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Running back Jacob Maziarka (36) follows the blocking lead of teammate Jimmy Rolder (56) during the Pioneers 38-14 win over the Mokena Burros.

 

JV rolls past Mokena 38-14 

Rolder rumbles for 4 TDs, Pioneers remain undefeated

 
Text by Ed Muniz
Photos by Ken Dado
 
 
NEW LENOX -- Streaks can be good, but they can also be bad. When you’re on one, you either want it to continue or quickly come to an end. For the two Junior Varsity teams squaring up in week 5 of the RVYFL 2016 season at Lincoln-Way Central High School, each looked for something different.
 
The Orland Park Pioneers Junior Varsity opened their season with a three-game win streak. The Mokena Burros did the same, but hit a bump in the road with a subsequent loss. 
 
When the game clock said zeros, the Pioneers streak remained intact at a perfect 4-0, while the host team dropped to 3-2 after a 38-14 drubbing at home.
 
Efficient is the best way to describe the Pioneers JV team. There isn’t any wasted effort during their game play. They know what to do and how to do it, and go at it methodically to lull opponents into benign acceptance.
 
A strong defense and a deliberate offense make up this 2016 version of the Pioneers JV. Coaches Mark Mikesell and John Stefanos have instilled a will to win and drilled their players to do the right things on both sides of the ball.  So far the combination is working like a charm.
 
The Pioneers met a hyped up Mokena team that felt they were as good or better than their unbeaten foe. They showed it early, holding the Pioneers off the scoreboard after one quarter.
 
It looked like the Burros would take a lead after moving to the Pioneers 8-yard line. But a fumble that lost 11 yards and some heavy hitting by Julian Loeza, Jacob Maziarka and Joey Shelton, made Mokena surrender their scoring chance against the Pioneers.
 
Back on offense, Orland Park tried the air and quarterback Tommy McAuliffe tossed a screen pass to Maziarka that went for 16 yards. After an incomplete pass, the Pioneer quarterback lofted a long pass down the left sideline that was hauled in by Loeza for 33 yards as the first quarter ended.
 
After a mishandled snap and an incomplete pass, McAuliffe again struck via the air finding Jackson Schramm on a slant going 19 yards to the Burros 9-yard line.
 
Now it was time to throw in a run by Jimmy Rolder. The hard-running Pioneer took a handoff and dodged around right end into the endzone for the opening score. With McAuliffe adding the point-after, the Pioneers led 7-0.
 
The Burros quickly responded, catching the Pioneers by surprise with a pass play that went 56 yards for their first score. Unable to get the equalizer, Mokena now trailed 7-6.
 
Pioneers quarterback Tommy McAuliffe looks over the Mokena defense.
 
The ensuing Pioneer drive showed the efficiency of this team. In a workman-like fashion, the Pioneers used a mixture of pass and run plays to move downfield without wasting time or energy. It was almost as if they knew they’d go ahead shortly thereafter.
 
A short pass from McAuliffe to Michael Ulleweit and two runs by Rolder got the Pioneers to the Burros 29-yard line. From there, the swift Maziarka got around right end and wound up in the endzone for the Pioneers second touchdown. A failed extra-point left the Pioneers up 13-6  with 4:51 before halftime.
 
Mokena tried to answer as it had before, but a huge third down sack by Zakery Bowden forced a punt attempt. That was blocked by Maziarka, and the Pioneers were back on offense at the Burros 11 yard-line as time was winding down.
 
A couple plays later, Rolder increased his team's lead to 19-6 at the break when he bashed in from 3-yards out for his second touchdown of the game.
 
Mokena was unable to do anything with its second half opening drive and punted to the Pioneers. On the very first play, Rolder went right up the middle, bounced off a few would-be tacklers into clear space and the chase was on. Rolder finished the run 71 yards later to claim a trifecta of touchdowns and upped the Pioneer lead to 25-6.
 
Mokena was forced to throw the ball and found that just as difficult as running on the Pioneers. Unable to connect they gave up the ball on downs, and Orland Park was back at it offensively.
 
