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Pioneers running back Jacob Maziarka runs away from Frankfort Square tacklers.

Pee Wee B team advances into semifinals

Maziarka gains 113 yards in 20-6 win over Frankfort Square

 

By Ed Muniz

 
HOMER GLEN -- After completing an eight-game regular season at 4-4 the Pee Wee B Orland Park Pioneers were ready to try their hands at playoff football. They started Nov. 1 in an opening round playoff game against the Frankfort Square Wildcats in Homer Glen as part of the 2014 Southwest Junior Midget Football League Championships.
 
The pair met twice during the season with Orland Park winning both games 8-6 and 19-6. The teams entered the playoffs as the fourth and fifth seeds.
 
This game went very much the way the previous two meetings had. Coach Tom McAuliffe’s Pioneers used their methodical running attack with just enough passing, and a defense that came away with several interceptions, to control much of the play in a convincingly 20-6 win that advanced the team to this weekend’s semifinal games.
 
For starters the Pioneer defense held Frankfort Square to a three-and-out on its opening drive.
 
Then the Pioneers offense chugged away on their first possession behind the running abilities of Jimmy Rolder, Jacob Maziarka, Jake Liskiewicz and Michael Ulleweit, and the passing connection of Tommy McAuliffe to Ben Schieber. The 19-yard pass play helped sustain an 11-play scoring drive that extended into the second quarter. It ended when McAuliffe snuck in from three yards and gave the Pioneers a 7-0 lead after Holder rushed in the extra-point.
 
Frankfort Square tried to answer and looked to have their offense working well as they moved downfield. Keeping the Wildcats limited was the tackling of Schieber, Liskiewicz, Rolder, Maziarka and Ulleweit, who ended the Wildcat drive when he picked off a pass by quarterback Logan Milolainis.
 
Unable to advance the ball, the Pioneers punted back to the Wildcats as time was winding down in the first half. But two plays into its possession, Frankfort Square was again in the giving mood and surrendered another interception -- this time by Pioneer Trevor Jennings to end play in the opening half.
 
During alternating three-and-outs to open the second half, the Pioneers and Wildcats offenses were overshadowed by the defenses. For the Pioneers, Joseph Shelton, Nicholas Edelen and Holder turned up the pressure and limited every Frankfort Square rushing attempt.
 
Rolder had the knack of being wherever the Wildcats runner was going to be and made sure to secure the tackle. Throughout the game, he was a constant aggravation for the Frankfort Square offense.
 
“I was trying to keep my eyes on the ball and not get fooled on the counters they ran,” said a calm 
Rolder. Looking like he had just been on a stroll, Rolder went on to add, “We were clogging up the inside, and the only place they could get anything was going outside and that wasn’t very much.”
 
On its next possession, Orland Park did what it does best and went to the ground game. Beginning at 
their own 46-yard line, the Pioneers went on an eight-play drive that featured Maziarka, who ran four times for 38 yards.
 
Now in the final quarter and with the Pioneers at the Frankfort Square 4-yard line, Rolder boosted his teams’ advantage by powering in for the touchdown and a 13-0 Pioneers lead with just over 7 minutes left.
 
Frankfort Square did manage to put points on the score board on their next possession and used some trickery through the air to assist them. 
 
Milolainis again connected with receiver Jerry Moylan for 19 yards. Three plays later,  running 
back John Guch looked like he was going to run the ball but instead set up and threw down field finding Moylan for another 18 yards to the Pioneers 5-yard line. Guch took the next play and scored the Wildcats only points on the 5-yard run. 
 
With the score now sitting at 13-6, the Pioneers didn’t waste any time getting the points back. On the ensuing snap from scrimmage, Maziarka took off for 50 yards seemingly untouched. With the added extra point by McAuliffe, the Pioneers now led 20-6 with just a minute left in the game.
 
Orland Park saw its offense click this game but it took some doing. McAuliffe ended the day completing his two passing attempts for 41 yards, but the offensive star was Maziarka who finished the game with 113 yards on 12 carries.
 
“I think when I keep my legs moving it’s my key because a lot of teams keep tackling high,” he said
 
But the Pioneer star wasn’t satisfied completely and added that he thought he needed some improvement.
 
“I got to work on my stiff arms and work on knowing when to put my shoulder down and knowing when to dodge a kid, but I still feel I am a balanced runner and can do whatever you need," he said.
 
The Pioneers also had winning efforts from Jake Wantroba, Justin Sewers, Shaw Stukel, Tommy Ward, Luke Paciga, Kyle Peterson, Bart Dziadkowiec, Zach Ruisz and Gavin Kissane.
 
“We were a little banged up at the end, but I felt our offensive line play was huge,” said coach McAuliffe. 
“Zach Ruisz, Tommy Ward, Justin Sewers, Kyle Peterson; those guys really did a great job, you could tell 
on our quarterback sneaks, we were getting four  yards at a time moving that defensive line. This is a great group of kids, and I'm having a blast.”
 
The Pioneers face the top-seeded Dolton Bears at 11 a.m. on Nov 8 at Sandburg High School in Orland Park.
Today's Schedule: Season Schedule