Bulldog football clinches playoff bid


Courtesy of Christy Hughes

Chris Doherty runs for a touchdown against Wheaton Academy.

Ethan Taylor, Staff Reporter

After a crucial 20-17 win at Wheaton Academy High School on October 18, the Bulldogs clinched a spot in the IHSA state playoffs for the fifth time in six years.

After an unfavorable 2018 season that concluded with a 2-7 record, the team was quick to turn things around, and churned out a 6-3 record only one season after missing the playoffs for the first time in five years. The Bulldogs capitalized on close-scoring games, winning three games by six points or less.

The Bulldogs averaged a respectable 26.3 points-per-game this year, in large part due to their new starting quarterback, Matthew Torres. The Bulldogs have started three quarterbacks in the past two years, and finding stability at the position has improved the team as a whole. Torres has thrown for 17 touchdowns this year and ran for five more.

The Bulldogs offense has been helped heavily by their deep wide receiver core, led by sophomore Matt Novak, junior Nic Novak, and senior Daniel Hillyer. The Bulldogs run game has been anchored by senior running backs Luke Gentile, Christopher Doherty and Eddie Pena, who have scored 12, three and five touchdowns respectively for the Bulldogs.

On the other side of the ball, the defense is led by senior defensive end Rahim Kouferidji, senior linebacker Pena, safety/linebacker Gentile, and cornerback Doherty. Kouferidji leads the team in sacks with seven, Pena has added two defensive touchdowns and Doherty has added an interception.

The Bulldogs first game of the 2019 state playoffs is against Kenwood Academy High School at Gately Stadium in the southside of Chicago on Saturday, November 2 at 7pm. The Bulldogs enter the 6A state playoffs as the 10 seed in the northern bracket, and will be hosted by the Kenwood Broncos, who earned the seven seed after finishing the 2019 season with a 7-1 record.

The Bulldogs finished the 2019 regular season with a 5-0 record on the road, and a 1-3 record when playing on their home turf; but that doesn’t come without an asterisk. The Bulldogs three loses at home came against opponents who had a combined record of 22-5, and all three teams are contenders for the 4A state title. 

RB is offering a fan bus on Saturday, November 2 to Gately Stadium for $5. Students will have the ability to go cheer on the Bulldogs in their most important game of the year.