Preps Talk

Thornton coach Bill Mosel stepping down after 29 years


Thornton coach Bill Mosel stepping down after 29 years

Thornton Township head football coach Bill Mosel, who is also the school's athletic director, announced last week (with little fanfare) that he would be stepping down from his coaching position after 29 years leading the Wildcats.

I first ran into Bill Mosel in the stands while scouting a Lincoln-Way Knights game (only one school way back when; it’s now Lincoln-Way Central). I had no idea that I would end up covering him and befriending him over the past 20-plus years. Mosel was — and remains — a humble high school football coach who loves the game, who would go to games all over the state including his annual trip to the IHSA state football finals. Needles to say, we have a few things in common, most importantly high school football.

Mosel, an Eisenhower High School graduate, coached Thornton Township for 29 seasons. He posted a 195-105 overall record, leading the Wildcats to the 1990 Class 6A state football title. Mosel also sent hundreds of student athletes to play college football. Included in those numbers are about a dozen of former Wildcats who played in the NFL. Antwaan Randle El, Napoleon Harris and Tai Streets are just a few of the thousands of players who Mosel coached and guided during his career at the Harvey-based school. Ironically, the new head coach for the Wildcats will be Dontrell Jackson — a former Wildcat quarterback. The Wildcats program figures to remain in very good hands.

While the wins and the names are impressive to say the least, my favorite memories from the Bill Mosel Era have very little to do with being on the field.

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I'll always remember the first time he gave me a tour of the Lou Boudreau Room inside of the Wildcats field house. The Boudreau Room, named after one of Thornton Township's most famous alumus — the Hall of Fame baseball player and major league manager — is a well-kept history of everything Thornton sports dating back to early 1900s. Mosel took immediate pride in showing off the history, a pride that was always reflected in his team and his program year in and year out.

Another favorite time of mine was National Signing Day. It was always a special day for Mosel, his coaches and players’ families. Mosel would make sure to include every single player who was expected to play in college as a part of the day, no matter which level the kids would play in college. When it came to college football and recruiting, nobody worked harder for his kids and went above and beyond more than Mosel. He would get coaches from across the country each and every year into his school. Every college coach who made the visit to Thornton left with an abundance of information.

But the one lasting impression that will always stay with me? Watching him, a macho, tough-guy football coach, grabbing the hand of one captain on each side and then walking his team hand in hand onto the field. It was a sight that you just never, ever expected. It's also a sight that I know I'll miss starting in 2015.

Knowing Mosel as long as I have, I also have a feeling he's not done coaching football. Mosel has it in his veins. While this large chapter of his career is coming to an end, the overall story I feel is still not finished just yet.

Warren's Willis Singleton Jr. commits to Iowa State


Warren's Willis Singleton Jr. commits to Iowa State

Warren Township 3-star ranked senior defensive tackle Willis Singleton Jr. (6-foot-2, 285 pounds) announced his college decision today and gave Iowa State his verbal commitment. Singleton Jr. who ended up with 20 scholarship offers this summer discussed his decision.

"Iowa State was my first Power 5 offer," Singleton Jr. said. "We kept just building up our relationship and it just became bigger and bigger. I was able to pick up some big Power 5 offers late (including Illinois and Michigan State) but it was never about the name or the hype for me. It's always been about the relationships for me and I have that with Iowa State."

Singleton Jr. was able to visit the Ames, Iowa, school multiple times before. That familiarity with the coaches and the players was also a big factor in his decision.

"Isaiah Lee (current Iowa State and former Nazareth Academy defensive linemen) was a big help for me with just getting it straight from him on everything at Iowa State and I've known Isaiah for awhile now," Singleton Jr. said. "I've spent a lot of time at Iowa State around the coaches and the players and more than once I was there more than 24 hours just getting to know them. I just felt like Iowa State was the place for me in my heart in the end and Iowa State is the place for me."

Singleton Jr. had narrowed down his final list of schools to the Cyclones along with Illinois, Michigan State, Cincinnati and Louisville.

46 Days to Kickoff: Downers Grove North

46 Days to Kickoff: Downers Grove North preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting Aug. 5, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 30.

School: Downers Grove North

Head coach: Joe Horeni

Assistant coaches: Keith Litchenberg, Bill Kleckner, Terry Kent, Chad Isaacason, Josh Croci, Todd Cassens, Chris Guerreri, Mike Franzese, Kyle Briscoe, Greg Purnell, Pat Fleming and Max Gilbert

How they fared in 2018: 4-5 (2-4 West Suburban Silver Conference) Downers North failed to qualify for the IHSA state football playoff field.

2019 regular season schedule:

Aug. 30 @ Buffalo Grove

Sept. 6 vs Addison Trail

Sept. 13 vs York

Sept. 20 @ Proviso West

Sept. 27 @ Hinsdale Central

Oct. 4 vs Glenbard West

Oct. 11 @ OPRF

Oct. 18 vs Lyons Township

Oct. 25 @ Downers Grove South

Biggest storyline: The Trojans missed a winning season (and possibly a playoff berth) in a heartbreaking loss to York in last year’s season finale. Can the motivated Trojans get over the top this season and into the IHSA state playoff field?

Names to watch this season: QB Drew Cassens (Sr.) and S Mark Dennison (Sr.)

Biggest holes to fill: The Trojans welcome back 13 returning starters (six offense, seven defense) this season, but they will be a bit inexperienced on the defensive line this fall. 

EDGY's Early Take: Downers Grove North came within a few plays of making the IHSA state football playoffs last season, which included close losses to OPRF (21-14) and York (14-7). The Trojans, guided by head coach Joe Horeni, welcome back several key names from the 2018 season including senior QB Drew Cassens. A big key for the Trojans this season will be getting off to a good start before hitting a very tough middle portion of the regular season schedule.