Throughout the 2016 high school football regular-season in Illinois, the Chicago Bears will honor an IHSA football player and coach each week as a part of its “Bears High School All-Star” and “Bears Coach of the Week” programs, respectively. The Chicago Bears will make a $2,000 total contribution to support the winning high schools and a local youth football program of the winner's choosing. Throughout the program’s 19-year existence, the Bears have donated over $258,000 to Illinois high schools in support of their football programs. All 2016 honorees will be invited to Soldier Field, where they will be recognized on December 4 when the Bears host the 49ers.
All press releases below are courtesy of the Chicago Bears:
Jalen Dennis of Wheeling High School in Wheeling, IL was named the “Bears High School All-Star” for Week 9. Dennis, a senior quarterback, threw for 412 yards and 4 touchdowns, and rushed for 89 yards and an additional touchdown during Wheeling’s 40-7 victory over Hersey last Friday, October 21. The win helped earn Wheeling its first trip to the IHSA State Football Playoffs since 2008. For the season, Dennis has thrown for a total of 1,423 yards and 9 touchdowns, and has rushed for 1,070 yards.
Anthony Mason of Elgin High School in Elgin, IL was named the Chicago Bears High School “Coach of the Week” for Week 9. Mason led Elgin to a 26-20 overtime win versus crosstown rival Larkin High School last Friday, October 21. Larkin entered the game at 4-4 and needed a victory to advance to the IHSA State Football Playoffs. The Maroons not only ended Larkin’s postseason hopes, but the win also gave Elgin their first victory of the season and snapped an 18-game losing streak.
- Zach Oles of Palatine High School in Palatine, IL was named the “Bears High School All-Star” for Week 8. Oles, a senior quarterback, rushed for 5 touchdowns and threw for another during the Pirates’ 49-31 victory over previously undefeated Barrington. Oles completed 14 of 20 passes for 200 yards, and rushed for an additional 67 yards on 23 carries. The win clinched the Mid-suburban West Conference title for Palatine, and moved the team’s record to 8-0 on the season.
- Mike Kohl of Bradley-Bourbonnais High School in Bradley, IL was named the Chicago Bears High School “Coach of the Week” for Week 8.Kohl directed the Boilermakers to a 38-21 victory over perennial state power Lincoln-Way East last Friday, October 14. Bradley-Bourbonnais led 28-0 at the end of the first quarter, despite running only 6 plays on offense, thanks to 2 interceptions that were returned for touchdowns. Kohl, who attended Bradley-Bourbonnais, has not had a losing season since becoming head coach in 2011. Friday’s win improved the Boilermakers record to 8-0 on the year.
Brantrell Seymore of Reavis High School in Burbank, IL was named the “Bears High School All-Star” for Week 7. Seymore, a senior running back, had 5 touchdowns in Reavis’ 39-29 win over Shepard last Friday, October 7. He returned the opening kickoff for a 97-yard touchdown, rushed for 2, and also had 2 receiving touchdowns. For the evening, Seymore finished with 148 rushing yards and 201 receiving yards, and also played defensive back for the entire game. The victory moved Reavis to 6-1 and also secured the Ram’s third straight berth in the IHSA State Football Playoffs.
Brian Doll of New Trier High School in Winnetka, IL was named the Chicago Bears High School “Coach of the Week” for Week 7.Doll led the Trevians to a 27-21 victory over Maine South last Friday, October 7. The win ended Maine South’s 77-game Central Suburban South Conference winning streak, which stretched all the way back to the 2000 season. Doll is in his third season as head coach at New Trier and has led the Trevians to the school’s best win totals since 2003. He won 10 games in his first season in 2014 and 9 in his second in 2015. New Trier is currently 5-2 on the season.
Dino Borrelli of Brother Rice High School in Chicago, IL was named the “Bears High School All-Star” for Week 6. Borrelli, a senior quarterback, completed 25 of 34 pass attempts for 387 yards and 4 touchdowns while leading the Crusaders to a 49-42 win over Mount Carmel. He also added a rushing touchdown in his winning effort. This is the first season that Borrelli has started at quarterback at the varsity level for Brother Rice.
Pat Jennings of Thornridge High School in Dolton, IL was named the Chicago Bears High School “Coach of the Week” for Week 6. Jennings led Thornridge to a 20-13 win over Stagg High School last Friday, September 30. The win helped the Falcons improve to 5-1 on the season, the best start for Thornridge since 1971. Friday’s victory also snapped the Falcon’s seven year losing streak to conference opponents on the road.
- Brenton Shaw of Harlem High School in Machesney Park, IL was named the “Bears High School All-Star” for Week 5. Shaw, a senior running back, helped Harlem storm back from a 28-14 fourth quarter deficit to defeat Belvidere North by a score of 46-28. Shaw ran for over 120 yards and 4 touchdowns in the fourth quarter alone, and finished the game with 275 rushing yards and 5 touchdowns. He also played safety on a defense that created 5 turnovers in a span of just over seven minutes. Shaw is currently on pace to break the school’s rushing record. Harlem is 4-1 on the season.
