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Running back Frankie Edelen sees a clear path to the endzone on his 55-yard touchdown run.

 

Lightweights romp in Tinley Park

Edelen scores 3 TDs in 31-13 win

 

Text by Ed Muniz
Photos by Renee Kaspar
 
TINLEY PARK -- Coaching youth football, occasionally you run into a game where you have to decide when the pull the reins in to not show up the other team and its players. 
 
The Pioneers Lightweights team knows exactly how to be gracious and knows when to turn it on and off and not embarrass an undermanned opponent.  With just one loss on the season, this team, led by co-head coaches Ken Stack and Larry Tischer, has had several opportunities to pile it on. But this is a team that knows when it has the upper hand and prefers to let all their players take part in their wins whenever possible.
 
October 8 saw these playoff-bound Pioneers visit the Tinley Park Bulldogs. The hosts were in the midst of celebrating their Homecoming and were looking to upset the highly touted Pioneers.
 
Both teams’ defenses were unwilling to let each other’s offensive counterpart get much going, but the Pioneers did strike first when they marched to the Bulldogs 8-yard line. From there a quick handoff to running back Braden Tischer saw him slash past the Tinley Park defense and in for the touchdown. 
 
With a 6-0 lead the Pioneers continued to keep the host team from scoring after one quarter. Stopping the Tinley Park offense after their score, the Pioneers again put their offense on display. 
 
The three-headed attack of Jake Scumaci, Frankie Edelen and Tischer turned out to be just too much for the Bulldogs. Throw in a few runs of the pounding running style of John McAuliffe and things were about to get worse at the Homecoming celebration.
 
Running back Frankie Edelen showed off his speed and shot past every Bulldog on his way to scoring a 55-yard touchdown. The Pioneers were unable to add the point-after and led 12-0.
 
Just hitting their stride as a team, the Pioneers displayed they weren’t just offense -- the defense wasn’t going to be outplayed. It didn’t take long for the Pioneers defense to get the ball back to the offense.  A big 8-yard tackle-for-loss from Tischer was just the beginning. It was followed by Sam Jaunich's solo tackle and another by Tischer. 
 
Quarterback Jake Scumaci rolls right to find a receiver. 
 
On the ensuing Tinley Park punt, Edelen again showed his talent and sped easily by all the Bulldogs during his 48-yard punt return for the Pioneers third touchdown. 
 
Powering in the extra-point was McAuliffe which gave the Pioneers a 19-0 lead. The Pioneers defense went back to work and made sure the Bulldogs knew they weren’t going to find anything easy against this group.
 
Looking to get on the scoreboard, the Bulldogs got close but an ill-advised pass was easily picked off by Jake Scumaci with just under two minutes left before half.
 
In their last drive before the horn, the Pioneers saw Scumaci ran 30 yards to the Bulldogs 45 with little time remaining. 
 
The Pioneers ran one more play before Tischer threw a short pitch-pass to his left. Edelen hauled in the pass and proceeded to once again elude his opponents and go 40 yards for his third score of the day with just two seconds left before the break. The extra-point failed and the Pioneers took a 25-0 lead into halftime.
 
Changing many of the players with the second unit, the Pioneers looked to have this game in hand to open the second half. 
 
Ahead by four scores, the Pioneers made changes on both sides of the ball.
 
Tinley Park showed some life and ran in a touchdown from 26 yards. With the added point-after, the Orland Park lead was cut to 25-7.
 
Dominic Palumbo looks for yardage against Tinley Park.
 
Still comfortably ahead, the Pioneers continued to let their second unit take the field. Running backs Nathan Gray and Brian McBride weren’t able to get the yards needed to maintain the Pioneers second half opening drive and Orland Park quickly turned over the ball.
 
Looking to limit the Bulldogs to just a solo score, the Pioneers turned up their pressure. Jaden Weaver closed up the middle, Jack Elliott, and McBrie also chipped in with solo tackles. Elliott added a pair but another big run by the Bulldogs early on in the final quarter closed the Pioneers lead even more with a 40-yard romp into the endzone. 
 
The Pioneers Connor Stack grabbed an attempted onside kick and returned it for a touchdown and 31-13 lead.
 
The rest of the game, the Bulldogs couldn’t connect or maintain a scoring drive and the Pioneers went on to their seventh win of the season. They will enter the upcoming RVYFL playoffs as a third seed.
 
Having a solid impact in the regular season finale and spoiling the Bulldogs Homecoming, Pioneers Brian McBride talked of the outcome.
 
“It was a good game, I got a good play running the ball and as a team we really did pretty good. On defense I do really well blitzing, and I prefer playing defense. I play a lot in the fifth quarter and did pretty good there too like a lot of other guys.”
 
The star of the game was easily Frankie Edelen, the three-touchdown scoring Pioneer makes it look easy.
 
“On the punt return the kid kicked it short. I was able to pick it up. There was one kid there so I took a step inside, and he went for it. So I quickly stepped back outside, and it was clear," Edelen said. "On the one I ran in motion and caught that pass, there was blocking from everybody. There was no one even there. And on the long touchdown, I broke a tackle inside and just took off and nobody caught me.”
 
When asked if he thought he had everything going for him this year, Edelen answered “Yeah.”
 
This game saw each player get field time. The contributors included: Santino Chlada, Gavin Vahl, Sam Jaunich, Liam Legrand, Scott Miklos, Corey Kurecki, John Masino, Matt Coleman, Ryan Sullivan, Jonathan Snider, Jack Elliott, Sami Alrazzaq, Matt Villarreal, Mitch Kieklak, Dominic Palumbo, Eloy Molina, Alan Fako, Dominic Citarella, Vince Villa, Ryne Sterbergen, and Colin Ferguson.
 
Cheering on the Pioneers from the sidelines were the fourth- and fifth-grade Pioneers Cheerleaders: Nicolette Allen, Nicole Bonfitto, Allyson and Kate Burke, Annabella Cannici, Emma Collias, Aubree Conroy, Ciara Coyle, Lexi Eurkaitis, Natalie Felthouse, Gianna Frech, Grace Gardner, Nadia Ghouleh, Gianna Hernandez, Bianca Kios, Angelina Lamantia, Alexandra Laska, Sarah Martino, Samantha Masino, Abby McCasland, McKenna Patton, Emily Ramirez, Reese Rodriguez, Giana Shepley, Olivia Skrocki, Sieira Sporleder, Gianna Staudt and Allison Welch.
 
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