This time the Pioneers couldn’t extend their lead and were forced to punt. Mokena did manage to add another score. After moving to the Pioneers 20-yard line, they raced in for the touchdown. With the kick after, the Pioneer lead was cut to 25-14.
 
The last play of the third quarter was the play of the game when Pioneers running back Jacob Maziarka rumbled 39 yards and refused to go down after being hit by seemingly every Burro on the field. Trying to get into the endzone often requires extra effort, and because of that he lost the grip on the ball at the 10. It bounced an additional five yards before being recovered by the Pioneers' Thomas Starcevich.
 
The beginning of the fourth quarter saw Rolder add to his touchdown tally with his fourth score, this time from 7 yards. The point-after by Max Montgomery made the score 32-14.
 
More defensive prowess by Bowden, Nicholas Edelen and Rolder soon had the ball back in Pioneer hands. They methodically ran the ball to the Burro 1-yard line. From there a quick burst by Montgomery had the Pioneers up 38-14, which turned out to be the final score.
 
“Jimmy (Rolder) is a great leader. He leads by example. He’s not real vocal, but what a player both in the game and at practice. He has some special rare talents of athleticism, power and size,” said coach John Stefanos. 
 
“We have a lot of experience with our coaching staff, and we have a good core of 12 year-olds that a lot of the younger kids look up to. We have used the Wednesday Night League to develop some of the younger kids and allowed them to get that extra coaching, and it's working for us. The comradery we have and support of each other is key.”
 
Stefanos praised the strong play of his offensive line.
 
“Each week they have continued to improve and obviously with coach Mark (Mikesell) playing at Vanderbilt it's a great asset. They had a phenomenal game.”
 
Stefanos added that he was most proud with the all-around performance of his offensive players and pointed out how aggressive they are as a group.
 
“Our running backs, receivers, Jackson Schramm, Julian Loeza, Mike Ulleweit, and others that touch the ball, they’re being physical as an offensive player. We have been teaching them just because you’re carrying the ball doesn’t mean you can’t be dishing out the blows. I feel like we brought that to our game, and it's impressive.”
 
The Pioneers have many stars and a ton of talent. Don’t look for them to slow down this week as they host their homecoming foes, the Homer Stallions, on Saturday.
 
Coach Stefanos knows what's ahead.
 
“That’s a tough, hard-nosed program. We will have our hands full, and we expect that and hope to be ready because we know what we are going to get.”
 
Other Pioneers who contributed to the big win included: Christian Evans, Martinas Petruska, Ryan Welch, Andrew Dado, Nergui Munkbat, John Thompson, Troy Faille, Scott Rybak, Lukas Pukstys, Tommy Durkin, Sean Halloran, Conor McCormick, Charlie Soltys, Jake Stefanos, Jacob Masino, Jimmy Lalezas, John Mazenko, Joseph Calacci, Ryan McPolin, Brian Devlin, Drew Saunders, Frank D’Antonio, Abdel Ghouleh, Tommy Stotts, Gavin Kissane, Nicholas Presbitero, Connor Beach, Jackson Beach, Kenneth Gillette, Tyler Biszewski, Mike Rafazti, Angelo Citarella and Max Urbas.
 
There was plenty of action on the sidelines as well with the Pioneer sixth- and seventh-grade cheerleaders keeping the crowd in the game. The squad featured: Alivia Achterhof, Brittany Booker, Madeline Casey, Kayla Conrad, Brooklyn Cooper, Jazmine Estrada, Carleigh Fountain, Paige Gasparas, Ella Gillund, Maria Gonsch, Erin Haw, Emma Herout, Audrey Hickman, Amber Hoak, Brianna Iraci, Samantha Jeffries, Giselle Jreisat, Chloe LaVelle, Jocelyn LaVelle, Ella McDonald, Grace McReynolds, Ariana Morris, Megan Murphy, McKayla Onderwater, Gianna Patterson, Sydney Pisarik, Dana Rafati, Angelina Salaita, Claudia Sawik, Kara Stevens, Nicole Tatar, Yoanni Trevino and Lija Vigants.
 
Today's Schedule: Season Schedule