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Pioneers running back Luke Basiorka stays low and powers for positive yards against Ottawa.

 

Detampel heroics can't save Super Lightweights

Pioneers late playoff rally falls just short 

 
text and photos by Ed Muniz
 
 
When Luke Detampel woke up on October 15, he knew he had a game that day. The game was in the first round of the River Valley Youth Football League playoffs. What he didn’t know is how much of a one-man wrecking crew he would be!
 
Previously, his Orland Park Pioneers had played Saturday playoff foe Ottawa with the 19-14 decision going his team's way back in Week 2. But the advantage in overall record and seed for the opening round playoff game had gone to the Eagles. They entered the game with a 7-2-0 mark, while the Pioneers stood at 4-4-0.
 
But this playoff game was nothing like their previous encounter. Between the two teams, there were 12 touchdowns scored with each scoring six times. The main difference was the ability of the Eagles to score two extra-points after touchdowns, while the Pioneers missed out on all six tries as Ottawa prevailed 38-36.
 
Although the Super Lightweight Pioneers' season came to an end, it wasn’t for lack of effort, particularly in the case of Detampel.
 
From his quarterback position, he managed to outgain every other player on both teams -- running up a total of 201 yards on 12 carries and five touchdowns himself and passing for another late in the game. He completed two passes: one that went for 40 yards and anothe that yielded a 45-yard touchdown.
 
No matter what Ottawa tried to do to stop him, Detampel just wouldn’t go down. On several of his runs he stiff-armed Eagle defenders away and at times he just outran the defense. He also bounced off would be tacklers that had a clear shot at him and stayed on his feet en route to the endzone.
 
“It was single-handedly the most impressive performance I have seen in eight years of coaching at this level,” said head coach Todd Shelton. “He threw the team on his shoulders and told others to come with me. He led the team and by those actions made leaders of Jeff Bellik, Terrell Patterson and Luke Basiorka. He helped them step up their game and others all season.” 
 
Not bad for an 8 year-old!
 
The game started with the Pioneers on defense. Within two plays, it took a touchdown-saving tackle by Bellik to keep the game scoreless after an Ottawa runner flew past everyone except Bellik, who also had speed and caught the Eagles runner 29-yards later. That didn't stop the Eagles from blasting into the endzone four plays later and taking a 7-0 lead after the point-after.
 
The ensuing kick-off ricocheted off Bellik and was pounced on by the Eagles who once again were back on offense and just as quick were back in the endzone. Two plays later they scored from 41 yards out for a 13-0 lead.
 
Defensively, the Pioneers had trouble containing the Eagles inside. Quinn Durkin, Bellik, Patterson and Nick McGriff contributed solo tackles, but it wasn’t enough.
 
The Pioneers finally had their chance to run their offense after recovering the ensuing kickoff. After Patterson ran for a yard, Detampel called his own number and ran around right end. He used a stiff-arm and cut back left into the clear and ran 34 yards for Orland Park's first score. The point-after failed and left the Pioneers down 13-6.
 
Pioneers Jeff Bellik (36), Luke Detampel (24), Luke Basiorka (30) and Nick McGriff prepare to swarm an Ottawa runner.

Ottawa looked ready to score again as the first quarter ended after driving to the Pioneers 14-yard line just two plays after the Pioneers touchdown. But the defense stiffened and Toddy Shelton made a huge fourth down stop. The Pioneers took the ball at their own 10. It was the only fourth down stop the Pioneers made in the game.

 
Several times the Pioneers got to the point that they needed a stop on fourth down, but the Eagles answered with multiple huge plays.
 
The Pioneers didn’t take advantage of that stop and a missed pass attempt from Detampel to Bellik hurt them at their own 21-yard line with 1:01 left in the second quarter.
 
The Eagles aggressively scored on the very next play and extended their lead to 19-6 with 53 seconds left before half.
 
After recovering the Ottawa kickoff, the Pioneers had little time. But again Detampel broke free using an effective stiff arm to streak down the near sideline 41 yards to the Eagles 4 with just 30.4 seconds left before halftime. Detampel scored his second touchdown on the next play with 26.8 seconds left before the buzzer. Failing for the second time to convert the extra-point, the Pioneers trailed 19-12 at the break.
 
Looking at a chance to even the score, the Pioneers were set to receive the second half kickoff. But once again, a direct kick managed to elude and bounce off a player, this time the Pioneers’ Terrell Patterson, and the ball was again recovered by Ottawa.
 
With good fortune coming their way, Ottawa used an 8-play drive to extend their lead to 25-12. Pioneer defenders Patterson, Brandon Dion, Bellik, Keegan Kirk, Detempal and Basiorka all grabbed tackles trying to stop the running attack of the fired-up Eagles.
 
