State Stories


2014 Chicago Bears Weekly High School All-Star Player & Coach of the Week

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Throughout the 2014 high school football regular-season (Sept. 1 through Oct. 27) 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 $1,500 contribution to the football program at each winning coach’s school. Throughout the program’s 18-year existence, the Bears have donated over $232,000 to Illinois high schools in support of their football programs. All 2014 honorees will be invited to Soldier Field, where they will be recognized on December 21 when the Bears host the Detroit Lions.

All press releases below are courtesy of the Chicago Bears:

Mike Maloney
of Johnsburg High School in Johnsburg, IL was named the Chicago Bears High School “Coach of the Week” for Week 9.

Maloney helped Johnsburg secure the Big Northern East Conference title with a 62-14 victory over Harvard High School last Friday. In his previous two years at Johnsburg, Maloney had a combined 1-17 record, but in 2014 he led the Skyhawks to an 8-1 regular season record and number four seed in the Class 4A IHSA State Football Playoffs. Maloney, who previously coached at Joliet Central, played football at Joliet Catholic and the University of Illinois.

Ben Klett of Lake Zurich High School in Lake Zurich, IL was named the “Bears High School All-Star” for Week 9.

Klett, a junior running back, helped lead Lake Zurich to a 38-21 victory over Vernon Hills in a must-win game last Friday. Needing a win to secure a berth in the IHSA State Football Playoffs, Lake Zurich trailed 9-3 at the half and 21-18 going into the fourth quarter. Klett exploded for three touchdowns in the second half of the game, accounting for Lake Zurich’s 20 unanswered points. He carried the ball 27 times for 240 yards on the night. Lake Zurich will face Addison Trail in Class 7A action on Saturday night.

Jon Hebb
of Rushville-Industry High School in Rushville, IL was named the Chicago Bears High School “Coach of the Week” for Week 8.

Hebb has Rushville-Industry back in the IHSA state playoffs for the first time since 2007. The Rockets improved to 7-1 on the season following a 22-6 victory over Sciota West Prairie last Friday. The “ground and pound” style that Hebb has instituted has led to 1,901 rushing yards and 288 passing yards so far on the year. Hebb has made his first year as a head coach a family affair, hiring his father Mark, a long-time high school and college football coach in Michigan, as defensive coordinator. Together the Hebbs have revitalized a football program that had compiled a 10-44 record over the past seven years.

Tucker McCann
of O’Fallon High School in O’Fallon, IL was named the “Bears High School All-Star” for Week 8.

McCann, a junior kicker, set a state record when he kicked a 60-yard field goal in the first quarter of O’Fallon’s 16-13 loss to Belleville East. The kick broke the previous record of 59 yards, set by Lockport’s Nick Setta in 1996.

Nate Eimer
of West Aurora High School in Aurora, IL was named the Chicago Bears High School “Coach of the Week” for Week 7.

Eimer and West Aurora stunned previously unbeaten Waubonsie Valley last Friday with a 27-24 victory in double overtime. Eimer’s decision to stick with junior kicker Darryl Watkins after struggling earlier in the season paid off, as Watkins made a 36-yard field goal with 10 seconds left to force overtime and then hit the game-winner from 29 yards in the second overtime. Despite already being eliminated from IHSA state playoff contention, Eimer kept his team focused and led them to one of the biggest wins in school history. Eimer is a 2001 graduate of West Aurora and is in his fourth season as head coach.

Colby Roundtree of Chicago Christian High School in Palos Heights, IL was named the “Bears High School All-Star” for Week 7.

Roundtree, a senior, scored six touchdowns in the Knights’ 38-34 victory over conference foe Elmwood Park last Friday night, including the game-winner with 34 seconds left. A contributor on defense as well, Roundtree also hauled in a game-ending interception to seal the win. The victory moved Chicago Christian to 3-4 on the season and kept them in IHSA state playoff contention.

Tony Palombi
of Bloom Township High School in Chicago Heights, IL was named the Chicago Bears High School “Coach of the Week” for Week 6.

Palombi led Bloom Township to an 8-7 victory over Crete-Monee last Saturday afternoon. The win not only moved the Blazing Trojans to 5-1 on the season, but it snapped Crete-Monee’s 34-game conference winning streak that dated back to 2007. The defense accounted for all of Bloom Township’s points, scoring on a 100-yard interception return for a touchdown and recording a safety in the fourth quarter that put the Blazing Trojans ahead for good. Palombi, who has been a high school football coach at the assistant or head level for over 20 years, has his team in position to reach the IHSA state playoffs for the third consecutive season.

Torian Lewis of Thornton Fractional South High School in Lansing, IL was named the “Bears High School All-Star” for Week 6.

Lewis, a senior corner and running back, helped lead Thornton Fractional South to a 34-19 win over South Suburban Blue foe Tinley Park last Friday night. Lewis had two interceptions in the first half and also picked off a two-point conversion attempt. In the second half, the two-way player ran for two touchdowns and helped the Rebels overcome a 19-12 deficit halfway through the third quarter. Lewis finished with 137 yards on nine carries and helped Thornton Fractional South improve to 4-2 on the season.

Matt Weckler of DeKalb High School in DeKalb, IL was named the Chicago Bears High School “Coach of the Week” for Week 5.

Weckler led DeKalb to a 37-34 victory last Friday over conference foe Kaneland. The win moved the Barbs to 5-0 on the season and kept them in the hunt for a Northern Illinois Big XII East Conference title, which would be the school’s first since 1989. In his second year at the helm, Weckler has the Barbs off to their best start in 25 years, already matching last year’s win total. DeKalb, who lost to eventual state champion Batavia in the first round of the Class 6A playoffs in 2013, has never made back-to-back playoff appearances.

