Username Password Subscribe Now

Nicholas Edelen (34) looks for daylight downfield against the Tri-City Wolverines. The Lightweight White Pioneers posted an impressive 25-7 win.

Lightweight White Pioneers
cruise to win over Tri-City

Improve to 2-1 on season with 25-7 win

Text and photos by Ed Muniz
 
CHICAGO -- Coach Frank Edelen’s Lightweight White Pioneers carry a huge arsenal of athletic weapons. 
 
Last week his standout ball carrier, Colin Jennings was a powerhouse in their comeback win over Romeoville.
 
Sunday, when they hosted the Tri-City Wolverines at Marist High School, Jennings and several of his teammates played a big role in the game.
 
Still on a high from the previous week's win, the Pioneers used multiple weapons, including a brother tandem who helped make the visitors miserable and propelled the Pioneers to a 25-7 win. The victory upped the team's record to 2-1.
 
“The boys played well, a really good team effort today, but we got a tough one next week. We will see 
what happens,” said Edelen.
 
You knew things weren’t going to go the Wolverines way early. After three plays they fumbled and Aidan Hanley came up with the ball for the Pioneers.
 
As easy as that turnover went, it didn’t transition into points for the Pioneers, who were missing a step early as their offense sputtered. A holding penalty and a hyped-up Wolverine defense forced Orland Park to punt the ball away.
 
Nicholas and Frankie Edelen made their presence on the field quite evident to the Wolverines on the next series. Defensively the brothers made every Tri-City offensive try difficult. They were around the ball on every Wolverine play. Tommy Stotts and Jennings also gathered their share of tackles, which forced the Wolverines to give up the football on downs to end the first quarter in a scoreless tie.
 
Less than a minute into the second quarter, Jennings and Nicholas Edelen combined on consecutive runs to gain 14 yards. Then Jennings opened the scoring when he powered and sliced his way free of the Wolverine defense and glided 40 yards to the endzone for the Pioneer touchdown. A missed extra point left the lead at 6-0.
 
Tri-City then got things going with an eight-play drive but key stops by Nicholas and Frankie Edelen, Nick D’Antonio and a big tackle from Braden Tischer gave the ball back to the Pioneer offense.
 
 
A stout Pioneer Lightweight White defense (left) prepares to stop Tri-City cold.
 
Trying something not seen before, the Pioneers went to a toss sweep play to Nicholas Edelen on the ensuing play. Edelen took the pitch from quarterback Jake Stefanos and proceeded to speed down the visitor's sideline 62 yards for the Pioneers' second touchdown and a 12-0 lead.
 
“We started running that pitch just this week in practice, we have like two or three blockers going out. I think it’s a really strong play, and it’s gonna work for us,” said the fleet-footed Nicholas.
 
The Pioneers carried the comfortable lead into halftime as their defense stifled any Wolverine attempt to score.
 
Opening up the second half, the Pioneers again showed their offensive power as both Edelens, Jennings and D’Antonio revved up the running game. Younger brother Frankie Edelen showed his speed the next time the Pioneers ran the toss sweep. This time he made the most of it as he flew down the right sideline for a 53-yard touchdown and a three-score lead.
 
“Really, we just got that play down today during our warm-up," said a modest Frankie. "I know there’s no way I could score without the blocking from our line, they were great today.”
 
Both Edelen brothers stated the best part about playing together is when they screw up they have their brother there to make the play.
 
Sunday neither they nor their teammates did much wrong. The Pioneers continually pressed the Wolverine offense and didn’t relent as each play became more difficult for Tri-City.
 
D’Antonio led the defensive charge the rest of the way with the aid of Jake Scumaci and the Edelen brothers. A.J. Grimes added to Tri-City's troubles with several tackles.
 
Leading 19-0 and with the ball to start the final quarter, the Pioneers went to D’Antonio who produced runs of 12, 21 and finally a 9-yard touchdown run to cap the Orland Park scoring. 
 
With a 25-0 lead and the game in hand with the clock running, the Pioneers were able to get work in for many players.
 
Tri-City (0-3) broke in the scoring column with a late touchdown, but it was too little, too late.
 
Things went well for the Pioneers in the “Fifth Quarter” game as well. Defensively the Pioneers allowed one score but matched up well against the Wolverines. The defensive line of Nocolas McKibben, Logan Frazier, Connor Begley, Charlie Soltys and Jacob Corluka battled in the trenches and made some key stops. Nathan Crnich and Anthony Shelton played the outside well containing the runs.
 
Linebackers Jake Scumaci and Nicholas Zahara cleaned up the middle and safety Kyle Envoy protected against any deep threats.
 
Offensively, the Pioneers used the blocking of Zahara, Soltys, McKibben, Begley, Corluka, Frazier and Colin Drew to make holes for running backs, Crnich, Envoy and Scumaci to gain big yards. Envoy showed his running skills during a run of 19 yards, and Scumaci added an 18-yard touchdown scamper. Quarterback Anthony Shelton completed a huge 21-yard pass to Crnich.
 
“Our fifth quarter players were outstanding, they did a great job,” said coach Edelen. “ I was happy the way our defenses played and the way our offenses played”
 
Other Pioneers adding to the outstanding day on the field were: Connor O’Reilly, Tommy Durkin, Joe Rizza, Jack Johnson, Nikola Abusara, Tyler Biszewski and Xavier Fernandez.
 
Also doing what they do best were the third and fourth grade Pioneer cheerleaders. Throughout the game, the girls kept everyone cheering and rooted the Pioneers players on. Among the pep leaders were: Nicolette Allen, Nicole Bonfitto, Allyson Burke, Lucie Chicvara, Aubree Conroy, Gabriela Felthouse, Isabell Frech, Samantha Masino, Tasneem Othman, Gileena Rezzardi, Kayleigh Rose, Olivia Skrocki, Sieira Sporleder, Gianna Staudt, Kaylee Swiech and Allison Welch.
 
Today's Schedule: Season Schedule