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Bolingbrook player catches football fever

By Brian Hedger
Special to the Tribune

Aaron Bailey hasn’t been able to shake the bug all summer.
It doesn’t cause a hacking cough or high temperature, but it gives those who are infected a football fever that leads to mild sleep deprivation — mostly from hours of film study.

Bailey, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound sophomore, is stricken with it. He’s competing to be Bolingbrook’s starting quarterback, so he spent much of the summer holed up in his room hitting the rewind button on his remote.

“I was just breaking down defenses of the teams we’re going to play,” said Bailey, who backed up Brad Geever last year before moving to receiver. “I’d just pop a video on my TV and go over it. When I first did it I’d only watch the highlights — all the touchdowns. Now I’m looking for little details like, ‘On that play, did the safety move? Did he blitz? What about that inside ’backer?’”

Bailey also watched video with his stepfather, Oliver Carter.
“I just think of him as my biological father,” Bailey said. “We’re really close.”

Bailey’s biological father is former NFL receiver and namesake Aaron Bailey, who played five seasons with the Indianapolis Colts along with stints in the XFL and Arena Football League. However, the younger Bailey said they have no contact with each other.

Bailey is looking to make his own name in the sports world. He was tutored by Geever last year at quarterback, then stood out at receiver after an injury to a starter put him into the lineup.

The experience Bailey gained playing both positions was invaluable. In just his third varsity start, against rival Lincoln-Way East, Bailey caught four passes for 147 yards and two touchdowns in a 46-24 victory.

This year Bailey hopes to be throwing passes, but there’s a chance Raiders coach John Ivlow will go with senior Jimmy Vespo, leaving Bailey to play receiver again. If that happens, don’t expect Bailey to pout.

Ivlow loves Bailey’s team-first attitude, but he wants to protect him from sky-high expectations.

“He’s only a sophomore,” Ivlow said. “He’s a quick learner, but he is still unproven. It’s not a knock on him. It’s just hard to judge him. Let me get him out here under pressure, against one of the big schools, and then we’ll see what we’ve got to work with.”

Aaron Bailey file
High school: Bolingbrook.
Class: Sophomore.
Position: QB/WR.
Height: 6-2.
Weight: 200.
Background: Bolingbrook lost 19 starters from last season’s 9-2 team that won the Southwest Suburban Blue, and Bailey — who started part of the season at receiver — is one of the returners. Bailey is still determined to lead a young-but-talented Raiders team back to the playoffs — whether he’s throwing the ball or catching it.

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