Bradley Hands Thornwood First Loss In OT Thriller

Bradley 24 Thornwood 21

Bradley head coach Mike Kohl told his team all week they would have a good chance of beating undefeated Thornwood if they could hold the high flying Thunderbird offense to just three touchdowns.

Kohl was right. Bradley (3-2, 2-1) allowed Thornwood (4-1, 2-1) to reach the end zone just three times on Saturday afternoon in the Boilermakers’ 24-21 overtime victory over the Thunderbirds.

“They [Thornwood] have so many weapons, I don’t know how many Division I kids they’ve got, but they’ve got a lot of weapons on offense, and we knew it’d be a grind,” said Kohl. “We thought if we could hold them to three touchdowns, we’d win, and we said that all week.”

Freshman kicker Gavin Patterson gave Bradley the win with a 19-yard field goal.

Bradley got the ball in overtime needing only a field goal to win. The Boilermakers ran the ball on their first three overtime plays, and were unable to get the ball in the end zone. But on fourth down, the Boilermakers’ freshman kicker came through.

“The crazy thing is, our kicker [Patterson] is a freshman. Because of that, we thought we’d wait a couple downs and keep the ball in the middle of the field, run it, be conservative and give us a chance to win,” said Kohl.

The game went to overtime with a score of 21-21 after Thornwood kicker Rogelio Vargas missed a 35-yard field goal attempt in the waning seconds of regulation.

Thornwood got the ball first but was unable to score. Kicker Adrian Perez’s 24-yard field goal attempt on fourth down was blocked by Bradley’s LJ Harris.

“Our defense getting that stop at the end was huge. Any time you stop a team in overtime, it gives the momentum to the offense,” said Kohl.

It looked early on like Bradley was going to have a hard time stopping the Thunderbirds offense.

Thornwood took a quick 7-0 lead when quarterback Patrick Bolton threw a 90-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Christopher Scott on the the Thunderbirds’ first snap of the game.

Bradley wide receiver Myles Clark ran 11 yards for a touchdown on an end-around late in the first quarter, tying the game at 7-7.

Raheem Gardner’s two-yard touchdown run gave the lead back to the Thunderbirds, 14-7, with just under three minutes to go in the second quarter. Gardner finished the game with 24 carries for 103 yards and 1 touchdown.

The Boilermakers were able to answer back before the end of the first half. Quarterback Nick Pippin connected with wide receiver Myron Harris on a 7-yard touchdown pass with one minute left in the second quarter. The game was knotted 14-14 at halftime.

Thornwood scored their third and last touchdown on the team’s first possession of the second half. Bolton threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to Cedric Doxy that gave the Thunderbirds a 21-14 lead with 10 minutes remaining in the third quarter.

The Boilermakers evened the score on Clark’s second touchdown of the game. Clark caught a 13-yard touchdown pass from Pippin that tied the score at 21-21 with 5:38 left in the third quarter. Clark was Pippin’s go-to-receiver Saturday afternoon, catching 10 passes for 147 yards and one touchdown.

Bradley cornerback Antaun Patterson intercepted Bolton twice in the second half as the Boilermakers kept Thornwood off the scoreboard over the final 22 minutes of regulation and in overtime.

“We talked about overcoming adversity a lot with our team, and I thought our kids did a great job of that,” said Kohl. “Our kids fought back and competed, and it was a great win for us.”

SCORING PLAYS

FIRST QUARTER

[7:39] TW Patrick Bolton 90 yard pass to Christopher Scott (PAT good) – 7-0 TW

[0:07] BB Myles Clark 11 yard run (PAT good) – 7-7

SECOND QUARTER

[2:48] TW Raheem Gardner 2 yard run (PAT good) – 14-7 TW

[1:09] BB Nick Pippin 7 yard pass to Myron Harris (PAT good) – 14-14

THIRD QUARTER

[10:08] TW Patrick Bolton 22 yard pass to Cedric Doxy (PAT good) – 21-14 TW

[5:38] BB Nick Pippin 13 yard pass to Myles Clark (PAT good) – 21-21

OVERTIME #1

BB Gavin Patterson 19 yard Field Goal – 24-21 BB

I covered this story for the Chicago Sun-Times. It also appears on yourseason.com

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