When the Pioneer offense finally took the field, Detampel didn’t waste any time and galloped 39 yards along the Pioneers sideline. Bellik tried his hand at running and added several yards. Detampel got the call again and blasted in from a yard out for his third touchdown of the game. Again the Pioneers failed to convert and trailed 25-18.
 
At this point, it seemed like the teams were now just exchanging touchdowns. Ottawa extended the lead a few plays later and ended the third quarter upping the score to 32-18.
 
Starting the fourth quarter, Detampel wasn’t going to let his team get down any further. Two plays after Ottawa scored, he did his thing again and picked his way through defenders, shoving some off and then racing 45 yards into the endzone for touchdown four on the day. Again the Pioneers couldn’t convert and now trailed 32-24.
 
With just over 11 minutes left in the game, the Pioneers didn’t panic at their deficit but needed to stop the Eagles at some point without giving up a score. 
Unfortunately, Ottawa was relentless and used up nearly seven minutes and added to their lead with their sixth score of the day.
 
 
Luke Detampel (24) gets ready to rip off a run against Ottawa.
 
Now trailing 38-24 and starting at their own 15-yard line, Detampel went to the air and connected with Bellik for 40 yards. After a Ottawa penalty, the Pioneers moved to the 20. After a Basiorka run for a yard, Detampel again found a way to get into the endzone from 19 yards out for his fifth touchdown of the day. Again no conversion and now the Pioneers trailed 38-30 with just 28.4 seconds left in the game.
 
Things were getting hectic on the host sideline as coaches on the field and the sidelines were loudly pressing their Ottawa players to get the job done and that the game wasn’t over.
 
The noise increased in volume when the Pioneers executed on onside kick and recovered the loose ball with 18.3 seconds left. The utterings became outright panic shouting when Pioneers Detampel lofted a pass to a wide-open Bellik who got behind the defense and scored from 45 yards with just 10.3 seconds left.
 
A two-point kick conversion, which the Pioneers had not tried all year would have tied the game, but with 6-, 7- and 8 year-olds, taking a snap from center to the holder is never a sure thing.
 
Although the Pioneers managed that part and kicker Bellik did get a kick off, it was blocked by a charging hoard of Eagles to keep the score at 38-36 in Ottawa's favor.
 
A huge sound of relief resonated from the Ottawa sideline, and faces of content shown on the Pioneers side.
 
The Pioneers did try another onside kick but were penalized for an illegal formation after again recovering the ball. They had to rekick and that was recovered by the Eagles to clinch the playoff win.
 
Detampel wasn’t fazed by what he'd accmplished in the game. 
 
“Well, I stiff arm a guy so I can get around them. I just think every time I get the ball I’m going to get a touchdown and did almost all the time today. But I will remember when I threw to Jeffrey (Bellik) the last touchdown pass the most.”
 
When asked about the difficulties of stopping the opponents, Detampel added; “Number 10 was really fast, and he just got around us, but we played good today. I thought maybe Jeffrey and the line on offense really did good too.”
 
Detampel did have one gripe in the game
 
“When we got the ball back on the last kick and the ref said it was like a formation something, I think that was like a cheap call,” he said.
 
Addressing his team, coach Shelton said: “I’m very proud of you kids. You guys came here and played in front of your parents and families and showed you have no give up. Starting in the fifth quarter all the way down, everyone played great today. 
 
"You kept moving, you knew what you were doing, we knew our jobs, and we knew our roles. What happened here we remember and take it to next year. I'm very proud of you guys.”
 
Caden Nestor, Kaden Kramer, Colm Coyle, Jack Enright, Devin Stefanos, Keegan Kirk, Anthony Molina, Mason Vahl, Jake Buechele, Jake Drew, Nick Slechta, Anthony Kazaitis, Joey Epley, Braden Czerniuk, Aiden Evans, Jordan Masino, Aiden Patterson, Quinn Durkin, Brandon Dion, Thomas Elliott, Lukas Boyce and James McCormick all added to the successful season for the Super Lightweight Pioneers.
 
Cheering on their team in the exciting game and all seasom were cheer squad members: Vanessa Annel, Ava Bernardi, Ava Brennen, Sydney Czerniak, Sophia Dornbos, Ashley Fahey, Ella Groark, Mia Hilbruger, Keira Kehlert, Alexandra Keysboe, Emma Kusper, Lily Masino, Ryligh Maugeri, Cassidy McKibben, Kaelyn Morales, Addy Moran, Natalie Oprondek, Kaelyn Ponce, Makenzie Prah, Emily Sayger, Natalie Schmidt, Brianna Sievers, Aileen Tunney and Heidi Wagner.
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