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Trevor Jennings (from left), Zachary Ruisz and Thomas Starcevich repels Dolton's rushers Sunday.

Pee Wee B team falls
short in revenge bid

Dolton prevails 12-0 in hard-fought contest

 

By Ed Muniz

 
ORLAND PARK -- We have all thought at some time in our lives, “If only I had another chance.“ In athletics, it’s all about a rematch, another shot at your opponent to turn what you thought was wrong into a right.
 
Coach Tom McAuliffe and his Pee Wee B team must have thought that exact thing. Here they were this past Sunday with a second chance as they hosted the Dolton Bears.
 
The Bears and Pioneers first met just two weeks earlier, with the Bears holding off the Pioneers for a 14-8 win in Dolton. This time around, the Pioneers wanted to reciprocate and send the Bears and their fans home feeling like they did.
 
If you follow trends, and there are a lot in sports, for Orland Park this year it’s been lose one, win one, lose one, win one, etc. At 3-3 and after winning last week, the trend for the Pioneers was against them and that held true when the Bears accomplished the two-game sweep with a 12-0 win.
 
Dolton came in looking to get back to their winning ways after being upset last week and losing for the first time this season.
 
The first quarter saw the Pioneers and Bears offenses each sustain multiple-play drives. Orland Park opened with a 10-play march and used the running of Jimmy Holder, Jacob Maziarka, Michael Ulleweit and Jake Liskiewicz to maintain control of the ball and clock.
 
Driving to just past midfield, Orland Park stalled and failed to convert a fourth down play as the Bears stepped up their defensive pressure.
 
Dolton went on offense, and they, too, looked to get rolling. What they met was a Pioneers defense that made every inch difficult to gain. Ben Schieber led the Pioneers' efforts, making four solo tackles in the Bears' first eight plays. Shaw Stukel added his defensive presence to stuff the Bears.
 
The Pioneers regained possession when Tommy Ward snatched up a Dolton fumble at the Bears 49. The next play, quarterback Tommy McAuliffe was given enough time to look downfield and find Trevor Jennings. They connected on a 28-yard pass before Jennings was tackled at the 21-yard line.
 
Orland Park went to the ground game over the next three plays but couldn’t dent the Bears defense. On fourth down the Pioneers went to the air, but a McAuliffe pass was intercepted to end the drive.
 
Over the next few minutes, both teams exchanged interceptions in the back-and-forth, evenly matched game. Justin Sewers grabbed an errant Bears pass, but two plays later the Pioneers returned the favor with just 49 seconds left in the half.
 
Seconds before halftime, a Bears runner somehow eluded several Pioneers tacklers after it looked like he was stopped. He used his new-found freedom to race 74 yards for a 6-0 lead.
 

Jacob Maziarka finds running room against Dolton.

 
The Pioneers offense was unable to do much in the third quarter, but the defense responded to the late first-half touchdown with fierce pursuit. That led to another Bears turnover when Julian Loeza intercepted a pass.
 
Bart Dziadkowiec had several key tackles for the Pioneers, who kept the Bears from doing much offensively.
 
“I kept pushing the center back on every play and was overpowering the guy. Then I’d find the guy and make the tackle,” said the nose tackle. “I want to do (All-Pro NFL lineman) J.J. Watt stuff, jump up, block the pass and get sacks.”
 
Despite Dziadkowiec being a menace to the Bears, another big play by the Bears backfield helped them to ice the game. With just seven seconds left in the third quarter, all the Pioneers' defensive efforts went for naught as a Bears ball carrier again wove through the defense and scored on a 39-yard run to take a 12-0 lead.
 
In the fourth quarter, the Pioneers offense was on the field nearly the whole time. Running backs Holder, Maziarka and McAuliffe kept pushing the ball toward the end zone. McAuliffe also completed a 12-yard pass to Liskiewicz, but once again the Pioneers couldn’t find that needed burst and the offense stalled to end the game.
 
“They’re a tough team. They come out, and they play hard,” coach McAuliffe said of Dolton. “Our guys didn’t quit, but our line play struggled; it looked like there was some confusion and they couldn’t get off the ball for some reason, just late off the ball. That’s something we have to work on.”
 
The Pioneers also received contributions in the tough game from Jake Wantroba, Joseph Shelton, Luke Paciga, Jackson Schramm, Nicholas Edelen, Ryan McPolin, Zachary Ruisz, Thomas Starcevich and Gavin Kissane.
 
Coach McAuliffe knows he has a team that can compete with anyone. He stated, “We have the athletes. We’re a very good team, if we do the things we’re supposed to do, we can play with anyone. I expect us to improve next week and on into the playoffs.”
 
Cheering on the Pioneers were Amber Hoak, Averey Bartley, Paige Gasparas, Samantha Jefferies, Natalia Startton, Betty Tsoutas, Kayla Thurner, Giselle Jreisat, Emma Herout, Claudia Sawic, Genevieve Schramm, Mariah Karamagianis, Mia Maniatias and Victoria Zdenovec.
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