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The Tinley Junction 012518 Sports the tinley junction | January 25, 2018 | 49 Campy new year! Part II Tinley Park football helps teach Tinley’s youth the basics Submitted by Tinley Park High School Tinley Park High School football coach Josh O’Shea recently hosted a football clinic with his team. After the Titans baseball program hosted its fourth annual winter youth camp Jan. 4 and 5, the Titans football program held a similar clinic Jan. 13. Players and coaches focused on football fundamentals, such as proper stance, proper and safe tackling techniques and all offensive techniques. The football program also held an informational session with parents and athletic trainer San Lucente about some of the dangers and possible risks of playing football. Through these camps, younger players were able to interact with high school This Week In … Thunderbolts Varsity Athletics Boys Basketball ■Jan. ■ 30 - hosts Thornton, 6:30 p.m. Girls Basketball ■Jan. ■ 25 - at Lincoln-Way Central, 6 p.m. ■Jan. ■ 30 - at Bradley- Bourbonnais, 5:30 p.m. Wrestling ■Jan. ■ 27 - at Sandburg, noon Boys Bowling ■Jan. ■ 26 - at state final tournament, TBA* ■Jan. ■ 27 - at state final tournament, TBA* Boys Swimming ■Jan. ■ 25 - hosts Thornton, 5 p.m. Tinley Park area youths line up to practice football fundamentals with TPHS football players and coaches. Cheerleading ■Jan. ■ 27 - hosts Andrew Sectional, TBA Competitive Dance ■Jan. ■ 26 - at state final competition, TBA* ■Jan. ■ 27 - at state final competition, TBA* Gymnastics ■Jan. ■ 30 - at Hinsdale Central Regional, 6 p.m. Titans Varsity Athletics Boys Basketball ■Jan. ■ 26 - at Oak Forest, 7 p.m. ■Jan. ■ 30 - hosts Br. Rice, 6:30 p.m. Girls Basketball ■Jan. ■ 25 - hosts T.F. North, 6:30 p.m. ■Jan. ■ 29 - hosts Oak Forest, 6:30 p.m. athletes while learning more about sports. As a recent transfer to Tinley Park High School from a boarding school where he frequently interacted with younger students, junior Bruce Wood was right in his element assisting with the younger athletes. “I loved it,” he said. “I loved helping the kids go through the drills. I can’t wait to come back one day to see them under the Friday night lights.” ■Jan. ■ 30 - at T.F. South, 7 p.m. Wrestling ■Jan. ■ 26 - host quad, 4 p.m. Boys Bowling ■Jan. ■ 26 - at state final tournament, TBA* ■Jan. ■ 27 - at state final tournament, TBA* Girls Bowling ■Jan. ■ 25 - hosts Hillcrest, 4:30 p.m. ■Jan. ■ 27 - at South Suburban Conference tournament, TBA Competitive Dance ■Jan. ■ 26 - at state final competition, TBA ■Jan. ■ 27 - at state final competition, TBA * If necessary Youth participants, as well as coaches and current Tinley Park football players, pose for a photo after a football clinic Jan. 13. Photos submitted Voting is now open! THE FRANKFORT STATION • THE HOMER HORIZON • THE LOCKPORT LEGEND THE MOKENA MESSENGER • THE NEW LENOX PATRIOT THE ORLAND PARK PRAIRIE • THE TINLEY JUNCTION voting open Jan. 18-feb. 12 Help your favorite local businesses take home an award in the third annual Southwest Choice Awards. Complete at least 50 categories and be eligible for 22nd Century Media’s Southwest Choice Awards prize — one three-night trip for two (2) adults to Riu Caribe in Cancun, Mexico, courtesy of Apple Vacations. Vote in the ballot inside your 22nd Century Media newspaper or online at visit us online at

50 | January 25, 2018 | The tinley junction Sports Student Reporter T-Bolts basketball continues making great strides Jon Zaghloul Andrew senior Looking back at the 2014-2015 Andrew boys basketball season, a time in which the team had lost the likes of Jubril Adekoya to Valparaiso, along with a coaching change that marked the end of an era in T-Bolts basketball history, it became quite apparent that the program would mirror the concept of a rebuild. While keeping this in mind, Andrew fans still remained hopeful and anticipated a swift turnaround. Unfortunately, however, the season’s end accompanied a sense relief, as the T-Bolts only recorded four wins to their name. Talk about a humble beginning. Year 2 under the direction of coach Dave Wilson proved to be much more successful, as the team exceeded its win total from the season before while continuing to develop its younger players primed for future varsity prosperity. Although hopefulness took a hit with 2014-2015, its levels rebounded immensely during Wilson’s second season. Fans anticipated a bright future and were able to witness glimpses of it during that rejuvenated season of 2015-2016. Last season came with lofty expectations about the team’s progression, and Wilson delivered. In his best season yet as Andrew’s head coach, the Bolts finished just one game shy of the .500 mark, thus provoking further optimism that the rebuild was on its last legs. Andrew fans, myself included, knew what the future held. We patiently persevered throughout the summer months, waiting for new accomplishments and fresh horizons. Luckily enough, the fouryear wait, one that entailed numerous ups and downs, has officially ended. The Andrew Thunderbolts varsity boys basketball team is finally ready for a true success story, and it all starts with the team’s excellent senior class. Evan