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Athlete of the Week: Bolingbrook's Football Team

Individual contributions lead Raiders to state championship.

By the voting deadline for this week's Athlete of the Week (9 p.m. Nov. 22), the Bolingbrook football team had 92 percent of the votes, making it the clear winner.

It would be easy to regularly nominate Aaron Bailey for Patch Athlete of the Week honors.

Bolingbrook's quarterback, a heavily recruited junior, leads the team in offensive production every game and his numbers are good enough to stand toe-to-toe against any of the state's top performers. Last week, Bailey actually garnered Patch's and could have again this time around on the strength of 199 rushing yards and a game-winning touchdown.

This week's about the Raiders though -- all of them -- because it took all three phases of their team to on Saturday to advance to the Class 8A state finals. The Raiders (12-1) will face Loyola (13-0) for the state championship at 7 p.m. Saturday in Champaign.

“They don’t have a weakness on defense. It’s hard to make plays on them," Central coach Mike Stine said. "They are pretty comparable to Wheaton Warrenville South’s defense. With their offense and defense and special teams, they have a shot to be state champs next week.”

Bolingbrook has never won a state title, losing to Belvidere High School in 1993.

Here are the other Patch Athlete of the Week nominees:

Gabby Sims, sophomore swimmer: Sims won the 100-yard backstroke individual state swimming championship in 55.8 seconds. Sims also placed eighth in the 100-yard butterfuly with a time of 57.22 seconds.

: Swimming, relay team: Hannah Veselik, Maya Rodrigues, Dana Vinyard and Rachel Hawken finished 34th in the prelims of the state swimming and diving meet with a time of 1 minute, 52.12 seconds. 

: Ethan Pocic, junior offensive lineman: Pocic earned Illinois High School Football Coaches Association for Class 6A. The 6-foot-6, 285-pound junior has already received scholarship offers from Illinois, Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Purdue, West Virginia and Arizona, according to Comcast SportsNet.

: Nick Samuelson, senior linebacker: Samuelson made the Class 5A Illinois High School Coaches Association All-State Academic team. He maintains a 3.5 GPA. Samuelson earned all-conference honors and was the Spartans’ team MVP. He registered 57 tackles, 16 of them for a loss, and four sacks while intercepting two passes and scoring two defensive touchdowns.

: Warriors Hockey Club: The varsity team won the Prairie Ridge Invitational tournament, beating the No. 1 ranked New Trier hockey team. The Warriors began the season 12-0. The club represents Waubonsie Valley, Metea Valley, Oswego East and Marmion Academy.

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