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Pee Wee Bs battle, fall in title game

Come up on short end of 13-0 decision

 

By Kevin McGavin

TINLEY PARK -- Orland Park was on the cusp of forging the equalizer Saturday afternoon.
 
But it was not meant to be.
 
The Pioneers’ Pee Wee B team marched inside the 5-yard line and hoped to make amends for its one-score deficit.
 
On the first play of the fourth quarter, however, Orland Park turned the ball over on first-and-goal from the Stallions’ 3-yard line.
 
Homer proceeded to march the length of the field with big plays to add another touchdown in its 13-0 victory in the Pee Wee B Southwest Junior Midwest Football League championship game at Andrew High School.
 
The pivotal turnover came one play after Michael Ulleweit had a 17-yard run that put the Pioneers on the Stallions’ doorstep.
 
“We just got too cocky and fumbled,” Orland Park quarterback Tommy McAuliffe said.
 
“(The fumble) took the wind out of our sails,” Orland Park head coach Tom McAuliffe said. “Football is a game of inches. We had a bad exchange. We tried to make a stop (on the Stallions’ ensuing possession), but we lost the wind out of our sails on that play.”
 
The rapid turn of events overshadowed an electrifying pair of quarters for Orland Park.
 
The Pioneers’ defense was on the field for all of five plays during the two middle quarters.
 
“That’s when our offensive line really turned it on,” McAuliffe said. “They were blocking amazingly during the second and third quarters.”
 
The only play Homer ran from scrimmage during the second quarter was terminated by a Julian Loeza interception.
 
“I just saw (the Homer receiver) coming, and I knew it was going to be a pass,” Loeza said. “I read the quarterback’s eyes and jumped the pass. (The play) was exciting because of my friends on the team.”
 
The Pioneers suffered a lost fumble on their opening drive, which bridged the first and second quarters.
 
Homer scored all the points it needed on the opening drive of the game.
 
The Pioneers’ drive after the Loeza pick consumed the remaining entirety of the first half.
 
Exploiting two first downs gained via defensive penalties, the Pioneers' 11-play drive -- which began at midfield -- stalled in the Mustangs’ red zone as the half expired.
 
McAuliffe, Ulleweit and Jacob Maziarka were the workhorses on the Pioneers’ drives which consumed virtually all of the second and third quarters.
 
“I think we were able to maintain the ball because we kept pushing and pushing (the Mustangs’ defense),” Maziarka said.
 
“That was really the game plan,” coach McAuliffe said of the Pioneers’ ball-control offense. “We wanted to keep Homer’s offense off the field, and that’s what we did.”
 
Unfortunately for Orland Park, the fumble that opened the fourth quarter was followed by Homer forcing turnovers on the Pioneers’ final two possessions.
 
The Pioneers’ defense, consisting of starters McAuliffe, Joseph Shelton, Kyle Peterson, Jake Liskiewiec, Jake Wantroba, Loeza, Gavin Kissane, Ullewait, Shaw Stukel and Maziarka, played admirably for much of the contest.
 
“The team started peaking at the end of the season,” said coach McAuliffe, whose squad finished the year with a 6-5 record. “We’ve got a great group of coaches who keep everybody motivated. There’s not one kid on the team who thinks of ever giving up.”
 
The final highlight to the Pioneers’ season came on the Homer's second-to-last drive.
 
McAuliffe and Ulleweit made tackles for losses of five and six yards respectively.
 
Wantroba then made it a completely lost series for Homer when he dropped the Stallions quarterback three yards behind the line of scrimmage.
 
“That was cool,” the younger McAuliffe said of his quarterback sack. “I got through the line and got to him. He cut right into me.”
 
But the Pioneers’ sterling three-and-out was nullified on their next play from scrimmage as Homer forced its fourth turnover of the game.
 
Twenty-two players comprised the Orland Park Pee Wee Bs' championship game participants. They are: Justin Sewers, Tommy Ward, Luke Paciga, Ben Schieber, Jackson Schramm, Nicholas Edelen, Trevor Jennings, Ryan McPolin, Bart Dziadkowiec, Zachary Ruisz, Thomas Starcevich, Jimmy Rolder, Wantroba, Shelton, McAuliffe, Stukel, Peterson, Maziarka, Ulleweit, Liskiewice, Kissane and Loeza.
 
Cheering for the Pee Wee teams this season were: Alyssa Bahar, Avery Bartley, Kaitlin Bauer, Brittany Booker, Paige Gasparas, Ella Gillund, Olivia Gomez, Emma Herout, Audrey Hickman, Amber Hoak, Giselle Jreisat, Mariah Karamagianis, Carrington Landers, Jocelyn LaVelle, Mia Maniatis, Emily Manning, McKayla Onderwater, Gianna Patterson, Claudia Sawic, Terra Schommer, Genevieve Schramm, Anna Senese, Sara Senese, Aleksandra Simkus, Greatchen Steenvoorden, Natalia Stratton, Kayla Thurner, Betty Tsoutsas, Victoria Zdenovec.
Today's Schedule: Season Schedule