BOLINGBROOK — Because senior quarterback Matt Rafferty last played football as a sophomore, new Hinsdale Central coach Dan Hartman decided to take it a little slow to open the season Friday night in Bollingbrook.
That’s why Hartman’s first three plays from scrimmage were handoffs to junior Bradley Huth. Rafferty didn’t throw his first varsity pass until under three minutes remained in the first quarter.
But, on the second drive of his career, Rafferty struck paydirt when he hit senior receiver Thomas Ives for a 74-yard TD pass to make it 14-0. The 6-foot-7 Rafferty, a Division I-prospect in basketball who skipped football as a junior, returned to engineer the biggest upset in recent Hinsdale Central history.
Rafferty completed 9-of-16 passes for 167 yards and two touchdowns as the Red Devils stunned the Raiders 23-15.
Hinsdale Central shut out Bolingbrook, who was ranked No. 1 in the preseason by High School Cube News, in the second half.
Special teams put the Devils on the board when Dane Miller blocked a punt and Andrew Davis returned it 15 yards for a touchdown three minutes into the game.
“We were doing some stuff early like rushing the ball,” said Hartman, who came over from Evergreen Park. “I asked [Rafferty] if he was feeling all right. He said, ‘Let’s go. Let’s air it out.’ [Ives] made a nice play and outran their defensive back.”
Ives caught five passes for 101 yards and Ryan Doney (four catches, 66 yards) caught a 44-yard TD pass from Rafferty in the third quarter.
“It was a great way to open the season. They are one of the best teams in the state,” Ives said. “They have the best defense in the state and it’s great to get the ball rolling.”
Rafferty said he hasn’t seriously considered a future in football. Most football prospects his size become tight ends in college.
“It takes reps, reps, reps [to play quarterback],” Rafferty said. “It’s all about that. We have emphasized that a lot in the offseason. We have prepared ourselves for this.”
- Hinsdale Central’s special teams blocked another punt in the third quarter. Davis got a hand on the punt attempt and Mark Dykstra recovered at the Raiders’ 30.
- The Devils played without top returning rusher Juwan Edmond, nose tackle Tristen Nevotne and starting linebacker Grand Pitcher, who all were out with injuries. Hartman said he expects all of them back for Friday’s game at Addison Trail.
- The season opener was delayed for 33 minutes due to lightning. The Raiders scored their first touchdown on Adam Klein’s 42-yard pass, but had to wait for play to resume before running in the 2-point conversion to pull within 14-8.