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Pioneer Luke Detampel (24) breaks free and looks for big yards against Bourbonnais.

Super Lightweights make adjustments,
but can't overcome Bourbonnais

Pioneers play foes even in 2nd half,
but fall 18-0 in season opener


By Ed Muniz

Photos by Ken Dado

ORLAND PARK -- The calendar is creeping slowly to the fall. In just a few weeks the leaves will start changing colors and the temperatures will drop to the brisk coolness of the new season. Until then, summer's heat won’t relent easily as was evident this past weekend as the the River Valley Youth Football League began its 2016 season.
Opening their season in temperatures in the upper 80s, the Orland Park Pioneers played host to the Bourbonnais Bears at Sandburg High School. On tap in the opening weekend were four games in the Super Lightweight, Lightweight, Junior Varsity and Varsity divisions.
Opening the season for the Pioneers program was the Super Lightweight team of coach Todd Shelton. His squad warmed up with lots of energy and looked to open the season on a high note. 
What they ran into was a Bourbonnais buzzsaw with a running back who sliced up the Orland Park defense with speed and that gave the visitors an opening day 18-0 shutout victory.
The Pioneers started the game with a huge break. After they kicked off, Jeff Bellik recovered a bumbled Bourbonnais handoff. But just as the high-fives were endeding on the Orland Park sideline, the Pioneers returned the gift with their own mishap. They gave the ball right back to the Bears on their first snap.
After a solid tackling display by the Pioneers’ Chase Czerwonka, a Bourbonnais' runner took off untouched for 40 yards to open the scoring. After a failed conversion, the Bears led 6-0 early.
Orland Park quarterback Luke Detampel was back under center on the next series. After another fumble, the Pioneers running game tried to using the legs of running backs Luke Basiorka, Bellik and Detampel.
The Pioneers struggled to stay on their blocks as the larger visitors used size to their advantage and forced an Orland Park punt after five offensive attempts. The running clock at the Super Lightweight level saw the first quarter end after the kick.
Opening the second period, Bourbonnais was met by a tougher Orland Park defense. On the first two plays, Basiorka and Jordan Masino made solo tackles. But on the the third handoff, the Bears stellar running back took off and outraced the defense to the outside. The sideline run went 45 yards and gave the Bears a 12 -0 lead after the missed extra point.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Orland Park couldn’t gather up the onside kick and again were back on defense. Two plays later, the Pioneers fell behind 18-0 with the Bears third score of the day, this one from 39 yards out.
Trying all he could to get his team back in the game, Detampel didn’t get the help he needed to get the Pioneers offense going. The Bourbonnais defensive rush and pursuit made the going difficult and the first half ended with the hosts down 18-0.
As dominant as the Bears were the first half, the second half was something different. Making a few adjustments and not being intimidated any longer, Orland Park held the highly explosive Bourbonnais offense in check the remainder of the game.
Now, the host defense swarmed to the ballcarrier and shut down the long runs. Bourbonnais found the going much harder as the Pioneers' hitting and tackling became formidable. The unit allowed minimal yards on the ground and forced the Bears to move to the passing game. They had no luck there either.
Leading the defensive swarm was Toddy Shelton, Masino, Basiorka, Quinn Durkin, Czerwonka, Victor Villa, Detampel and Bellik, who forced a fumble with his hard tackling.
Offensively the Pioneers' difficulties remained. Detampel had the most success running the ball, but it wasn’t enough. Efforts by Terrell Patterson also tested the Bourbonnais Bears defense, but the Pioneers just couldn’t get on track and produce many positive yards.
Orland Park did connect on a pass play when Detampel found Beck Stukel for 12 yards, but that was the only offensive highlight.
“I thought their linebackers were playing too close to the line which you can’t do and that stopped us, but we also had two starting linemen that couldn’t play,” said Detampel. Starters Nick McGriff and Will Slechta missed the season-opener.
The Pioneer quarterback added; “I still think we did pretty good in the second half, and I think we will be good too our next game. You’ll see.”
Coach Shelton said: “Number 19 (Bears running back) is a stud. Those are the guys you look for all year and you plan your game for.
"They had it together where we had a lot of miscues. We weren’t prepared on the line. Our linemen were slow coming off the ball. Their size was incredible and aggressive. Our quarterback got pounded all day, but Luke (Detampel) did a great job and stayed aggressive despite it.”

Under heavy pressure during Fifth Quarter action, Pioneers quarterback Victor Villa (3) scrambles to find his target.
A positive that the Pioneers can take from this game is the fact they shut down the Bears powerful running attack for half the game.
“We shut them out after half," Shelton said. "Victor Villa stepped up big. He came on the field as a sub, and he really showed us he wants to get out there and play as a starter along with Terrell (Patterson).”
The coach added that he wants his starters to be more aggressive, whomever the opponent. 
“Size matters at this age, and they showed it," he said. "And they were just quicker as well.”
Also giving their all for the Pioneers in their opening game were: Caden Nestor, Kaden Kramer, Colm Coyle, Jack Enright, Michael Pursel, Devin Stefanos, Keegan Kirk, Anthony Molina, Mason Vahl, Jake Buechele, Jake Drew, Nick Slechta, Anthony Kazaitis, Joey Epley, Brayden Czerniuk, Aisden Evans, Aidan Patterson, Jake Tomczak, Brandon Dion, Thomas Elliott, Lukas Boyce, and James McCormick.
Today's Schedule: Season Schedule