Bolingbrook’s fast, physical defense held touted Hinsdale Central to two fields goals as the Raiders opened with a 17-6 victory Saturday.
That’s the monster Romeoville’s offense will face in its second and last nonconference game Friday night when the Valley View District rivals tangle in Bolingbrook.
The Spartans were 0-9 last season. So despite opening with a 32-29 come-from-behind victory over Hinsdale South, a playoff team in 2012, many would suggest the Spartans are in over their heads.
They beg to differ.
“From winning last week, we have a lot of motivation for Bolingbrook and a lot of confidence,” junior quarterback Kelvin Jones said. “We feel we can compete with them, but we can’t have mental mistakes. We have to keep the ball safe.”
Jones completed 12-of-22 passes for 189 yards and three touchdowns against Hinsdale South. Senior running back Miguel Ford rushed 30 times for 161 yards and two scores.
Romeoville coach Jeff Kuna estimated Ford “had 150 of his yards after first contact. On probably half of his carries, he broke two tackles. I don’t think any of his carries was for more than 10 yards. He earned his yards.”
“I hope they (Raiders) watch a lot of film this week because I’ll be doing the same thing, running the same way,” Ford said. “Honestly, it doesn’t matter who we play, we approach it the same way. Our offense is really good. I think it can be the best around. They are quick on defense, but I don’t think that will bother us.”
Jones echoed those thoughts.
“We have powerful running backs who can move and a good offensive line,” he said.
Those assets are why Kuna says the Spartans are “much more of a ball-control offense than in the past. We have a strong running game but we will take a shot downfield when the opportunity is there.”
Regardless of Friday’s result, beating Hinsdale South and merely discussing challenging Bolingbrook is indication this can be a turnaround season for the Spartans. As wide open as the Southwest Prairie race should be, why not Romeoville among the many SPC contenders?
“What winning last week does is it validates for these guys that all the hard work they did since last season was for the right cause,” Kuna said.
“Last week was good preparation. Bolingbrook is fast and physical and a better team than Hinsdale South, so we have to clean up mistakes and turn it up to a higher level.”
In addition to his 30 rushes last week, Ford intercepted two passes from his cornerback position. The first was nullified because of a roughing-the-passer penalty, the second clinched the victory. He continues to hope for interest from Division I programs.
“I think we might impress some people if we can beat Bolingbrook,” he said. “A lot of people (colleges) will want to follow up on us.
“But whatever happens, this game will get us ready for our conference. Our goal is to win it.”