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Lightweight defenders (clockwise from top) Brandon Sewers, John Burner, Ethan McCormick, Rayan Agha and Devin Thorpe descend on the Dolton running back.

Lightweights run into buzzsaw

Pioneers have long day against Dolton

By Kevin McGavin
Photos by Ken Dado


ORLAND PARK -- Field position is a variable in football which cannot ever be overlooked.
Then again, the essence of the sport has been illuminated more than once in similar fashion over the years.
“This game comes down to blocking and tackling,” said Ed McMillen, an assistant coach for the Pioneers Lightweight B football team.
Sunday at Sandburg High School, the Pioneers’ could never find any consistency against visiting Dolton.
The Pioneers were sabotaged by mental and physical mistakes on offense, defense and special teams during their 30-0 shutout loss to the Bears in Southwest Junior Midget Football League action.
Dolton employed a defense without mercy the entire game as the Pioneers finished the contest without a single first down.
“We tried to get to the outside and couldn’t get to the outside,” McMillen said. “We didn’t have the blocking scheme. We also didn’t contain (on defense), and they got outside too often. Way too often.”
Orland Park (2-4) lost control of the game late in the opening half.
With the Dolton leading by 6-0 after an early second-quarter touchdown, the Bears’ place-kicker pinned the Pioneers deep in their own territory when Orland Park failed to field his kickoff cleanly.
Forfeiting the ball on downs moments later, the Bears’ Deon Carter scored on a 22-yard run with one minute and 22 seconds to play in the first half.
The Pioneers blocked the extra-point attempt to stay within 12-0.
On the ensuing kickoff, however, the Bears’ kicker once again split the Pioneers’ deep backs to put Orland Park in yet another disadvantageous field-position situation.
“We put ourselves in hole with the bad field position,” McMillen said. “We didn’t do a good job of putting our guys in position to field (the kickoffs) cleanly.”
The Pioneers Mike Bosco (80) focuses to complete a catch against Dolton.
Orland Park entered the halftime intermission with Dolton enjoying all the momentum after the Bears scored a third touchdown five seconds before the end of the second quarter.
Donald Dillon scored two plays after a Calvin King interception.
Orland Park feature back Mike Bosco had the Pioneers’ most promising opportunities to break the first-down barrier.
But Bosco had his twin bids in the first half on manageable distances fall by the wayside as Dolton made tackles in the open field to deny the Pioneers’ offensive aspirations.
Orland Park would have to settle for its defensive play to highlight its second-half effort against the Bears.
John Burner is the emotional leader of the Pioneers’ Lightweight B team. Playing both ways, Burner had an interception at midfield on the Bears’ first second-half possession to keep Orland Park within shouting distance.
“I played Sam (middle linebacker) for that one play,” Burner said. “It wasn’t that good of a pass, and I just saw it and got it.”
Finally operating with decent field position, Orland Park opened its second-half offensive attack with back-to-back runs by Bosco and John Slechta.
But the Bears’ resolve to neutralize the Pioneers’ rushing attack left Orland Park in predictable passing situations.
“When I tried to roll out and throw a pass, (the Dolton defenders) were all on me,” Orland Park quarterback Jack Shelton said. “Sometimes you get blindsided and get hit really hard. The score wasn’t that bad (the first time we played, also a Dolton win).”
Dolton ultimately held Orland Park to negative yardage in the second half.
The lone bright spot for the Pioneers’ offensive units was Tarik Deeb returning a kickoff 32 yards after the Bears’ fourth score of the game.
But, unfortunately for the Orland Park attempt to escape the shutout, the ball was soon back on the Dolton side after another forfeiture on downs.
Orland Park did not run another play from scrimmage after Dolton initiated a running clock with less than two minutes remaining.
Others who competed for the Pioneers included David Antoine, Devin Thorpe, Giovanni Fricano, Brandon Sewers, Ryan Cary, Sean Hanley, Vincent Messineo, Kyle McGrath-Ullrich, Robert Patterson, Matthew Murphy, Zachary Stack, Brett Fassler, Jason Uldrych, Hugh Brennan, Luke Kedzierski, Anthony Stotts, Ethan McCormick, Jacob Goodman, Anthony Dombrowski, Isaiah Portillo, Omar Elagha, Rayan Agha.
The Lightweight B cheerleaders did their best to fire up their team. They are Caitlyn Brennen, Anna Crnich, Eman Deeb, Kayla Dombrowski, Maureen Fandl, Hannah Ford, Breanna Gasparas, Gabriella Gianakas, Lexie Hansler, Maura Harty, McKenzie Hedinger, Kayle Hoak, Ella Jeffries, Kylie Kehlert, Samantha Kowalski, Abigail Kuesis, Francesca Lasorella, Hannah Scanlon, Libby Schout, Cristina Shannon, Victoria Stratton, Ava Stroubossder and Anna Stroubossder.
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