Neal May

Bradley-Bourbonnais' Neal May looks for a route with no time left on the clock during the Boilermakers' 40-39 overtime victory over Sandburg in last season's final game.

Mason Schweizer

Fall 2021 Outlook

Head Coach: Mike Kohl (11th season)

Career Record: 57-40

Conference: SouthWest Suburban

Last Playoff: Class 7A Second Round, 2016

Best Playoff: Class 7A Semifinalist, 2015

2020-21 Record: 3-3

Fall 2021 Schedule

8/27 7:30 p.m. Proviso East

9/3 7 p.m. Tilden

9/10 7 p.m. @Lockport

9/17 7 p.m. Lincoln-Way West

9/24 7 p.m. Homewood-Flossmoor

10/1 6 p.m. @Lincoln-Way Central

10/8 7 p.m. @Andrew

10/15 7 p.m. Stagg

10/22 6 p.m. @Lincoln-Way East

Bradley-Bourbonnais football coach Mike Kohl knows he has a ton of playmakers returning from last spring’s 3-3 team, as well as returning Daily Journal All-Area quarterback Caige Williams to throw to all of them.

But he also knows that the experience his returning stars have isn’t quite the same as they’ll undergo during a full nine-game schedule and journey through the SouthWest Suburban Conference.

“That spring season was such a roller coaster and so challenging, so it’s really the seniors’ first season of varsity football,” Kohl said. “Our goal is to play 10 games and obviously with our schedule it’s a challenge, but our kids are excited about that challenge and the opportunity to play hard.”

Williams will have one of his top running backs, senior Nathan Murphy, in the backfield with him, with a trio of standout receivers in senior Mark Robinson and juniors Neal May and Caleb Barclay out wide, all back as well. Senior receiver Mekhi Brown and junior tight end Matt Allen have also caught the eye of Kohl.

“The challenge now offensively is just figuring out who’s gonna get the ball because we have so many guys that can make plays,” Kohl said. “Usually you go into a season with one or two guys you know need to get the ball, and this year we feel like we have as many as six.”

Williams said the unity he feels with so many of his returning teammates has had the team riding a wave straight from the spring.

“Honestly I feel like we picked up right where we left off last season,” Williams said. “This team really feels like a family; I don’t come out here and play football with my friends.”

Grayson Dexter is also back to anchor the offensive line from his left tackle position, but much of the rest of the interior of the offense is still coming together, although Kohl said he and his staff have plenty of size and strength to choose from.

Whatever rotation of linemen have been in front of Williams at practice, the senior quarterback has noted comfort behind them, something he appreciates after learning the speed of the varsity game last year.

“Last year I felt like I was very new to varsity and tt’s a lot faster than JV and freshmen football...,” Williams said. “But I feel like I have a really good group of guys blocking for me up front and I’m very comfortable.”

Defensively, the Boilers have two plugs to fill up front in graduated program mainstay defensive tackles Hollist Daniels III and Lorenzo Burns. But the back seven has tons of skill, namely senior linebacker Detric Dee and sophomore linebacker AJ Mancilla, who Kohl said could end up being the best backer in school history, and Barclay at safety.

Williams said that the defense has shown great knack for finding the ball, and while sometimes their ballhawking can disrupt offensive practices, he can’t wait to see his defense terrorize opposing offenses.

“They’re ball-hungry,” Williams said. “They go for lot of turnovers, which isn’t good for the offense in practice, but I feel like it’s gonna lead to them forcing a lot of turnovers during games.”

Quick Hits

Detric Dee, LB

Teammate with the best style: Myself

Best cafeteria food: Nachos

Most demanding coach: Joe Kubal

PlayStation of XBox: PlayStation

If I wasn’t at football I would be:Playing video games

Mason Schweizer is an award-winning reporter who has been with the Daily Journal since 2017 and sports editor since 2019. Save for time at the University of Illinois and Wayne State College, Mason is a lifelong area resident.