Quest for Dominance


Langston McHenry

Senior wide receiver Tyrice Richie lines up the line of scrimmage against Lincoln Way East.

Langston McHenry , Editor-in-chief

For two seconds, the stadium was quiet. Then, the visiting Bolingbrook Raiders erupted as the 37-yard field goal went through the uprights making the score 22-21. The last second win advanced the Raiders to the playoffs with a record of 5-4.

“Being apart of that loss last year, we mostly felt regret because we underestimated them because of their record,” senior offensive lineman Jamezz Kimbrough said. “After the game, we realized that was the main reason we played so lackadaisical.”

Tonight, the Vikings hope to avenge last year’s heartbreaking loss that ended their undefeated season and moved them to the No. 8 seed in the playoffs.

“It was a waking moment for our team last year to humble down. We use that this year as an example to keep us humble through this season,” junior safety Justin Hall said.

However, the Raiders hope to repeat the scene from a year ago. With a current record of 4-4, the Raiders will have to snap the Vikings undefeated streak for the second year in a row to advance them into the IHSA playoffs.

“I sense a playoff game atmosphere,” Kimbrough said. “Simply because they are our rivals, and they will play desperate because they have to win to make it into the playoffs.”

Coming off their second shutout of the season last week against Thornton, the Vikings will have to continue their recent stretch of great performances with this game possibly coming down to a few key stops down the stretch.

Bolingbrook has limited their opponents to an average of 23 points this season, while the Vikings possess one of the most lethal offenses in the state, averaging 45 points per game.

“Our defense will come up big because we know how important this game is,” senior cornerback Dylan Duplessis said. “We have great preparation and coaching from our defensive coaches during the week.”

With a win tonight, the Vikings could make history as the first H-F team to go undefeated in the regular season.

“Obviously when you play eight, and have won eight, you’re happy about that, but I still think our best football is ahead of us,” head coach Craig Buzea said. “They have exceeded most people’s expectations rather than their own. I think if you would’ve asked them, they believed they would be here in this position right now.”

With playoffs beginning next week, this game will be a major test for the Vikings, who haven’t had a close game since their Week 3 matchup against the Lincoln Way East Griffins.

“We are taking games one by one,” Hall said. “Honestly, we’re going to use this game to perfect the rest of our game, so whoever we play in the playoffs, we can be perfect and bring home that State championship.”

A win tonight could solidify a high seed in the playoffs, but for Buzea, the team’s main focus is tonight’s game.

“Nothing changes. We treat everything the same,” Buzea said. “Obviously our guys know there’s a little more at stake, such as the conference championship and an undefeated season, but as far as preparation, we’re doing the same thing we’ve done every week.”