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Daily Journal
     September 21, 2021      #78-264 KDJ
Bradley-Bourbonnais' Detric Dee runs towards the end zone during the first half of the Boilermakers' 16-14 loss at home to Lincoln-Way West on Friday night. Daily Journal/Jim Piacentini

Boilermakers fall by a pair to Lincoln-Way


By Mason Schweizer

BRADLEY — After the events that took place at Bradley-Bourbonnais earlier in the day caused the school to tighten the crowd at Friday night’s mammoth Southwest Suburban Conference Red Division matchup against Lincoln-Way West, Boilermakers football coach Mike Kohl just wanted his team to fight off the distractions of the day and give everything they had for 48 minutes.

That’s exactly what the Boilermakers did, scoring a pair of first-half touchdowns before taking a 14-13 lead into the halftime break, but a 19-yard field goal on the opening drive of the third quarter from the Warriors proved to be the second half’s only scoring, as the Boilers fell 16-14 and saw their record even out at 2-2 and 0-1 in the red division of the SWSC.

“It was a huge game for us; it was the SWSC Red Division championship game in my opinion ...” Kohl said. “That’s a really good football team that we went toe-to-toe with tonight. ... [The Warriors] just made more plays.”

The Boilers displayed excellent efficiency on the offensive end early in the game, putting together two lengthy drives that resulted in touchdowns. They capped off a 14-play, 78-yard drive with a 16-yard touchdown from Caige Williams to Neal May on a 3rd-and-11 with just less than three minutes left in the first quarter to open the scoring.

After the Warriors answered on a 77-yard touchdown pass from Cole Crafton to Jason Harris, the Boilers again went to work, this time putting together a 13-play, 75-yard drive Williams stamped with a 1-yard quarterback sneak to put the Boilers back ahead with 7:20 on the first half clock.

Once again, Crafton and Harris connected for a responding score, this time a much shorter, 4-yard score near the end of the first half, and thanks to a missed extra point, the Boilers kept their lead.

But the lead was short-lived when the Warriors took the opening drive of the second half and turned it into three points on a 19-yard Ryan Shelton field goal that put the Warriors ahead 16-14 with 7:47 left in the third.

Neither team was able to make a serious threat to put points up again until the Warriors attempted a field goal a quarter later, but Vito Crisswell and AJ Mancilla came blitzing from the outside and blocked the kick, flipping the momentum script and giving the home team the ball back on their own 29 with 4:13 on the clock.

“Coach [Joe] Kubal told [the special teams] all week we would get [a block],” Kohl said. “He told them after that first field goal we would get one in a big moment, and what a game-changer that was.”

But the Boilers couldn’t do anything with the opportunity. After moving the chains once, Williams fired a pair of incompletions before finding Crisswell for a 6-yard gain, setting up a 4th-and-4 from their own 45-yard line. Williams looked to the left sideline for May, who had been involved in some contact with the Warriors defensive back, but no flags flew, and the Boilers saw their hopes come to and end with a turnover on downs.

With so much happening around the school earlier in the day, as more than 100 students took part in a protest Friday before classes started outside of the school because of alleged sexual harassment at the school — something school administrators refuted — the crowd on hand at Friday night’s game was much lighter than anticipated.

The school, citing “the current climate in our school community,” in a Facebook post Friday afternoon, limited attendance to varsity and junior varsity football players, band members, cheerleaders, dance team members and six family members per each of those people. There was no student section at the game.

“The No. 1 thing as a head coach is you wanna teach your kids life lessons, and I thought it was a great opportunity for our staff today to teach the kids to control the controllable,” said Kohl, who is also the school’s athletic director. “When there’s chaos around you, try and lock in and control what you can control, and I’m so proud of our kids for doing that.

“It was definitely a challenge; there were a lot of distractions all week within our school and with the community rallying around our school,” he added. “It wasn’t good, it’s not positive for our kids, it’s definitely distracting. I’m hoping we can have a better week next week and rally back and win games.”

The school also saw protests Thursday, the same day school administrators and Bradley police determined a general threat of a school shooting was not a risk to the school but still allowed parents to sign their children out. Through all of the difficulties of the week, Kohl said he was glad to know the kids he coaches on the football field have been able to be bright lights in the classroom.

“I said that at the beginning of the season, no matter how many more games we win the rest of the season, I love these guys,” Kohl said. “They’re leaders, the kids act right in the hallways. When things are going wrong in the community our kids our acting right in the hallways.”


Williams went 8 for 20 for 98 yards and a touchdown, as well as 11 rushing yards and a touchdown. Nate Murphy led the backfield with 70 rushing yards on 19 carries, and Detric Dee added 21 yards on six carries. May had a pair of catches for 32 yards and his score. Mark Robinson hauled in two passes for 43 yards.


The Boilers return home for their Homecoming game against Homewood-Flossmoor at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

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Bradley-Bourbonnais' Caige Williams looks for an open receiver during Friday's home game against Lincoln-Way West. Daily Journal/Jiim Piacentini