The Boilermaker football team’s hopes of being an undefeated State Champion came to an end on Saturday, November 4 against a team in Plainfield North that ended the season as the State runners-up. This season is nothing to hang their heads about, however, as the Boilermakers had a great run this year.
The Boilers won only their second conference championship since they joined the SWSC (Southwest Suburban Conference). A couple weeks after the loss, Head Coach Mike Kohl provided insight on this season and looking ahead to next season. “I think our kids did a great job of continuing what last year’s team started; if you told me that we would be 10-1 and SWSC Conference Champions at the end of the season, I’d take it.” When asked what he thought his team would take away from this season he replied, “I think the guys know now that working hard in the weight room and coming to practice everyday and not taking plays off in games and practice. I think they also know what it takes to build a winning culture and how much work goes into it.”
One of the problems Coach Kohl thought the team would have next year is trying to recover from losing 26 seniors – two of whom are star players Camron Harrell and Damien Williams. “ Losing Cam and Damien are two really huge losses, but we are considering having [quarterback] Morion Burtis Jr. play more on the defensive side of the ball like we did with Cam.”
Burtis is going to be a key factor in whether or not the Boilermakers make the playoffs next season, which is just one goal for 2017. “We want to finish what we started,” Burtis said. “We started off good, but we didn’t get the results in the playoffs that we wanted, so next year we’ve just got to finish.”
It will be hard to beat a 9-0 regular-season record, especially when having to fill the void of losing 26 seniors. The Boilermakers are losing a lot of key players; however there could be a silver lining with electrifying players coming back including Kris Petty (TE), Kian Baron (WR), Mason Staubus (OL), Noah Acevedo (LB), and All-State quarterback Burtis.
When asked what kind of team the Boilers would be next season, Burtis stated, “I think we are going to be a heavy run team.” After having a great junior year rushing for over 1,200 yards and passing for over 1,200 yards, he is hoping to have an even better senior season. “I want to play to the best I possibly can and bring home that State Championship.” This just shows how badly these Boilermakers want that recognition.
As the 2016 Boilers showed, anything is possible, especially with the talented young players that will be on the team next year. It remains to be seen if the Boilermakers can get that elusive State title next season, but as always, Friday nights at BBCHS Stadium will surely be exciting.