Mike Weller of Lincoln-Way East High School in Frankfort, IL was named the “Bears High School All-Star” for Week 5.

Weller, a senior quarterback, led the Griffins to an amazing 43-40 comeback win over second-ranked Homewood-Flossmoor last Friday after falling behind 20-0 in the first quarter. Weller completed 22 of 36 passes for 346 yards and two touchdowns to help improve Lincoln-Way East’s record to 4-1 on the season. “This is one of the biggest wins this program has had in a few years,” said head coach Rob Zvonar. “I’m so proud of this team. They never quit.”

Gerald Temples
of Sullivan-Okaw Valley High School in Sullivan, IL was named the Chicago Bears High School “Coach of the Week” for Week 4.

Temples, in his first year as head coach at Sullivan-Okaw Valley, has his team off to a 4-0 start following a 42-0 victory over Warrensberg-Latham last week. After enduring 12 consecutive losing seasons in which they never won more than four games, the Redskins have already surpassed their win total from 2013. Additionally, Temples’ team has already scored more points through four games than it did in nine games last season. Temples is in his 25th season as a high school head coach, and he has a career record of 156-88.

For the first time in the program’s history, co-winners have been selected for the “Bears High School All-Stars” award. Noah Freemon and Brandon Wildman of Monticello High School in Monticello, IL were named “Bears High School All-Stars” for Week 4.

Freemon and Wildman both moved up in the IHSA records book after turning in stellar performances in Monticello’s 58-55 come-from-behind victory over second-ranked Unity (Class 3A) last Friday. Freemon, a junior wide receiver, had the second best single-game receiving effort in IHSA history, amassing 337 yards on 10 receptions and scoring four touchdowns, including the game-winner in the final two minutes. Wildman, a junior quarterback, completed 27 of 55 passes for 587 yards and six touchdowns. His performance currently ranks as the fourth best single-game passing yardage performance in IHSA history. The Sages are currently 3-1 on the season.

Troy McAllister of Wendell Phillips Academy High School in Chicago was named the Chicago Bears High School “Coach of the Week” for Week 3.

McAllister led Phillips to a stunning 40-7 upset over Naperville North High School last Saturday at Lane Stadium. Naperville North, with an enrollment of 3,019 students, entered the game undefeated and ranked 18th in Class 8A. Phillips, which has an enrollment of 635 and was a Class 4A quarterfinalist in 2013, started fast by scoring a touchdown on a 76-yard run on the second play from scrimmage. The Wildcats recovered three fumbles, had three sacks, and held Naperville North to 167 rushing yards and 103 passing yards.

Now in his fourth year at the helm at Phillips, McAllister has led his team to the IHSA playoffs in two of the past three seasons. According to IHSA records, Phillips has made the state playoffs three times in school history, with the only appearance prior to McAllister’s arrival coming in 1985.

Dewayne Collins of Wendell Phillips Academy High School in Chicago was named the “Bears High School All-Star” for Week 3.

Collins, a senior quarterback, helped lead Phillips to a 40-7 upset victory over Naperville North High School last Saturday, amassing 268 rushing yards. He carried the ball 17 times, scoring touchdowns on runs of 76, 51, and 55 yards. He also threw for 47 yards, including an 18-yard touchdown pass. The Wildcats, Class 4A quarterfinalists in 2013, are currently 2-1 on the season.

Tim Sughroue of Hononegah High School in Rockton, IL was named the Chicago Bears High School “Coach of the Week” for Week 2.

Sughroue led Hononegah to a 35-34 win over Boylan High School last Friday, snapping Boylan’s 75-game winning streak in the NIC-10 conference that had spanned a decade. Trailing 34-27, the Indians scored a touchdown with 21 seconds remaining in the game. Electing to go for two points and the win, Hononegah converted, giving them a thrilling victory over perennial power Boylan. The Indians are currently 2-0 on the season.

Tyler Hutchinson of Greenville High School in Greenville, IL was named the “Bears High School All-Star” for Week 2.

Hutchinson, a senior quarterback, tied an IHSA record from 1949 by throwing nine touchdown passes (34-39, 469 yards) in the Comets’ 77-36 win over Southwestern High School last Saturday. Through two games and six quarters of action, Hutchinson has thrown 15 touchdown passes.

Dan Hartman of Hinsdale Central High School in Hinsdale was named the Chicago Bears High School “Coach of the Week” for Week 1.

Hartman’s first game as head coach at Hinsdale Central was a memorable one as his Red Devils stunned top-ranked Bolingbrook, on the road, by a score of 23-15. Following a 30-minute lightning delay and a 15-14 halftime deficit, Hartman rallied his team to a huge non-conference win. The Red Devils lived up to their team motto of “Everybody, every game,” with big contributions from all three phases. The defense had three sacks in the second half, special teams blocked two punts, one of which was returned for a touchdown in the first quarter and Hinsdale Central QB Matt Rafferty turned in a solid performance, throwing for 173 yards and two touchdowns.

Davis Neilands of Maine South High School in Park Ridge was named the “Bears High School All-Star” for Week 1.

Maine South trailed Montini 35-29 with 13.8 seconds remaining in the game when Neilands, a senior defensive tackle, blocked a punt and returned it 25 yards for a touchdown to give the Hawks a thrilling 36-35 victory over the 11th ranked Broncos. Montini held a commanding 35-15 lead late in the fourth quarter when Maine South came roaring back to score three touchdowns in the final three minutes, giving them the stunning road win to open their season. Neilands is a first-teamer for the Hawks on defense, kickoffs, punts and punt returns and PATs.