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Pioneer running back Jake Maziarka tries to shake off a New Lenox defender in the open field.

Junior Varsity shuts out New Lenox

Pioneers (6-1-0) post 14-0 win, hand Warriors their 2nd loss


By Kevin McGavin
CHICAGO -- The JPioneers' biggest offensive play was set up by the New Lenox defense Sunday afternoon at Marist High School.
It came after New Lenox intercepted Pioneers quarterback Tommy McAuliffe on a screen pass on Orland Park's first possession.
The Pioneers had other intentions the next time they tried the same play.
On the Junior Varsity's second possession in the River Valley Youth Football League contest, Jacob Maziarka used the old stop-and-go move for a 73-yard collaboration with McAuliffe.
Maziarka scored one play later, and the opening TD proved to be monumental as the game between once-beaten teams that turned into a defensive struggle.
Zakery Peterson recovered a fumble late in the fourth quarter, and the subsequent Orland Park score put the icing on the cake in a 14-0 victory.
“We were planning (the long pass play) all week,” Maziarka said. “It was wide open on the bubble (screen).”
Forty-six seconds into the second quarter, Orland Park (6-1-0) had all the points it needed.
The Pioneers’ defense, headlined by Ryan McPolin, Maziarka, Jackson Schramm, Joseph Shelton, Julian Loeza, Kyle Peterson, Bowden, Jack Harty, Michael Ulleweit and Jimmy Rolder, earned its third shutout of the season.
New Lenox (5-2-0) was held to negative yardage on its opening three first half possessions.
The Pioneers recorded a nine-yard tackle-for-loss off a botched pitch that forced New Lenox to punt the ball two plays before Maziarka hauled in the long strike along the right sideline.
“(The New Lenox defense) was playing (the screen play) aggressively, and we were able to get behind it,” Orland Park coach Mark Mikesell said.
The Warriors received the bulk of their first-half yardage on a 40-yard catch-and-run late in the first half. Orland Park used capitalized on another botched snap to force New Lenox into a fourth down effort from the Pioneers’ 18-yard line.
New Lenox would fall eight yards shy of its objective in the waning seconds of the second quarter.
The beginning of the third quarter did not augur well for Orland Park when New Lenox not only forced a three-and-out but also blocked the ensuing punt.
But the Pioneers’ defense would rise to the occasion again.
New Lenox was soon in the red zone with a 14-yard pass reception and Orland Park defensive penalty.
In its deepest penetration of the game, New Lenox drove to the Pioneers’ 7-yard line.
But on fourth-and-six, Peterson and Ulleweit teamed up to break up a pass in the endzone to preserve the one-score lead.
“(Defensive) coach John (Stefanos) did a great job this week of mixing it up,” Mikesell said. “We played nine guys in the box, and then checked out of that a little bit. (That) was a real good football team, obviously.”
The New Lenox defense was also up to the challenge as Orland Park had many difficulties sustaining drives.
Rolder had an 11-yard burst from his running back position seven plays after the Pioneer defense stiffened inside its own 10-yard line.
However, the Orland Park defense was forced to trot back onto the field moments later at the beginning of the fourth quarter due to a lost fumble
Julian Loeza wraps up his tackle of a New Lenox under the watchful gaze of teammate Nicholas Edelen (33).


Pioneers defender Loeza and his penchant for making game-changing plays came to the fore again.
The electrifying receiver on offense -- “Well, Julian, he just gets open,” McAuliffe said -- Loeza intercepted a New Lenox pass and appeared headed to the end zone for a long return.
But he was caught along the right sideline at the Warriors’ 19.
“I thought I could score, but I don’t know why I tried a back juke,” Loeza said. “It was a bad decision on my part. The tight end was running a streak down the middle. I was going to run with him, but (their quarterback) threw it short. It just kind of fell into my hands.”
Once again, four plays later the ball was back in the hands of New Lenox after the Orland Park offense failed to convert for a first down.
Bowden had the critical defensive play of the game, a fumble recovery, two plays after the change of possessions.
“One of (the running backs) was supposed to grab the ball but forgot to,” Bowden said. “We stopped their run all game all day.”
Maziarka, who also had a PAT conversion reception, needed only one play to account for the final score from nine yards away.
“It was an overall team effort,” said two-way stalwart Rolder. “The defensive line was doing their job. I just had to take on a block or two to get to the ball-carrier.”
“The (defensive) success was mostly everyone doing their job,” fellow linebacker Harty said. “Everyone was filling their gaps, so they couldn’t run very far.”
In the 25-minute exhibition period prior to the primary game, Christian Evans scored the Pioneers’ lone touchdown during their offensive portion.
“I thought, offensively, the boys (in the fifth quarter) are getting better each and every week,” Mikesell said. “They are coming off the ball more. They were running the ball more effectively.”
The Junior Varsity squad also feature the talents of: Martinas Petruska, Ryan Welch, Andrew Dado, Munkhbat Nergui, John Thompson, Troy Faille, Scott Rybak, Lukas Pukstys, Max Montgomery, Tommy Durkin, Sean Halloran, Conor McCormick, Charlie Soltys, Jake Stefanos, Jacob Masino, Nick D’Antonio, Nicholas Edelen, Jimmy Lalezas, John Mazenko, Joseph Calacci, Brian Devlin, Drew Saunders, Frank D’Antonio, Abdel Ghouleh, Tommy Stotts, Thomas Starcevich, Gavin Kissane, Nicholas Presbitero, Connor Beach, Jackson Beach, Kenneth Gillette, Tyler Biszewski, Mike Rafati, Angelo Citarella and Max Urbas.
The enthusiastic and entertaining Junior Varsity cheerleading squad is comprised of: Alivia Achterhof, Brittany Booker, Madeline Casey, Kayla Conrad, Brooklyn Cooper, Jasmine Estrada, Carleigh Fountain, Paige Gasparas, Ella Gillund, Maria Gonsch, Erin Haw, Emma Herout, Audrey Hickman, Amber Hoak, Brianna Iraci, Samantha Jeffries, Giselle Jreisat, Chloe LaVelle, Jocelyn LaVelle, Ella McDonald, Grace McReynolds, Ariana Morris, Megan Murphy, McKayla Onderwater, Gianna Patterson, Sydney Patterson, Sydney Pisarik, Dana Rafati, Angelina Salaita, Claudia Sawic, Kara Stevens, Nicole Tatar, Yoanni Trevino and Lija Vigants.
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