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Brady Grimes (center) breaks away from the Romeoville defense and races untouched for one of his two touchdown runs Sunday.

Super Lightweight White
turns things around in win

Follows disappointing opener with 24-7 win over Romeoville

Text and photos by Ed Muniz

“Practice Makes Perfect.” We’ve all heard that saying before. Whether it’s at work or at play, the more you practice the better and more efficient you become at a task.
 
For Todd Shelton and his brigade of Super Lightweight White Pioneers, one extra week of practice sure 
made a difference on the football field.
 
Last week in their season opener at Tinley Park, the Pioneers were run roughshod over and managed to put just seven points on the board in their loss. Coach Shelton attributed much of that to not enough time with his team.
 
“We got together with the kids this week, and we got down and focused on the fundamentals and small things," he said. "We only had two weeks of prep and came back fresh, and we just settled down on the single important things of blocking and tackling; regular basic football.”
 
The simple, basic football strategy worked well for the Pioneers, who dominated the Romeoville Spartans in a 24-7 win Sunday at Marist High School.
 
The signs looked good for the Pioneers after their Fifth Quarter players took the field, executed in unison and managed to score twice during the 24-minute, pre-game scrimmage.  
 
Quarterback Brady Grimes contributed to two scores, one via an 11-yard run and then through the air when he connected with Anthony Edelen from 13 yards out.
 
Grimes isn’t a huge kid by any means, but he sure was elusive as can be. His squirmy way of running made him nearly impossible to tackle.
 
“I like playing quarterback a lot, because you’re the captain of the team and hand it off to the other people," Grimes said. "I also thought I ran good and was able to juke them good. I want to try to throw better and farther.” 
 
Linemen Nicholas Slechta, Michael Pursel, Nick McGriff, Brady Pisarik, Todd Shelton, William Slechta, and Jake Tomczak cleared the way for Grimes and running backs Nico Vazzana, Edelen, Nathan Uldrych and Beck Stukel.
 
Defensively, Colin Ferguson was a dominant force inside. Pursel recorded a sack and Edelen penetrated through the line with tackles for losses. Tomczak also made a touchdown-saving tackle.
 
John McAuliffe finishes off a Romeoville running back during the Super Lightweight White victory.
After the successful scrimmage, it was a natural continuation into the official game, and it wasn’t long before the Pioneers jumped out to an early 6-0 lead.
 
After forcing a fumble that was recovered by John McAuliffe, the Pioneers needed just one play to score. Running back Jack Elliott took the handoff from McAuliffe and raced 69 yards for the quick touchdown.
 
The Pioneers defense also made things difficult for the Spartans. McCauliffe and Pisarik were a fixture in the Spartans backfield limiting them to little success throughout the game.
 
McAuliffe was a one-man wrecking crew on defense. He led the the team in tackles and was a constant run-stopper.
 
“I couldn’t do much without the help of the other guys on the team,” said McAuliffe. “I really like playing defense, I’m fast so I get a lot of tackles, and I like to do that. I do like offense when I run the bal.” 
 
Pisarik added: “I really like defense. You get to tackle people, and I like that. I think I’m going to get way better. My blocking will get way better on offense too. But I like following the guys after I contain on defense and making the tackle. It’s fun doing that.”
 
Offensively, running the ball was Elliott’s specialty. He piled up 113 yards on only four attempts.
 
“I got out and spun on the long touchdown," said the star runner. "I knew I was going to score because the offensive line was really good. It was easy all day, and I think I’m pretty good running the ball.”
 
For nearly the remainder of the first half, the Pioneers dictated the play on both sides of the ball. Jeff Bellik, McAuliffe, Elliott and Uldrych kept the Spartans off the scoreboard. Meanwhile, Elliott and McAuliffe moved the ball on the ground but just couldn’t find the endzone until the last 29 seconds of the half.
 
After forcing a turnover on downs, the Pioneers took over at the Spartan 18-yard line. From there it took McAuliffe just one play to get to paydirt. He called his own number, bounced outside the right end and upped the score to 12-0 at the half.
 
With total control of the game, Orland Park made a change at quarterback and put Grimes at the helm. 
 
He led an offense that cut loose McAuliffe and Elliott, who pounded anyone in their paths.
 
The Pioneers made it 18-0 five plays into the second half. Elliott started the drive when he broke free for 27 yards. That was followed by a 10-yard run From McAuliffe and then nine more from Grimes. The runs culminated in McAuliffe’s 9-yard plow for his second touchdown.
 
Grimes added another score for the Pioneers midway through the final quarter when he took off and went in untouched from 12 yards out for the 24-0 lead with 7:07 left in the game.
 
With the game well in hand and the clock continuously running, the Pioneers were caught napping. The Spartans spoiled Orland Park's shutout bid with a 30-yard touchdown run late in the game that made the final score 24-7.
 
Coach Shelton was quite proud of his Pioneers effort.
 
“I thought our lines played great today. We wouldn’t have had the success without them doing so well," he said. "Dominic Citarella, Nick McGriff, Colin Ferguson, Johnathan Snider, Nathan Uldrych and others did a great job. Our backs, McAuliffe and Elliott, the way they ran the ball -- just a great all-around job by all the 
players.”
 
Pioneers Wayne Goodman and Jake Buechele also contributed to the winning outcome.
 
Cheering on the winners were the Super Lightweight White cheerleaders. The giggly group of first- and second-grade girls entertained the crowd and kept the enthusiasm up on the home side of the field.
 
Giving it their best were: Ava Bernardi, Cate Burke, Ella Groark, Nadia Karamagianis, Keira Kehlert, Gabriela Keysboe, Isabell Masino, Ryligh Maugeri, Natalie Oprondek, Kaelyn Ponce, Makensie Prah, Sophia Shamhart, Graysen Staudt and Aileen Tunney.
 
Today's Schedule: Season Schedule