Bolingbrook has been powered by defense all season.
Marist has caught the fever at an opportune time.
The RedHawks, known as an offensive juggernaut, roared into the Raiders’ lair Friday night and eliminated the No. 1 seed 21-7 in the second round of the Class 7A playoffs.
Bolingbrook (10-1) scored late in the second quarter to tie it 7-7 at halftime and was threatening to take the lead late in the third quarter, facing a second-and-3 at the Marist 15. However, a chop-block call foiled that drive and changed the momentum for good.
“It was a tough call to take,” Bolingbrook coach John Ivlow said. “I know exactly what happened. They changed the rule a couple of years ago. What happened didn’t used to be a penalty.”
Bolingbrook wound up attempting a 36-yard field goal, but the snap was low and Marist’s Adam Miller blocked it.
The RedHawks (8-3) then mounted a 15-play drive to the decisive touchdown.
Flynn Nagel turned a short pass along the sideline into a 20-yard gain and ran 13 yards to a first-and-goal at the 10 to key the march. It ended on Peter Andreotti’s 1-yard run on fourth-and-goal. Cillion Hannon’s point-after made it 14-7 with 7:25 left.
Two plays later, Bolingbrook fullback Jaden Huff was struggling for extra yardage when the ball was stripped by Marist defensive backs Ryan Mishka and Jawill Aldridge. Linebacker Nic Weisher caught the ball at the 32 and circled around to the right side and into the end zone to make it 21-7.
“Mishka gets the credit for that one with his strip, and I got good blocking on it,” Weisher said of his third defensive touchdown of the season.
The 6-foot-6, 230-pound Weisher also caught five passes for 58 yards, while Nagel grabbed six for 52. Both also were on the field defensively most of the night.
“I’m proud of our guys, every unit, offense, defense, special teams,” Marist coach Pat Dunne said. “A lot of stuff in this game could have gone either way, and our guys persevered.
“Something I thought coming in was that we had to move the ball and get time of possession in our favor. We did that, and our defense came through with big stops throughout the night.”
Marist drove 79 yards after receiving the opening kickoff for a 7-0 lead. Jack Donegan (14-of-21 passing for 137 yards) scored on a five-yard run.
The RedHawks threatened on their second possession but were stopped on downs at the Bolingbrook 18.
The Raiders tied it on an 85-yard march just before halftime. On third-and-8 from the Marist 20, Dariel Greer hit Neo Armstrong at the 4-yard line. As he was tackled, Armstrong fumbled into the end zone and Bolingbrook’s Parrker Westphal was there to recover for the tying touchdown.
Marist had a 259-177 edge in total yards and 16-11 advantage in first downs. Bolingbrook managed just three first downs in the second half.
“We knew they would use the run a lot against us,” Westphal said. “They stayed on their blocks. They’ve got players like Nic Weisher and Flynn Nagel and they’re a well-coached team.”