The Brookfield Bulldogs have set in a solid third place in the Clarence Cannon Conference since joining the elite league a few years ago. The Dogs are optimistic that this season they will be able to break through the wall of Centralia and Macon that has held them back.
The Dogs are in their fifth season under Head Coach Nile Thudium, who has compiled a 31-11 record in the past four years. Coach Thudium is 70-35 in his 10 seasons coaching overall. He is joined by Assistant Coaches Dave Shaw, Brock Hicks, Matt Lincoln, and Jerod Gillman.
Last season, the Dogs went 7-4. “We had more questions than answers entering last season,” admitted Coach Thudium. “We only returned two starters on the offensive side of the ball, and four on defense. Although we were winning games early, we really started off very slow offensively. We were putting the ball on the ground too much, our timing was off and we just simply were not executing very well.”
Coach Thudium continued: “Somewhere around the middle of the year we found an identity running the football, and that paid dividends for us. Although we suffered three straight losses toward the end of the season to Macon, Centralia and Clark County, we really felt like we were playing at a much higher level. We shut out our opponent in the opening round of districts and had the lead with only a few minutes on the clock in the following round versus Bishop Leblond before losing on a long pass play.”
He concluded: “There’s no doubt that our team had greatly improved from week one to week eleven. I thought our senior class did an outstanding job of providing positive leadership to our underclassmen.”
The Dogs return 15 starters from both sides of the football from last season's campaign. The boys in blue and white will run the Shotgun Zone Fly offense. Top returning offensive starters will be JJ Abongo, who was an All-Conference and All-District All-Purpose Back. Reed McBroom returns at running back, and earned second team All-District honors last year. Anchoring the line will be Ryan Elliott, who was also a second team All-District lineman.
Stepping up to the main event this year on offense for Brookfield are expected to be the following players. Quincy Cooper will see more time on the offensive line, and is a big junior in the trenches. Garrett Zahner and Brycen Corf will be expected to make impacts at running back, while Cort Speichinger will step up at wide receiver.
Page 2 of 2 - “We have a very talented group of running backs,” said Coach Thudium. “We have a good mixture of speed, quickness and power.”
Defensively, the Dogs will run out of a base 4-3. Defensive coordinators Dave Shaw and Matt Lincoln have a combined 36 years of experience between them.
Top returning defensive starters are set to include the following. Zach McConkey earned second team All-District honors at defensive end, and Brycen Corf earned the same honors on the defensive line. Zach Bragg and Dean Gall also return at linebacker for the Dogs.
Stepping into the limelight defensively for Brookfield are expected to be the following. Anthony Cupp, a part time starter last season, will see more time as a defensive back. Cooper and Speichinger will also see time at the varsity level on defense.
“We believe our defensive line has the potential to be one of the best we have seen in a long time,” said Coach Thudium.