36 Days to Kickoff: Coal City


NBCSportsChicago.com 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: Coal City

Head coach: Dan Hutchings

Assistant coaches: Francis Loughran, Jim Looper, Ryan Bunton, Corey Mikula, Mark Masters and Marty Egan

How they fared in 2018: 10-2 (4-0) Interstate Eight 'Large' Conference. Coal City made the Class 3A state playoff field and defeated Wheaton Academy and Johnsburg. They ended their season by losing to Richmond-Burton in quarterfinals.
2019 regular season schedule:

Aug. 30 @ Morris
Sept. 6 vs Bishop McNamara
Sept. 13 @ Herscher
Sept. 20 vs Peotone
Sept. 27 @ Streator
Oct. 4 vs Manteno
Oct. 11 @ Lisle
Oct. 18 vs Wilmington
Oct. 25 vs Reed Custer

[MORE: 96 Days to Kickoff - Morris] 

Biggest storyline: The Coalers have made the IHSA playoffs in 29 of the past 32 seasons. They may give their fans reasons to cheer again. Can the Coalers live up to the preseason hype? Can they make a deep run in the state playoffs in 2019?

Names to watch this season: DE Brady Crawford (Senior, Sioux Falls) and LB/TE Austin Pullara (Senior)

Biggest holes to fill: The Coalers welcome back 13 starters from last season (seven offense, six defense) but are looking to fill a few key spots including defensive tackle, defensive back and wide receiver. 

EDGY's Early Take: The Coalers opened up some eyes last season. They look to have the makings of a team that's ready to break out even more this fall. The offense has some key names back including QB Payton Hutchings (Illinois/baseball)-- the son of head coach Dan Hutchings. RB Daniel Jezik is back as well along with several key playmakers on defense. Look for Brady Crawford and Austin Pullara to stand out on that side of the ball. Coal City also enters a new conference: the Illinois Central Eight. While the schedule is a beast (they open at Morris, then host Bishop Mac), the Coalers have a lot of positives entering the 2019 season.

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