By Mike Clark
Bolingbrook didn't need Aaron Bailey on Friday night, though it didn't look that way for a while.
The Raiders lost fumbles on two of their first three plays from scrimmage and managed just six points in the first two quarters.
But then they came out and blitzed host Sandburg with a 32-point second half, coasting to a 39-7 victory in the first round of the Class 8A playoffs.
Bolingbrook (8-2) continues the defense of its Class 8A title next week against Neuqua Valley, which beat Naperville North Friday night.
Quincy Woods, who has been subbing for Bailey since the Illinois-bound quarterback was hurt in a Week 6 loss to Lincoln-Way East, survived a rough start to run for 104 yards and three touchdowns.
He was helped by a defense that held Sandburg (7-3) scoreless after its first possession and scored two touchdowns of its own.
"When you have a good defense with what they did today, it was easy," Woods said. "The offense just had to execute and we executed in the second half."
Woods' first start in relief of Bailey came in the Raiders' first meeting with Sandburg this season, an overtime loss.
His improvement has helped make the Raiders stay afloat while they wait to get healthy. Besides Bailey (knee), running back Omar Stover (ankle) also sat out Friday.
"He keeps getting better, which is what you need right now," Bolingbrook coach John Ivlow said of Woods.
As for Bailey and Stover, Ivlow said the latter is more likely to return next week. "Aaron hasn't done anything in four weeks," Ivlow said. "Until he gets in shape, I guess you'd say, I wouldn't expect to see him."
Sandburg took a 7-0 lead on Miles Taylor's 21-yard run with 8:40 left in the first quarter. But couldn't capitalize on Bolingbrook's two first-quarter turnovers, going three-and-out and then getting a field goal blocked.
Bolingbrook, meanwhile, was getting its offensive act together.
"They had a good scheme, what they were doing with their ends on our quarterback, so we had to change some stuff up on the offensive line," Ivlow said.
Woods scored on a one-yard sneak after hitting Chandler Piekarski with a 47-yard pass, pulling the Raiders within 7-6 at the half.
Emile Wisdom returned a Sandburg fumble 25 yards for a touchdown with 8:40 left in the third quarter, giving Bolingbrook its first lead at 12-7.
"The offense wasn't scoring, we had to make sure we picked it up," Wisdom said.
Jaden Huff (10 carries, 84 yards) scored on a four-yard run to make it 20-7 with 5:36 left in the third and Woods had a three-yard touchdown run at the 11:04 mark of the fourth.
Greg Amos returned an interception 55 yards and Woods dashed 54 yards for the Raiders' last two touchdowns.
What happened after halftime for Sandburg? "We started missing keys, playing sloppy," Taylor said.
"This is our game," Ivlow said. "Three and four yards a crack, get them to wear down, suck them in and then hit the perimeter."