Sandburg freshman running back Quinn Durkin carries the ball during the Eagles’ 42-27 win over Bolingbrook on Oct. 6. Photo by Jason Maholy

Sandburg freshman running back Quinn Durkin carries the ball during the Eagles’ 42-27 win over Bolingbrook on Oct. 6. Photo by Jason Maholy

Sandburg thumps Bolingbrook, earns right to play for conference crown

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By Jason Maholy
Sports Editor

Sandburg running back Luke Basiorka’s teammates believe he is the best running back in Illinois.

The sophomore breakout star endearingly referred to as “Bazooka” by his Eagles brethren isn’t ready to declare himself such just yet, but he is working hard to be in that conversation.

In a Week 7 SouthWest Suburban Blue showdown, Basiorka gashed the Bolingbrook defense for 184 rushing yards and two touchdowns as the Eagles defeated the Raiders, 42-27, on Oct. 6 in Orland Park.

With the victory, Sandburg improved to 5-2 and 3-0 in the Blue, and have almost certainly clinched a spot in the IHSA playoffs. A win over Lincoln-Way East on Friday will earn them an automatic playoff berth and the outright SWSC Blue title. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. in Frankfort.

The Griffins, one of the state’s premier programs, will present a challenge, but the Eagles are rolling since a 20-14 loss to Lincoln-Way Central in Week 5. They have in the past two weeks defeated Homewood-Flossmoor and Bolingbrook, with their win over the Raiders the program’s first since 2015.

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Sandburg sophomore running back Luke Basiorka ran for 184 yards and two touchdowns in the Eagles’ 42-27 win over Bolingbrook on Oct. 6. Photo by Jason Maholy

According to the IHSA archives, which date back to 1997, this season is the first in which Sandburg has defeated both H-F and Bolingbrook.

The loss to Central was disappointing and was largely impacted by self-inflicted wounds, but it may mark the turning point of the season for the Eagles.

“We saw what we messed up in that game, we came out slow; but we’ve picked it up and moved on and now we’re competing for a conference championship,” Basiorka said. “Sometimes you’re going to get hit hard, but you’ve got to hit back and keep going and that’s what we’ve done.”

Sandburg coach Troy McAllister has liked how his team has responded with wins over two teams that over the past decade have frequently dominated the Eagles.

“Since the second half of the Central game we’ve been playing at a really high level and I think the confidence is growing each week,” McAllister said. “We’re young, so each rep, each snap our young guys get, you kind of just see them mature and grow and get more confident, and now they’re able to match up with a super-talented team like Bolingbrook and just stay the course and finish the game strong.

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Sandburg quarterback Anthony Shelton has completed 69 percent of his pass attempts for 1,679 yards and 17 touchdowns in seven games in 2023. Photo by Jason Maholy

“[The Raiders] have a couple kids that scare you; the speed is elite. But we were able to control the ball and put up points, and the more we could keep their offense off the field the better for us.”

Basiorka opened the scoring when he concluded Sandburg’s second drive with a 16-yard touchdown run with 3:16 to play in the first quarter. He put the Eagles up two scores barely two minutes later when he burst up the middle and ran virtually untouched for a 56-yard touchdown.

Basiorka has rushed for 969 yards and five touchdowns this season, while averaging 25 carries and 138 yards per game.

Sandburg took a 21-7 lead on an 18-yard TD pass from Anthony Shelton to senior wide receiver Sean Weisgerber.

Shelton completed 16-of-26 passes for 260 yards and four scores. Weisgerber made the most of his opportunities as all three of his receptions went for touchdowns.

Junior wide receiver Charlie Snorek caught seven passes for 169 yards. Freshman running back Quinn Durkin had 10 carries for 47 yards and caught three passes for 34 yards and a touchdown.

Snorek, who is the Eagles’ other primary offensive weapon, has for the season caught 62 passes for 935 yards and eight touchdowns.

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Sandburg wide receiver Charlie Snorek gains a chunk of his 169 yards in the Eagles’ 42-27 win over Bolingbrook on Oct. 6. Photo by Jason Maholy

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