Martin at tailback.

"John (Ivlow) has playmakers on offense in Aaron Bailey and a major D-1 recruit (Antonio Morrison) on defense. Those are just two of his weapons. He's got playmakers everywhere.

"For us to win tonight, we are going to have to move the football. We have to stay away from the 3 and out's. We have to give our defense some rest. We'll have to limit their explosive plays.

"We have an unheralded defense. There's not really one guy that stands out but they all play hard and fly to the football. We are going to need the effort tonight.

"This might sound a little narcissistic but we really haven't hit on all on cylinders yet. One week our rushing game was better than our passing game, the next it was our passing game that was better than our run game.

"We've had games where our pass defense was better than our run defense and games where our run defense was better than our pass defense. We've made mistakes in our special teams. We need to put it all together tonight for us to win the game."

Bolingbrook comes in with a 5-0 record. They could've slipped last week against a very good Homewood-Flossmoor team, looking ahead to tonight's game with East but they didn't.

"H-F came to our place last year and knocked us off," said Bolingbrook coach John Ivlow. "So we wanted to go to their place and make a statement this year. We had that game circled."

Unfortunately for the Griffins, the Raiders just aren't the Bailey and Morrison show. This could be one of the best teams Coach Ivlow has had as head coach at Bolingbrook.

"We knew that we'd be good this year," Coach Ivlow explained. "We had a lot coming back and some playmakers on both sides of the ball. We do feel good about this team.

"On the offensive line we are better and led by Robbie Bain. Defensively it's all about staying healthy. Jaden Huff and Omar Stover are playing well at running back and Chandler (Piekarski) has stepped up at receiver.

"For us to win the game tonight we are going to half to eliminate the big play on defense and we need to be able to run the ball on offense. We need to keep their defense on their toes. We need to move the chains and hit some big plays."

This is going to be a fun game to watch. Two great teams with two great coaching staffs. As usual with any big game, it could come down to takeaways and turnovers. Both teams will need a few breaks to go their way to come out on top tonight.

Like Jets linebacker Bart Scott said last year in the play-offs –"CAN'T WAIT!"

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