Despite a lopsided result in last year's contest, a 41-9 Bolingbrook win, the anticipation is high for this year's rematch between Plainfield South High School and Bolingbrook
Bolingbrook, who are the defending 8A state champions and preseason #1 in the Illinois FOXSportsNEXT poll, open their season at home with Illinois-bound quarterback Aaron Bailey leading the charge. Also highlighted are Bolingbrook's Parrker Westphal and Omar Stover in addition to Plainfield South's Clifton Garrett.
Bailey rushed for nearly 2,000 yards last year and 30 touchdowns. He added 20 pounds of muscle in the offseason while maintaining his speed and athleticism. Will Bailey get to showcase his arm more this season with teams focusing on the run?
Westphal picked up a slew of offers this spring, and for good reason. He's an exceptional cover corner with great body control who is a pest to receivers. He's still young, but all indications are that he has a bright future ahead of him roaming the secondary at Bolingbrook.
Stover might benefit the most from all of the attention that should be paid to Bailey. Teams will key on Bailey, meaning that Stover may see more opportunities for big plays. He's a powerful back with not a lot of wasted weight who will be looking for a big season this year.
Garrett may only be a junior, but he's also one of the top inside linebackers in the Midwest in 2014. He's already built like a college linebacker and has great instincts. His main focus this year will likely be improving his athleticism. But there may not be a better barometer for his skills all season than going head to head with Bailey.
No question here that the key matchup in this one is going to be the bruising chess match between Bailey and Garrett. How well will Bailey be able to run the Bolingbrook offense against the Plainfield South front seven? What will Garrett do to try to stop or even slow down Bolingbrook's powerful rushing attack? We'll find out Friday night when these two teams go at it.