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FOOTBALL: Heavy-hearted BBCHS hammers past Longwood

BRADLEY — Heading into its 2022 season home opener, Bradley-Bourbonnais head football coach Mike Kohl went into Friday night’s contest against CICS-Longwood without the most familiar face on his sideline.

Coach Kohl was missing his 68-year old father, Michael, who died early last week.

Ever since coach Kohl took over the reigns as head coach at his alma mater in 2011, his father had been right beside him on the sidelines, no matter if it was a home or an away game.

Knowing his father wouldn’t be present for the first time when the Boilermakers took the field against the Panthers, Kohl wasn’t sure he would take the sideline or leave it up to his assistant coaches to guide the team through its season opener.

Kohl took the sideline.

“I think a lot of coaches coach as a stress relief and so this was a huge relief for me to be out here,” coach Kohl said. “It’s been the longest three days of my life helping my mom through this; losing my dad like this, I’ve never felt grief or pain like this.

“...My dad loved being out here, too, and so it was hard for me to be out here without him.”

The addition of having its head coach present on the sideline was evident by the way Bradley-Bourbonnais took care of business of the gridiron as the Boilermakers walked off their own turf with a convincing 57-0 shutout victory over CICS-Longwood to start the season with a victory.

“It’s definitely one that we had to get,” coach Kohl said. “Our kids knew it and I thought our kids came out sharp early.

“We made some mistakes and there were a lot of things we can still clean up, but we are still going to get better and hopefully this was the worst game we play all year.”

Bradley-Bourbonnais wasted little time putting points on the scoreboard as the Boilermakers quickly took a 38-0 lead into halftime with the help of four offensive touchdowns, two forced safeties and a pick-six by junior linebacker A.J. Mancilla.

Despite making his varsity debut as the team’s starting quarterback all while dealing with the death of his grandpa, junior Ethan Kohl remained poised — due in part to all the community support — and delivered for his squad on the team’s opening possession.

On Bradley’s third play from scrimmage, Kohl connected to senior wideout Neal May for a 56-yard touchdown pass to punctuate a 65-yard opening drive to gave the home team a 6-0 after a failed extra point.

“It’s just my family being there for me,” Ethan Kohl said. “My teammates too, because they are my family as well, and so just for them to be there to support me as well as all my teachers in the school supporting me was big for me.”

Bradley’s defense followed suit by not allowing Longwood to reach the 45-yard mark in opposing territory throughout first half. The Boilermaker defense forced an opening-drive fumble, followed by a safety, Mancilla’s interception return for a touchdown, a punt, another safety and a turnover on downs.

“I read run at first and got a little late to my drop and the ball ended up being a little bit over my head and so I tipped it, caught it and it was all a blur from there,” Mancilla said of his score. “This was my first ever pick-six as a high schooler. … It was one of the best moments of my life.”

Bradley-Bourbonnais concluded the first half with an 18-yard touchdown pass to junior receiver Luke Allen and touchdowns run by senior Caleb Barclay [14 yards] and junior Marquise Aaron [7 yards], to help extend its lead to 38-0 at halftime.

Due to having such a big lead, BBCHS pulled most of its starters for its sophomore players following the Boilermakers’ ability to score on their opening possession after halftime. For the third time on the night, Ethan Kohl connected in the end zone, this time being back to Allen for a 26-yard score that effectively put on the running clock and ended the game early.

“It was a really awesome opportunity to get everyone in the game,” coach Kohl said. “Every single kid got a chance to play tonight and you normally don’t get the chance to do that.”


Ethan Kohl went 6-9 for 129 yards and three touchdown passes to pace BBCHS offensively. Aaron had five carries for 52 yards and a score while Allen hauled in a pair of touchdown receptions for a combined 44 yards. May totaled two receptions for 69 yards and a score. Mancilla and senior linebacker Seay Van Kley each secured an interception for a touchdown.


Bradley-Bourbonnais (1-0) will host Kenwood at 7:30 p.m. on Friday.

2023 is target for river dredging at Aroma Park

KANKAKEE — Dredging of the Kankakee River at Aroma Park is expected to be started and completed in 2023, as part of the initial $8 million investment to ease flooding along the waterway in Kankakee County.

At last week’s Legislative Breakfast for Kankakee County, State Sen. Patrick Joyce, D-Essex, again touted the sand and sediment removal program — which will begin at the Aroma Park boat launch — and there is every expectation it will be the first of what will likely be many sand mitigation projects up and down the river.

Joyce said this first project will cost an estimated $1 million.

The river has become so shallow at the boat launch area that boats can no longer be put in the water there. The water is only inches deep in much of that area.

The state senator said the only boat that can be used there is one propelled by a large fan, called an airboat.

“It took 100 years to get the sand there,” he said of the river. “It will take years to get it removed.”

Asked how much sand will be removed in the Aroma Park area of the river, Joyce could only smile and chuckle.

He said he would have no way of answering that question, but he noted the likely most costly part of the project will be trucking it to some yet unknown destination.

At the breakfast hosted by the Kankakee County Chamber of Commerce and the Kankakee County Farm Bureau and attended by nearly 240 people, Joyce said a significant portion of the total investment for river dredging will be for equipment to remove the sand as well as tree logs.

He said the beauty of purchasing this equipment is the county can then take care of the river largely on its own. He said Kankakee County Highway Department workers would be able to operate the equipment and complete this work.

By having the equipment and the crews to operate it, the county will be able to stretch dollars far into the future and complete more river dredging. He noted if the county hired a company to come in and do the work, it would not take long to see that $8 million washed away.

“We have done a lot of soul searching on how to do this,” he said.

Joyce said all parties were in agreement that purchasing the equipment was the best option.

He also noted at least five or six access points will need to be created to get crews into the river at various points.

It appears the region is finally ready to tackle the sand and sentiment problem which has been an issue for numerous decades.

The build up of the river basin has been a chief talking point whenever the river and its surrounding properties are discussed. Flooding issues have only magnified in recent years as areas rarely impacted by flood waters are now facing this issue with regularity.

Man dies in I-57 crash

PAXTON — A fatal two-vehicle crash on Interstate 57 in Ford County claimed the life of a Crescent City man Saturday.

Ryan R. Rippe, 38, was pronounced dead at the scene by the Ford County Coroner’s office, Illinois State Police District 21 at Ashkum said

The crash occurred at approximately 7:28 a.m. on I-57 southbound at the 262-mile marker, ISP said.

A preliminary investigation indicated Rippie’s Ford Escape was traveling south on I-57 following behind a red truck semi-tractor trailer, ISP said.

Rippie failed to reduce speed and struck the rear of the semi, ISP said.

Rippie’s vehicle left the roadway, passed through the center median and came to rest facing south in the northbound left lane, ISP said.

The semi came to rest facing south on the right shoulder, ISP said.

1 person arrested in Kankakee vehicle shooting

KANKAKEE — Kankakee police arrested Erica Cantu Friday in connection with a shooting that occurred Aug. 13.

Cantu was charged with aggravated discharge of a firearm into an occupied vehicle, police said.

On Aug. 13, police were dispatched to 300 South Washington Avenue for a report of shots fired, police said.

Officers located the victims who reported damage to her vehicle as a result of shots being fired, police said.

One of the victims said Cantu shot at her while in the intersection of South Third Avenue and West Hickory Street.

Officers located two shell casings and two possible bullet fragments.