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MIchael Ulleweit charges through the Dolton Bears defense during the Pioneers semifinal win.

Late touchdown, defensive stand
move PeeWee Bs into final

Pioneers defeat Dolton for 1st time this season
 

By Ed Muniz
Photos by Ken Dado

 

ORLAND PARK -- “If I could only get another chance. If only I could get another opportunity." For a lot of us, we have said that about some experience we wish we could have another go at again: “Just give me one more shot!”
 
Most times it doesn't happen. And even when it does, often we end up asking for another try because we faltered once again.
 
Twice this year, Tom McAuliffe’s PeeWee B Pioneers have had their opportunity, their shot to knock off the Dolton Bears. Each time they were in the game but when it was over, they walked away as the vanquished team.
 
Getting a third shot at Dolton was all these Pioneers wanted. They relished the chance to prove they could beat the Bears and looked forward to making the third time the charm in their Southwest Junior Midget Football League semifinal Nov. 8 at Sandburg High School.
 
This time the outcome was one to their liking.
 
The Pioneers went on defense to start the game and saw Dolton run a few plays with some success. After giving up a long 25-yard run, the Orland Park "D" abruptly ended the Bears drive when Jacob Maziarka stepped in front of a Dolton pass for an interception.
 
Led by quarterback Tommy McAuliffe, the Pioneers offense kicked into gear on their very first possession and moved the ball downfield using the running abilities of Michael Ulleweit and Maziarka. 
 
Working their way down the field, the Pioneers got a few yards at a time and controlled the clock. The ended in a hurry when McAuliffe handed off to Maziarka who outran his Dolton pursuers for a 45-yard touchdown. The failed extra-point kept the Pioneers' lead at 6-0 after one quarter.
 
Ulleweit, Julian Loeza and Nicholas Edelen applied just enough defense to switch possession to the Pioneer offense after a four-and-out. But two plays later, Orland Park fumbled the ball and Dolton recovered.
 
The score went to 7-6 on the Dolton's next series. The Bears moved the ball downfield on a march which included a 34-yard run that could have been longer if not for a tackle by Edelen. The extra-point put Orland Park in a 1-point hole as the first half concluded.
 
Opening the second half on offense, Orland Park tried to establish a run game again but was stuffed on three tries. Forced to pass, the Pioneers didn’t find the mark and lost the ball on downs to Dolton. 
 
Jake Wantroba, Justin Sewers, Joseph Shelton and Ben Schieber picked up their defensive play and stopped the Bears cold on four plays.
 
The Pioneers ate up the rest of the third period using their running attack to grab yards. Entering the final quarter and still trailing, the Pioneers were desperate to grab the lead but unable to convert on a fourth down attempt.
 
Jacob Maziarka finds room to run against the Dolton defense.
 
Orland Park picked up its defensive efforts and looked for another turnover. Back-to-back tackles by Maziarka, the second for a seven-yard loss, made the Bears go to the air on fourth down. The pass fell incomplete and now the Pioneers went back on offense.
 
Knowing this could be their last possession, the Pioneers began to attack and saw runs by Ulleweit and Maziarka gain positive yards. A McAuliffe-to-Loeza connection went for eight more yards and moved the Pioneers closer to paydirt.
 
Two more rushes by Maziarka added to the Pioneer yardage but not enough that McAuliffe didn't need to pass again. He found his receiver, this time connecting with Schieber, for eight yards to the Bears 9-yard line. 
 
A Dolton penalty gave the Pioneers a first-and-goal from the Bears 5. It took three plays, but when Maziarka busted through the Bears defensive line and went into the end zone from a yard out, the Pioneers and their fans went crazy loud. A championship berth was now very close. 
 
McAuliffe passed to Trevor Jennings for the added-point and the Pioneers led 13-7 with 3 minutes left.
 
Dangerous Dolton did move the ball on their last drive but Shelton, McAuliffe, Bart Dziadkowiec, Maziarka, Ulleweit and Loeza made one last stand. The final Bears play was stopped by Dziakowiec and gave the Orland Park Pioneers their chance to make two losses right!
 
“I thought we played great. They actually thought they could beat them and went out and did it,” said coach McAuliffe. “Jake Maziarka and Mikey Ulleweit came through in a big way for us. They were able to step in and step up playing positions they weren’t used to. Both did a terrific job."
 
Despite missing a key player, the Pioneers outplayed Dolton and showed the talent they have. Injured Jimmy Rolder has been a huge part of the team. He looks to return for the championship game.
 
Elevating their games, Maziarka and Ulleweit led the Pioneer efforts. Ten-year-old Maziarka was the go-to guy when the Pioneers needed a score. His efforts rushing the ball on offense and stopping the run defensively were vital in the win.
 
“I just read the plays good on defense and when number 51 got the ball I cut through the hole to tackle him,” said Maziarka.
 
“There was a little bit of a struggle in the second half when they started blocking me a lot more, but then I figured out a way to still make the tackle. They tried to send their big back to block me but a lot of times I was already in making the tackle. On offense I could have run the ball up the middle a little better.”
 
Teammate Ulleweit said playing on both sides of the ball is his specialty.
 
“I think I did good when I was running the ball and hitting the holes hard and getting the extra yards. And on defense I think I did good making the tackles," he said. "I think I played at an A grade this game and most of the time. I really wanted to beat this team. Our team’s attitude was we wanted to win more than them. We played more physically.”
 
Shaw Stukel, Tommy Ward, Luke Paciga, Kyle Peterson, Jackson Schramm, Ryan McPolin, Jake Liskiewicz, Zachary Ruisz, Thomas Starcevich and Gavin Kissane did their part in the Pioneers' semifinal win. Now it's on the the championship game!
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