- Kurt Weinberg of Lyons Township High School in LaGrange, IL was named the Chicago Bears High School “Coach of the Week” for Week 5. Weinberg led the Lions to a 28-14 win over Glenbard West last Saturday, September 24 in Glen Ellyn. The win moved Lyons Township to 5-0 on the season and also ended Glenbard West’s 32-game West Suburban Silver Conference winning streak. The Hilltoppers hadn’t lost a conference game since October, 2010. That loss also came at the hands of Weinberg and the Lions.
Fayezon Smart of St. Laurence High School in Burbank, IL was named the “Bears High School All-Star” for Week 4. Smart, a senior running back, ran for 310 yards and two touchdowns while helping rally the Vikings to a 45-42 victory over perennial power St. Rita High School. It was St. Laurence’s first win over St. Rita since 1987, and it helped improve the Vikings’ record to 3-1 on the season.
Brett Boyter of Joliet Central High School in Joliet, IL was named the Chicago Bears High School “Coach of the Week” for Week 4. Boyter led the Steelmen to a 38-35 win over Plainfield Central last Saturday, September 17. The victory snapped a 57-game losing streak that dated back to 2010, when Joliet Central split from Joliet West and formed its own athletic program. The capacity crowd of over 2,000 watched the Steelmen score on a 30-yard touchdown reception with 29 seconds left in the game to give the program its first win. Boyter has been the head coach at Joliet Central since 2012.
PLAYER - Noah Hickcox of Boylan Catholic High School in Rockford, IL was named the “Bears High School All-Star” for Week 3. Just two days after his father, Luke, passed away from pancreatic cancer at the age of 45, Hickcox helped lead the Titans to a 17-14 win over Hononegah on “Parents’ Night” in Rockford. Hickcox returned an interception for a touchdown, recorded a safety, knocked down a fourth down pass attempt to end Hononegah’s last drive, and helped the Titans rush for over 200 yards with his play on the offensive line. A senior, Hickcox is a team captain and has verbally committed to play at Western Michigan next fall.
COACH - Rich Petroski of St. Joseph High School in Westchester, IL was named the Chicago Bears High School “Coach of the Week” for Week 3. Petroski led the Chargers to a 41-9 win over East Moline last Friday, September 9, improving St. Joseph’s record to 3-0 on the season. The Chargers have not won more than two games in a season since 2000. In his first year as head coach, Petroski’s team has outscored its opponents 119-31 and is working towards securing an appearance in the IHSA State Football Playoffs, which would be the first in the school’s history.
Jordan Rowell of IC Catholic in Elmhurst, IL was named the “Bears High School All-Star” for Week 2. Rowell, a senior running back, carried the ball 19 times for 260 yards and four touchdowns, and caught 5 passes for 111 yards and another touchdown in the Knight’s win last Friday, September 2. His five touchdowns on the evening helped Immaculate Conception, an IHSA Class 3A school, upset Class 6A St. Laurence by a score of 63-49 and move them to 2-0 on the season. Rowell is committed to play at Northern Illinois University next fall.
Paul Murphy of Waubonsie Valley High School in Aurora, IL was named the Chicago Bears High School “Coach of the Week” for Week 2. Murphy led Waubonsie Valley to a thrilling come-from-behind victory over rival Glendbard North last Friday, September 2. Trailing 28-21 with 14 seconds left, the Warriors scored on a 56-yard touchdown pass. Instead of kicking the extra point to send the game to overtime, the Warriors went for 2 and converted, giving then a 29-28 win. When asked about his gutsy decision, Murphy told reporters, “If you got momentum, give your kids a chance to make a play. And they did. That’s all I can tell you.”
PLAYER - Geno Hess of Peoria High School in Peoria, IL was named the “Bears High School All-Star” for Week 1. Hess, a junior running back, carried the ball 64 times during Peoria’s 70-63 victory over Normal West last Friday, August 26, amassing 567 yards and 8 touchdowns on the evening. According to IHSA records, Hess’ performance ranks as the second-highest single-game rushing total in state history, behind only DeAndre Hooper of Austin Community Academy High School in Chicago who rushed for 593 yards in a 1996 game.
COACH - Gene Nudo of Fenwick High School in Oak Park, IL was named the Chicago Bears High School “Coach of the Week” for Week 1. In the Friars debut at their new stadium at Triton College, Nudo led Fenwick to a 34-26 upset victory over defending Class 4A State Champion Wendell Phillips Academy. Fenwick was down 20-0 at the beginning of the second quarter before making a thrilling comeback. It was only Wendell Phillips’ second loss in their last 27 games. Coach Nudo is in his fifth season as head coach of the Friars.