Midwest BOOM cemented their No.1 status as the top 7v7 program in the country after winning the 2018 Pro Football Hall of Fame National Championship and the 2018 NFA 7v7 National Championship this spring. Since opening in 2013, Illinois’ Midwest BOOM has won 6 national championships, 4 national runner ups, and 39 total tournaments. Assistant General Manager J.R. Niklos and Assistant General Manager Elliot Ivory cofounded Midwest Boom together in the Chicago area six years ago. “One of our main goals is to put Illinois football on the map. We want to display our talent on the national level”, said Ivory. Teams ranging from 10u to 18u compete in local and national 7v7 tournaments each year under their umbrella. Midwest Boom has over 300+ D1 Alumni and 50+ NFL Alumni in their brief six year history. Former BOOM players shining in college football right now are Julian Love, Houston Griffith, CeeDee Lamb, and Chris Bell.
A huge role in the success of the Midwest BOOM program is tied to the founding fathers of the program. 18U Defensive Coordinator Mike Niklos, 18U Offensive Coordinator Lonny Stare, and Defensive Coordinator Storm Warner are the original dads that have been coaching at Midwest Boom since year one. Cofounders J.R. Niklos and Elliot Ivory along with the founding fathers have turned Midwest Boom into a 7v7 powerhouse attracting top players in the Midwest annually.
In their second year of competition, Midwest BOOM broke through winning the 2014 Pylon Youth 7v7 National Championship. The 2014 team put BOOM on the map nationwide and captured the very first major tournament win for the upstart program. The following year BOOM won the 2015 NFA Futures National Championship.
In 2016, Midwest Boom became the first team to win both the NFA 7v7 National Championship and the Pylon 7v7 National Championship in the same season. Midwest Boom finished the year as the first-ever undisputed number one 7v7 program in the country. “It was a huge deal for our program. One of the most surreal feelings ever”, said Ivory. “Between both tournaments you face all of the top teams in the country. And that year everyone knew a team from Chicago was serious business”, Ivory stated. Later in the fall of 2016, Adidas featured Midwest Boom 7v7 in a commercial that aired on NBC along with top athletes such as Von Miller, James Harden, and Kris Bryant.
BOOM flexed their muscles again this spring finishing as the undisputed 2018 7v7 National Champion for the second time in three years. BOOM won the inaugural Pro Football Hall of Fame 7v7 National Championship in Canton, Ohio in May and captured the NFA 7v7 National Championship in Bradenton, Florida in June.
2020 quarterback Mark Gronowski out of Neuqua Valley High School led Midwest Boom to the NFA 7v7 National Championship over Cam Newton’s All Star team 24-22. After a controversial decision in the championship game forced a replay of third down, Midwest Boom had to overcome adversity. Needing a conversion on 3rd and 15 to avoid overtime, Gronowski connected with 2019 WR Jamal Fomby for a first down to secure the championship for BOOM. “Coach Stare is a veteran in the game. He called the right play and it was money”, said Ivory.
2019 WR Michael Love out of Nazareth HS put on a show in the NFA Championships. Going up against elite players with power 5 offers, Love rose to the occasion and made an impact on the national
scene. Love currently has offers from Bowling Green, Northern Illinois, and Western Kentucky. “He was the overall MVP of the NFA event last weekend. Love has shown so much improvement”, said Ivory. “He’s the most underrated player in his class by far and it showed down at IMG”, he added. “Western Michigan commit Cory Crooms had a great weekend for us also.”
“This is a dynasty. We put the work in and earned the right to carry ourselves the way that we do”, said Ivory. Midwest Boom has their sights on another title run when the 7v7 season starts up again next February.
~By Cody Butler