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Pioneers running back Frank Edelen (34) blasts through a wide-open hole for a huge gain against the Homer Stallions.

Lightweights remain in control, undefeated

Defense shuts down Homer in 19-0 win


Text by Ed Muniz

Photos by Ken Dado


ORLAND PARK -- With their Homecoming in full go mode, the Lightweight Pioneers aimed to remain unbeaten on the year. Coaches Ken Stack and Larry Tischer wanted to take advantage of a full house of parents, families and friends in attendance. The large crowd and festive atmosphere were just the stage for their undefeated team to display their talents and showcase why they are unbeaten!

The Pioneers didn’t mind having their guests -- the Homer Stallions -- start the game offensively. With a defense that had only given up 14 points in five games, there wasn’t much of a fear factor when it came to giving up points.

Immediately showing off that defensive talent, the Pioneers made short work of the Stallions opening drive with Frank Edelen and Johnny McAuliffe completely stuffing each running attempt and forcing the Stallions to give up the ball.

Offensively, the Pioneers used the footspeed of Edelen, the slashing and quickness of Braden Tischer and the elusiveness of quarterback Jake Scumaci to drive to the Stallions 22-yard line.

The drive would eat up most of the remainder of the opening quarter and proceed deep into the second. The Pioneers looked to surprise the visitors with a pass, but when Scumaci's throw was short of his target and wound up in a Homer defender's arms for a drive-ending interception.

Wanting the ball back quickly, Edelen and Jaden Weaver dominated the defensive play with Edelen filling holes from his linebacker position to make stops, and Weaver plowing and forcing his way through the Stallion offensive line from his nose tackle position.

After forcing a punt, the Pioneers broke through behind the running of Tischer and Edelen. The six-play drive saw Edelen flash in from 4 yards for the opening score and a 6-0 Pioneer lead with just a minute left in the half.

The Pioneers opened the second half passing with Tischer finding Scumaci for a few yards. After an incompletion, the ground game was back at it with Edelen speeding for several yards.

The game changed quickly, but it wasn’t because of the play on the field. Because of two-consecutive unsportsmanlike penalties applied to the visiting head coach, the Pioneers found themselves on the cusp of another score.

Quickly getting to the visitors 1-yard line, Tischer would easily find the endzone for the Pioneers second touchdown of the day. With the added extra point, the Pioneers now 13-0.

Things got worse for the Stallions when they lost the ensuing onside kick to the Pioneers after John Masino recovered the ball. Luckily for the Stallions, the Pioneers following 7-play drive stalled and they got the ball back midway through the fourth quarter.

Still performing at a high level and not wanting to lose the shutout, the Pioneers picked up their defensive pressure. Nathan Gray, Edelen and Conner Stack were relentless. Stack, the smallest of the three, grabbed three solo tackles and stymied the desperate Homer offense.

Not needing any additional assistance, the Pioneers still accepted the charity of their guests. Attempting a double reverse, the two Stallions exchangers collided and lost the grip on the ball, which was pounced upon by an alert McAuliffe. That gave the ball back to the Pioneers offense which just under six minutes to go.

Wanting to seal the game, the Pioneers running attack took hold again with Tischer and Edelen taking turns. It was Edelens’ speed that gave the Pioneers one more big play. He took the second down handoff and zipped through the left side of the line, made a quick step back right and sprinted 35 yards for the final score of the game. 

The extra-point failed, but it didn’t matter as the score now had the Pioneers safely ahead 19-0.

Johnny McAuliffe (7) corrals a runaway Homer Stallion during the Pioneers 19-0 shutout Homecoming win.

The game ended that way after the Stallions coughed up their last chance which was recovered by the Pioneers’ Brady Pisarik.

Edelen came away as the star of this game after showing off his speed on runs, his elusiveness and and his swarming to the ball defensive technique.

“This was obviously my best game of the year so far, but I couldn’t do much without the offensive line blocking,” said the modest speedster. “I get my speed mostly from practice and running a lot, but I don’t know if I’m that fast. Mike Sczurek and Brady Pisarik were great on the line.”

Talking of his defensive knack for being around the ball, Edelen continued; “I started standing still too much and would see the ball and move to it, but got better when I started to come up more to the line. Our team did pretty good to get a lot of guys to the ball. Conner Stack and Nathan Gray were really good at it on defense.” 

Other Pioneers who contributed to the Homecoming win were: Santino Chlada, Gavin Vahl, Sam Jaunich, Liam Legrand, Scott Miklos, Corey Kurecki, Matt Coleman, Brain McBride, Ryan Sullivan, Jonathan Snider, Jack Elliott, Sami Alrazzaq, Matt Villarreal, Mitch Kieklak, Dominic Palumbo, Eloy Molina, Alan Fako, Dominic Citarella, Vince Villa, Ryne Sterbergen, and Colin Ferguson.


A trio of Pioneers, Jake Scumaci (30) and Nathan Gray (47) and Braden Tischer, join in heavy pursuit of a Stallions runner.

Cheering them on from the sidelines were the fourth- and fifth-grade Pioneer cheerleaders: Nicolette Allen, Nicole Bonfitto, Allyson and Kate Burke, Annabella Cannici, Emma Collias, Aubree Conroy, Ciara Coyle, Lexi Eurkaitis, Natalie Felthouse, Gianna Frech, Grace Gardner, Nadia Ghouleh, Gianna Hernandez, Bianca Kios, Angelina Lamantia, Alexandra Laska, Sarah Martino, Samantha Masino, Abby McCasland, Mckenna Patton, Emily Ramirez, Reese Rodriguez, Giana Shepley, Olivia Skrocki, Sieira Sporleder, Gianna Staudt and Allison Welch.

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