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After scoring the opening Pioneer touchdown, Mike D'Antonio gets the call again and looks to add the point-after. Orland Park was dominant in a 28-7 win against Tri-City

Varsity defense too much for Tri-City

Offense strikes quickly to add to total White team effort

Text by Kevin McGavin
Photos by Ed Muniz
CHICAGO -- The winning streak is at 27 and climbing northward.
Sunday afternoon in River Valley Youth Football League play at Marist High School in Chicago, the Orland Park Pioneers Varsity White team put on a defensive clinic against Tri-City.
The Pioneers improved to 3-0 on the season after four first half touchdowns initiated a running clock in their 28-7 triumph over the Wolverines.
The final score was as deceptive as the Pioneers defense was formidable.
In the first half, Tri-City (2-1), which consists of athletes from Joliet, Plainfield and Shorewood, ran 15 plays from scrimmage.
The Pioneers held the Wolverines to negative 22 yards in the opening half.
Kenyetta Williams, the Wolverines’ electrifying quarterback, was a marked man for the Orland Park defense.
“For this whole week of practice we just talked about the quarterback and how he was probably one of the best players we were going to face (all season), Orland Park defensive end Tyler Van Stedum said. “Our coach (Mark Mikesell) was talking about it during the game — '11 men to the football.'”
The Pioneers defensive starters — Van Stedum, Jalil McLaughlin, Mike Bosco, Colin Bohanek, Luke Montgomery, Jadon Thompson, Hayden Mikesell, Tristan Stefanos, Mike D'Antonio, Jason Uldryk and Alex Lalezas — were quick learners.
The Orland Park offense started after D'Antonio followed a long pass play with a 7-yard burst to give the Pioneers a 7-0 lead on their opening possession. Then the Pioneers forced a three-and-out on the Wolverines first salvo on offense.
But Orland Park muffed the Wolverines' punt to give Tri-City solid field position.
Williams connected one play later on a 28-yard completion to get his team near the red zone.
But the Pioneers stopped the drive in its tracks as Montgomery and Bohanek mirrored a first-play sack by Van Stedum on back-to-back plays. The three sacks totaled 53 yards in losses.
“(Williams) stiffed-armed me,” Montgomery said of his 10-yard loss on third down. “I just got back up. I got (Williams’) legs and pulled him down.”
“We all wanted to go after the quarterback,” Van Stedum said. “We all gave a great effort.”
Running back Colin Bohanek cuts inside and eludes several Wolverines to gain extra yardage for the Pioneers.
The Pioneers’ offense was in high-octane mode after its special teams miscue.
Orland Park needed all of five plays to score three times before the halftime intermission.
“(The quick scores) help take the pressure off our (defensive) guys,” said Lalezas.
Hayden Mikesell, in his role as the Orland Park starting quarterback, hit Thompson, the Pioneers’ gifted wide receiver, for a 35-yard strike on the Pioneers’ second possession.
Bohanek capped the two-play drive from seven yards out on the next play.
The Pioneers needed half as many plays to extend their cushion to three scores.
Montgomery hauled in a short pass from Mikesell in the right flat. The two-way starter tap-danced his way down the sideline, coming precariously close to hitting the boundary line but managed to stay in the green to complete the 49-yard catch-and-run.
“They tried to push me out, and I tried my best to stay in bounds,” Montgomery said. “It just kind of happened.”
D’Antonio ran in the extra point to give Orland Park a 20-0 lead with 3 minutes and 12 seconds to play before halftime.
Going for the jugular before the break, Orland Park hit a long squib kick.
Gage Fauber recovered the misplayed ball to give Orland Park A first-and-10 at the Wolverines’ 29-yard line.
Next Mikesell and Thompson collaborated on a 21-yard touchdown on a brilliant fade route one play after Bohanek rumbled for eight yards on first down.
League rules stipulate that teams must replace their starting backfield once the lead is greater than 24 points in the second half.
That period was a blur as coach Mikesell substituted liberally.
Tri-City would have ended with negative yardage for the game had Williams not accounted for 80 yards — including a 53-yard scoring run — on the final two plays of the game.
“We knew coming into the game that they had some fantastic players, not just no. 2 (Williams),” Orland Park defensive coordinator John Stefanos said. “What our (defensive) kids are doing a great job of is they’re buying into the philosophy of 11 playing as one. I always tell the kids 'It doesn’t matter what defense you’re 
in, it’s a matter of being sound.'”
All 33 members of the Pioneers contributed to the win. Those who made plays for Orland Park included: David Antoine, Jack Shelton, Victor Morkos, John Slechta, Sean Hanley, Blake Eberle, John Burner, Ryan Khatib, Hugh Brennan, Luke Kedzierski, Blake Biszewski, Brett Fassler, Ethan McCormick, Rayan Agha, Michael Moehle, Isaiah Portillo, Grant Cannatello, Jonathan Trevino, Jake Hesselmann and Brian Henehan.
Cheerleaders Anna Chrnich, Kayla Dombrowski, Breanna Gasparas, Gabriella Gasparas, Kylie Kehlert, Samantha Kowalski, Hannah Scanlon, Ava Stroobosscher, Hannah Stroobosscher, Nina Dixon, Breanne Ferguson, Fiona Gallagher, Alissa Kochanny, Samantha Poda, Samantha Santana, Lauryn McDonald and Hallie Hultquist were loud and proud on the sidelines.
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