Boilermakers Return to the Playoffs

The Bradley-Bourbonnais Boilermakers football team entered the season on a six-year playoff drought, but that has come to an end. The Boilermakers have been one game away from making the playoffs in four of the last six seasons, but with a large group of key returning starters from the 2021 team, they felt like this could definitely be their year.

The Boilermakers finished 5-4 this season, going undefeated in Southwest Suburban Conference Red Division play and winning their side of the conference for the first time since the conference split into the current 5-team divisions in 2019. Their four losses came by a combined 15 points — losing to Kenwood Academy by four, Lockport by one, Homewood-Flossmoor  by three, and Lincoln-Way East by seven in overtime. The Lincoln-Way East game was the most intense game of the season. It was the regular season finale, and both teams had won their respective sides of the conference. The Boilermaker defense held the top seed in the IHSA 8A Playoffs to 28 points and forced five turnovers. “The ‘Bad Boy’ defense has the potential to be the best defense in BBCHS history” said BBCHS Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Backs Coach Freddie Dudek.

The Boilers had a rough 2-3 start to the 2022 season, and they knew that if they wanted to make the playoffs they had to get to 5-4. The Boilers went on a tear and won the next three games to claim a playoff berth for the first time since 2016.

The Boilermakers got the 25th seed in the 7A playoff bracket and have to travel four hours south to play 8-1 Collinsville, who got the 8th seed. BBCHS Head Coach Mike Kohl said of the road trip, “This week’s biggest obstacle will be the travel. We haven’t had a Friday night like this yet this year.”

The Boilers have to get through Collinsville to advance to the second round. In the next round they would either play 8-1 (Algonquin) Jacobs at home or 5-4 Brother Rice on Chicago’s South Side. Next is quarterfinals where the Boilers would have a good chance of seeing the number-one team in the state, Mount Carmel of Chicago. “Mt Carmel just knocked off the number-three team in the state to secure the number-one spot, and they are a great football team that we respect. We aren’t scared of them, though. The Lincoln-Way East game was a great confidence boost to show us that we can play with any team in the state.”

This Boilermaker team has already made history. If they win State, they can be the first team in Boiler football history to win a state title. They will also be the second team out of all the sports in school history to win a state championship.