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Orland Park varsity
cruises past Frankfort Square

Abe Soto (99) plows his way through the Frankfort Square defense for heavy yards.  


Pioneers roll from the start in 33-0 victory

By Kevin McGavin
Photos by Ken Dado

CHICAGO -- It was an opportunity Orland Park coach Steve Budick relished.
With the Pioneers varsity safely assured of victory Saturday night, Budick let interior linemen Nathan Lupe, Teddy Baffes and Jimmy Slechta alternate at fullback in the Wing-T offense.
The trio proceeded to salt away the Pioneers’ 33-0 triumph over Frankfort Square at Marist High School.
“I am a lineman at heart,” said Budick, an alumnus of the Orland Park program. “My coach used to do the same thing when the lead was safe. I like to reward our linemen with carries.”
It was also a fine way for the two Pioneers birthday boys — Austin Hubert and Cameron Weldon — to celebrate in style.
Hubert cashed in on the Pioneers’ opening possession to give the team a lead never to be surrendered.
Orland Park fullback Abe Soto had the key play in the drive: a 50-yard run through the right side of the Wildcats defense.
The first-drive, Pioneers touchdown established the tone of the opening half.
Quentin Houston had an 11-yard sack to end the Frankfort Square's opening drive. The spread was soon two scores when Julian Hernandez plunged in from the 2-yard line to culminate a five-play incursion.
“It was great, the celebrations for my family,” Hernandez said. “I played my hardest, played for my family and just had fun.”
Slechta shortened the Wildcats’ ensuing drive with a fumble recovery deep in Frankfort Square territory.
Ben Starcevich made sure Weldon had a birthday memory. The Pioneers quarterback lofted a perfect pass to tight end Weldon, who was wide open, to complete the 31-yard touchdown reception.
“It was great,” Weldon said. “It was a good birthday present.”
Austin Hubert (22) clamps down on the Wildcat runner for a loss during the Pioneers 45-12 win.
The Pioneers’ defensive mainstays — Tyler Struck, Soto, Nathan Goodman, Weldo, Quentin Huston, Slechta, Donnie Felthouse, Hernandez and Hubert — imposed their will on Frankfort Square.
Yielding a mere four first downs for the game, the Pioneers overwhelmed the undermanned squad from Frankfort Square.
“We just came out and played a clean game: no turnovers, no penalties,” Budick said. “The O-line dominated the front. We have struggled with turnovers and penalties the last few weeks. We cleaned that up tonight.”
Orland Park (4-2) made it four scores in as many possessions after turning away the Wildcats once again on defense.
Needing only six plays to move 67 yards, Hernandez and Soto had gains of double-digit yardage on back-to-back carries to jump-start a fourth touchdown drive.
Soto picked up another dozen yards three plays later, and Hubert scored his second touchdown of the night on one of the calling cards of the Pioneers’ Wing-T offense. 
With fellow wing back Hernandez receiving the initial handoff, Hubert was fed by Hernandez on a counter handoff. He raced 34 yards for the score.
Soto then carried in the conversion to give Orland Park a 27-0 lead with 4:38 to play before the break.
“The other team was down,” Huston said. “It made it easy for us.”
The Pioneers had an opportunity to exceed 30 points in the opening half.
Soto had consecutive carries to edge ever closer to the 100-yard mark before halftime, but Budick was more than content to head to the intermission with a four-score lead.
Soto ended the night as the top ground gainer with 104 yards.
With Frankfort Square unable to solve the Pioneers’ stingy defense, the sense of inevitability — a running clock — became reality.
With 2:30 remaining in the third quarter, the Pioneers’ Kenneth Smalley had yet another long, scoring run to conclude the scoring. The 50-yard touchdown ensured a rapidly played fourth quarter.
Smalley began the 80-yard match with a first-down run worth 25 yards.
Earlier in the game Jake Monnett converted a two-point kick for Orland Park.
Damian Deless, William Litko, Michael Moehle, Zaid Tadros, Jonathan Trevino, Tyler Van Stedum, Trevor Ward, Brian Henehan and Abdullah Hanna contributed to the Pioneers' win.
Hailey Barnett, Grace Conway, Carlee Cook, Jamie Curtin, Jamie Funk, Grace Gerst, Katie Haw, Amanda Johnson, Tatiana Macias, Reilly Mullins, Ashley Rudich, Jourdan Azala, Gabia Skultinas, Taylor Soffel, Ally Sporleder, Ally Stroubossder, Taylor Villa and Gianna Witte were the Pioneers cheerleaders in the varsity contest. The girls are all eighth-graders.
“We’re focusing on competition,” varsity cheer coach Julie Cook said. “They do one competition a year. That’s our focus right now.”
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