Yerkes, who last season finished near the top of the Illinois High School Association rankings in 3-point percentage, is embracing his curtain call in style. Yerkes has continued to lead the T-Bolts’ offensive charge, piloting the team’s 3-point threat while maintaining exceptional all-around play. His overall skill set, combined with his leadership capabilities, convinces me that basketball will still lurk in Yerkes’ future. Complementing Yerkes’ uncanny performance are seniors guards Troy Murphy and Dan Gierhahn. Murphy made state headlines last season when he won the IHSA 3-Point Showdown in Peoria, and he has continued his dominance from behind the arc. Gierhahn, similarly, has been with this varsity squad since his sophomore year, making him quite the statesmen when it comes to the program. Finally, manning the middle, as Chicago Bulls public address announcer Tommy Edwards would say, is Northern Illinois University football commit Mike DeHaan. While packing a monster punch in his final season on the gridiron, De- Haan has also played well in his final season on the court. His rebounding skills, combined with his knack for scoring in the paint, has tremendously helped this Andrew team. Look for De- Haan to continue to star as a power forward or center for the remainder of the season. Although there were times where the light seemed far away, or completely nonexistent, Andrew boys basketball fans knew what was to come. And for this Andrew team, one that is vying for a conference championship, we could not ask for anything better. Going places From T-Bolt to Trojan: Another turnaround in the works Tim Carroll, Sports Editor Trinity International University football has had its struggles of late. After going an even 5-5 in 2013, the Trojans fell to 3-7 in 2014, 2-9 in 2015, 4-7 in 2016 and 2-8 in 2017. But Andrew senior offensive lineman and heavyweight wrestler Austin O’Connor is used to rebuilds. From O’Connor’s freshman football season in 2014 until his junior season in 2016, the Thunderbolts varsity football team won a combined seven games. In 2017 alone, the T-Bolts reached the seven-win mark. So, O’Connor, who announced his commitment Jan. 12 to continue his football and academic careers at Trinity International in Deerfield, is confident that he will be part of a turnaround for the Trojans football team. Like Andrew got before the 2016 season, Trinity International announced the hiring of a new head coach in Lamont Butler in early January. “I’ve been on teams with losing records the past couple years, and then coach [Adam Lewandowski] came in and showed us that if you really work hard, that anything can happen,” O’Connor said. “We laid the foundation last year, and then [the Trojans] laid the foundation this year, and with the new coaching change and everything there, I feel like it’s going to be the same thing that happened to [the T-Bolts] this year, and we’re going to start working harder with the new head coach there.” He was quick to give credit for reaching the collegiate level of football to Lewandowski, Andrew offensive line coach Gary Young, and the rest of his offensive line. “They’ve all been a big help, and they’ve pushed me to do my best every day, every practice,” he said. “And I just want to thank everybody who’s been there for me and gotten me to the place I am and the place I will be.” O’Connor, who plays right guard, does not want to wait for his chance to contribute to the Trojans’ resurgence. He expects to compete for a starting spot right away. “I do believe that I’m going to go there and I will start right away,” he said when asked about his goals. “And then, I plan to be All- American, I want to be the best, and I really want to step up my game and show up my first year and show everybody what they’re in for, for the next four years.” O’Connor said he expects to continue playing guard, but he is willing to do whatever is asked of him. From a football and academic standpoint, Trinity International just felt like the best fit for the senior, he said. It was a personal experience all the way through his commitment. “When [offensive line coach Anthony Franz] officially started talking to me, he stuck with me through the whole process, from the first day he talked to me until I officially committed,” O’Connor said. “I went on three visits there, and it felt like a real family there.” Franz was not the only coach O’Connor talked with. The guard said he had been in contact with Butler, as well, and it was a nice personal touch for him. “He knows me on a firstname basis,” O’Connor said of his future coach. All of that just made TIU feel “like the right place.” O’Connor had a few choices, including Avila University, Texas Wesleyan University and Indiana Wesleyan University. But the feel of TIU was what made him commit. O’Connor said he plans to pursue a degree in criminal justice, and the learning environment was a good one for him. “It’s a smaller school, and I think that really best fits me,” he said. Austin O’Connor, an Andrew senior who recently committed to Trinity International University, gets out front to be a lead blocker for his quarterback during his senior season with the Thunderbolts. 22nd Century Media File Photo