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Blue 10/11 quarterback Connor Crotty barks out the signals during game action against Homer.

No cure for Blue 10/11
Pioneers against Homer

Early goal-line stand spurs visitors in 25-6 decision


Story and photos by Ed Muniz


CHICAGO -- The Orland Park Blue 10/11 Pioneers were looking to add another win to their resume when they took on the Homer Stallions on Saturday at Marist High School on Saturday.
After a tough 14-7 loss last week to Oak Forest, the Pioneers needed a remedy for what ailed them. But Homer was in no mood to be anyone’s cure-all and showed it in their 25-6 win over the Pioneers.
The first quarter didn’t produce any scoring, but there was an “almost” score. The Pioneers took the opening possession and in workmanlike fashion drove the ball all the way down to the Stallions 1-yard line.
The rushing of Stephen Sullivan, Luke Stefanos, Luke DeVito and Connor Crotty kept the Stallions guessing and backing up early in the game. A bolt of 16 yards by Sullivan was the big run of the drive, but a fumble and some foibles gave Homer just enough help to hold off the Pioneers and get the ball on downs.
The Orland Park defense tried to get the ball back to the offense after their lost opportunity. Sullivan led the effort and got defensive assistance from Ryan Noonan, Dominik Griffin, DeVito and Aidan Hanley, who all added tackles trying to stop the Homer march.
The Stallions opened the scoring early in the second quarter with a 12-yard scamper to give them a 7-0 lead after the extra point.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Stallions managed to grab the loose ball and again went to the offense. This time the Stallions attacked through the air and extended their lead to 13-0 on a short touchdown pass with just 4.6 seconds left in the first half.
Jack Harty and DeVito collected tackles when Homer tried to run, causing them to turn to their aerial attack.
Running back Stephen Sullivan (71) looks to the sideline after one of his rushing attempts.
The ensuing Stallions kickoff went right down the middle of the field and was picked up by Sullivan, who ran through a huge hole up the field. As time ran out and the horn sounded to end the first half, Sullivan cut left past a couple of Stallions and streaked 62 yards for the Pioneers touchdown.
“I saw it (the ball) go right past me and thought, 'Oh, crap!' he said. "I go and pick it up and run as fast as I can. Next thing I know there’s an opening, and I can see there's a guy running right behind me. I go, 'Eww, I've got to go faster.' I kept thinking if I would get in the end zone.”
The second half saw the Pioneers unable to generate much offense, as Homer picked up its defensive attack and kept the hosts scoreless the rest of the game.
The speedy Stallion defense gave Orland Park's offensive line trouble all game. The result was very few yards for the offense.
Homer added scores in each of the last two quarters and sealed the 25-6 win, handing the Pioneers their second-consecutive loss.
“It was rough. We just couldn’t get off the field on defense. That’s kind of the story of the whole game,” said Pioneers coach Paul Stefanos. “We missed a lot of tackles and gave them extra first downs. We got down within inches of the goal line offensively on the first drive and after that we just couldn’t get off the field. We had one possession in the first half, but after that we just couldn’t get it done on defense.”
Stefanos said it was his team's least productive effort of the year, but said the squad would put it away and move on.
The Pioneers fought throughout the game, but the desired results just weren’t there. Giving their all were Jonah Hladish, Ben Westphal, Leo Glynn, Frank D’Antonio, Peter Kavouras, Brett Laird, Conor McCormick, Martinas Petruska, Daniel McNamara, John Alfarah, Angelo Citarella, Ahmad Alrazzaq, Alanas Linge, Xavier Fernandez, Damien Bahar and John Wirth.
The fourth-grade Pioneers cheerleaders were in full action mode despite the cold. Being loud on the sidelines were Sydney Pisarik, Terra Schommer, Amber Hoak, Kaitlin Bauer, Emma Herout and Kayla Thurner.
Among the coaches was cheer mom Erin Pisarik, who said, “We have a huge amount of girls this year, so it’s a lot of work. These girls do a great job. We try to keep it very simple at games, but it’s hard at times to keep the girls focused.”
When asked what she considered the worst part of it all, the onetime cheerleader said clearly, “There isn’t a worst part of cheerleading!”
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