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Orland Park White Varsity
waltzes to 34th-straight win

4 1st quarter TDs lead to 34-0 victory

By Kevin McGavin
 
CHICAGO -- It was a dominant performance from the get-go for the Orland Park White Varsity in the first round of the River Valley Youth Football League playoffs Sunday evening in Chicago.
 
The top-seeded Pioneers forced a running clock on Tinley Park before the first quarter was over in rolling to a 34-0 victory at Marist High School.
 
It was the 34th-consecutive victory for the team, the no. 1 seed in the playoffs.
 
The Pioneers (9-0) will face eighth-seeded Bourbonnais (6-3) Sunday in the quarterfinals at Sandburg High School in Orland Park.
 
Orland Park needed all of 11 seconds to score all the points it needed after Colin Bohanek returned the opening kickoff 64 yards for a touchdown.
 
Tinley Park (1-8) went three-and-out in its first series, and Mike D’Antonio doubled the Pioneers’ lead to 12-0 by scoring from 37 yards out on the first Orland Park play from scrimmage, a sweep around left end.
 
“The close games are always better,” D’Antonio said of the one-sided contest. “They’re more fun, and you get more playing time. Our O-line really contributed to the team. We really wanted to win.”
 
Disaster befell Tinley Park on the ensuing play from scrimmage.
 
Bohanek is not only a superb running back and linebacker but also a formidable threat on special teams.
 
The Pioneers’ kicker pinned Tinley Park deep in its own end after the D’Antonio touchdown gallop.
 
“(Bohanek) is an all-around great player,” Orland Park coach Mark Mikesell said. “He is a huge weapon on both sides of the ball. We talk about it throughout the year: special teams are a huge part of the game.”
 
From his left-outside linebacker position, Hugh Brennan then made the defensive play of the game for the Pioneers.
 
Brennan tipped a Tinley Park pass to himself, made a U-turn at the 25-yard line and proceeded to score the third Orland Park touchdown in less than three minutes with the ensuing return.
 
“I have never had a touchdown before,” said Brennan. “(The ball) came right to me. I didn’t know how to run with the ball. I have never run with the ball before in my life.”
 
Brennan was starting in place of Michael Moehle, one of seven Pioneer players out of town on a school field trip.
 
“(Brennan) is a kid who works really hard,” coach Mikesell said. “I am really proud of him to make that play. We talk all year that when it is your time, your opportunity, you have to make the most of it.”
 
The lone Tinley Park first down of the opening half came via a defensive pass interference call, and the Pioneers would commit one of their few mental mistakes on their ensuing drive when D’Antonio had a touchdown negated on an illegal block.
 
But Orland Park was soon back in business as the first quarter wound down.
 
Defensive lineman Alex Lalezas had one of the Pioneers’ nine stops for losses to help force a punt, and starting quarterback Hayden Mikesell found Bohanek in the left flat with a 32-yard screen and run for the Pioneers’ fourth first quarter touchdown.
 
“We said we had to play at the highest level,” Lalezas said. “Even though (Tinley Park) was the (no.) 16 seed and we’re no. 1 we can’t take any plays off. We couldn’t underestimate them.”
 
The Tinley Park coach had his request to start the running clock before the third quarter granted, meaning Mikesell, D’Antonio and Bohanek could no longer play offense.
 
It proved to be a blessing for Jack Shelton, John Burner and Jason Uldrych.
 
The trio comprised the new Orland Park backfield for the remainder of the game.
 
Burner had a late second quarter touchdown called back on a penalty, and the halfback lost a fumble in the rapidly-played second half.
 
But Burner compensated for his miscue with a 15-yard dash around right end for the lone score of the second half.
 
“Last year I wasn’t on the team,” Burner said. “It was nice that we got the win, and I got to play a lot. Jake (Hesselmann) had a nice block (on the touchdown run).”
 
Coach Mikesell enjoyed the luxury of the blowout victory.
 
“It was a good week for us,” coach Mikesell said. “We were able to get everyone in (the game).”
 
The following boys — with the exception of those in Washington, D.C., for the field trip  — contributed to the win: David Antoine, Jadon Thompson, Victor Morkos, John Slechta, Sean Hanley, Blake Eberle, Tristan Stefanos, Ryan Khatib, Luke Montgomery, Gage Fauber, Luke Kedzierski, Mike Bosco, Blake Biszewski, Brett Fassler, Ethan McCormick, Rayan Agha, Isaiah Portillo, Jalil McLaughlin, Frank Cannatello, Jonathon Trevino, Tyler Van Stedum and Brian Henehan.
 
The Pioneers also had a skeleton crew of cheerleaders due to the field trip to the nation’s capital. Cheering their all for the Pioneers were seventh-graders: Marisa Garza, Kylie Kehlert, Hannah Scanlon, Anna Crnich, Sam Poda and twins Ava and Hannah Stroobosscher.
 
 
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