CHAMPAIGN Aaron Bailey was sure his defense would continue the stellar play that had held down the opposition all game long.
So when he fumbled the ball away in the second half of a tie game inside his team's territory, he wasn't terribly concerned.
"I trusted God. I knew our defense was playing well and the ball was slippery, so I wasn't very worried," he said. "The defense played phenomenal. They were all over the place."
The defense held, giving up just a field goal and allowing Bailey and his Bolingbrook offense to put together a fourth-quarter, game-winning touchdown drive in a 21-17 victory over Loyola Academy in a wet Class 8A football state title game at Memorial Stadium on Saturday.
Bailey was terrific, amassing 149 rushing yards to go with 140 passing. He scored on runs of 10 and 33 yards as the Raiders won their first football title.
He was especially happy about the passing success despite the constant downpour during the game.
"We normally run the ball but the receivers were open and Xavier (Perkins) did a great job of getting open," he said. "I'm glad we were able to throw it because I love throwing it."
The defense was also great, allowing just 182 yards of offense in the game.
But tied at 14 late in the third quarter, Loyola took a 17-14 lead on a 40-yard field goal by Will Cushwa.
Bailey, though, led the Raiders on a 55-yard scoring drive with five minutes left, helping give the Raiders their first state title.
Reed Michalek led the Ramblers with 48 yards rushing and Willy Palivos added 45. Ramblers quarterback Malcolm Weaver threw for 99 yards for Loyola and Luke Ford made 12 tackles for the Ramblers.