Defense, Henning lift Lincoln-Way East past Bolingbrook

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BOLINGBROOK — Things did not go as scripted for the Lincoln-Way East football team on Friday night.

But when you have a defense like the Griffins do and a truly explosive offensive weapon such as A.J. Henning, sometimes you don't need the script.

The Griffins defense stymied Bolingbrook at every turn while Michigan-bound Henning scored both of Lincoln-Way East's touchdowns in a 20-10 SouthWest Suburban Conference victory.

"We knew it was going to be that type of game," Lincoln-Way East coach Rob Zvonar said. "We kind of told our guys that it was going to be a little bit of a backyard brawl and we'd have to play them for 48 minutes and that's pretty much what happened."

It felt like defensively the Griffins (4-0) could have gone a lot longer than 48 minutes if needed. Bolingbrook's first points of the game were set up off a turnover and the other score was a special teams score in the third quarter.

Bolingbrook managed just 83 yards of total offense in the game, with the Raiders talented dual threat quarterback Devyn Suggs was limited to just 45 yards of total offense.

"We love playing together, this game especially, really brought us together," Lincoln-Way East defensive end Sean McLaughlin said. "They run a really tough offense to begin with, the triple option, and I think this is just a stepping stone for us. We just have got to continue to get better."

Playing much better than the Griffins did defensively seems like a high bar to set as the Raiders (3-1) struggled to sustain drives throughout the game.

Lincoln-Way East's offensive attack this season has been a multi-pronged offensive attack, but due to a myriad of circumstances, Henning was thrust into a more dominant role in this contest. Obviously, Henning was more than capable of assuming the role, but the speedster would have preferred that the circumstances that created his workload increase hadn't developed.

Lincoln-Way East's starting quarterback Kyle Quinn was sidelined by an injury that caused him to sit out the second half. Zvonar indicated that he didn't believe the injury was all that serious after the game, but it still pressed back up Ty Slager into the field general's role, and he responded quite nicely to the challenge.

The team's leading rusher, Devon Williams, was also sidelined for a brief stretch in the third quarter although he did return later.

Henning got the offense jump started in the second quarter as he somehow gained complete separation from the Bolingbrook defense for a 32-yard touchdown score from Quinn. That allowed the Griffins to build a 10-3 halftime lead in the grind-it-out affair.

In the second half, with Quinn sidelined and Williams ailing, Henning shifted to more backfield work and broke a 29-yard run for a score in the third quarter. He would finish with 189 yards of total offense.

"The o-line just got a great push up front," Henning said. "That's probably the best outing that they've had this season."

Bolingbrook responded to Henning's second score by getting a 92-yard kickoff return from Antonio King on the ensuing kickoff, but after Dominic Dzioban added a fourth quarter field goal to re-establish the 10-point advantage the Griffins needed to only lean on the defense unit to seal the victory.