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Pioneers teammates Nick McGriff (58) and Toddy Shelton (34) aren't impressed with the Warrior dance.

Super Lightweights find
going tough versus New Lenox

Patterson TD all team can muster in 3rd-straight defeat

Text and photos by Ed Muniz
CHICAGO -- This has been a season of streaks for Todd Shelton and his Super Lightweight Pioneers. After losing their opening game of the year, the Pioneers righted all the difficulties of that first game and went on a three-game win streak.
In those three games, the Pioneers were a team that felt they were going to win no matter what arose. A three-headed running attack of Jeff Bellik, Luke Detampel and Luke Basiorka laid yard after yard at their feet and helped build a team confidence along with a successful attitude for each player.
Flying high as a kite and beaming with confidence and a bit of cockiness from the coaches down to the last player, the Pioneers didn’t expect a loss at Homecoming let alone sliding to three-straight losses.
The Super Lightweights continued on a down note, losing to the New Lenox Warriors 32-6 Sunday at Marist High School. The the once powerful running game has disappeared, and the defense has become depleted solely because it spends much of the game on the field.
This is a team that just looks tired but still gives their all on each play.
The game against New Lenox didn’t start as the Pioneers had hoped. In four plays, the Warriors moved their first offensive series 40 yards culminating with a 16-yard run for their first touchdown. Bellik, Basiorka and Nick McGriff did all they could to try and slow down the Warriors (5-2-0) who led 7-0 after the extra-point.
The Pioneers offense lost yards in their first series and were forced to punt by an aggressive Warriors defense that seemed to be in the backfield as soon as the ball was snapped.
Nothing was working early on for the Pioneers -- the punt was returned 30 yards to the their 12-yard line.
With such a short field and a running game that seemed to be overpowering, New Lenox took only two plays to extend its lead to 14-0.
Luke Basiorka  (30) tries to chase down a Warrior runner.
Using Terrell Patterson speed and quarterback Detampel's elusiveness, the Pioneers again tried running the ball. With limited success, the Pioneers went to the pass on fourth down but couldn’t extend the drive and turned over the ball as the opening quarter ended.
The Pioneers defense wanted to prevent the visitors from scoring again and to a man, became more aggressive in their play. Toddy Shelton, Basiorka, Bellik and Beck Stukel each grabbed a tackle, but when Will Slechta blasted a Warrior runner causing a fumble, you saw the defensive tempo pick up.
Though New Lenox extended their lead to 20-0, they felt every tackle and knew the rest of the game wasn’t going to be easy.
Detampel, Basiorka and Patterson ran the ball as best they could, but at times it looked as though they were running up against all 11 Warriors.
The Pioneers defense did come up with big stop when Detampel came up with a loose ball right before halftime.
Looking to start the second half with a long drive that would end in a score, the Pioneers just couldn’t get off the schneid. A mishandled exchange was recovered by the Warriors just 40 seconds into the third quarter.
Bellik made a touchdown-saving tackle in the Warriors next series. But on the next play they added to their scoring column to take a 26-0 lead.
With the Pioneers unable to get any offense going, the Warriors added a score on the last play of the third quarter to go up 32-0. Joey Epley, Bellik and Chase Czerwonka each grabbed tackles before the touchdown.
Opening the final quarter starting at the 30-yard line, Patterson provided the lone score for the Pioneers when he swept around right end and didn’t stop until he found the endzone to make the score 32-6.
The Pioneers (3-4-0) were unable to get any closer the rest of the game. They will have an opportunity to even up their season record next week.
Coach Shelton said: “They’re a big team. We just got to find that point with the kids when to be aggressive. They’ll be pushed around the field the whole time if they don't find when to be aggressive. We have great kids; there’s a ton of football in them. We still got to find it.”
When asked what has changed from the point where they won three games in a row to where they are now after three losses in a row, coach Shelton stated; “We have gotten scared, and they aren’t playing the way they were. They lost that edge, but we still have work to do. We’re 3-4, and we’re going to give it everything we got next week. We WILL be .500.”
Caden Nestor, Kaden Kramer, Colm Coyle, Jack Enright, Devin Stefanos, Keegan Kirk, Anthony Molina, Mason Vahl, Jake Buechele, Jake Drew, Nick Slechta, Anthony Kazaitis, Joey Epley, Braden Czerniuk, Aiden Evans, Jordan Masino, Aiden Patterson, Quinn Durkin, Brandon Dion, Thomas Elliott, Lukas Boyce and James McCormick gave their all in the game for the Pioneers.
Cheering on the Super Lightweights were: Vanessa Annel, Ava Bernardi, Ava Brennen, Sydney Czerniak, Sophia Dornbos, Ashley Fahey, Ella Groark, Mia Hilbruger, Keira Kehlert, Alexandra Keysboe, Emma Kusper, Lily Masino, Ryligh Maugeri, Cassidy McKibben, Kaelyn Morales, Addy Moran, Natalie Oprondek, Kaelyn Ponce, Makenzie Prah, Emily Sayger, Natalie Schmidt, Brianna Sievers, Aileen Tunney and Heidi Wagner.
Today's Schedule: Season Schedule