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The Homer Horizon 041218

36 | April 12, 2018 |

36 | April 12, 2018 | The Homer Horizon sports Softball Local squads aiming for postseason success Jeff Vorva, Sports Editor Lincoln-Way East’s softball team dominated regional and sectional action en route to a second-place finish in the Illinois High School Association Class 4A state tournament in 2017. East outscored Thornton Fractional South, Minooka, Cardinal Joseph Bernardin sixthgraders win three tournaments Homer resident part of team roster Staff Report The Cardinal Joseph Bernardin sixth-grade boys basketball team won three tournaments this season en route to a 32-7 campaign. The Cardinals capped the season off by winning the South Suburban League championship. They also won the Ridge Park and Queen of Martyrs tournaments earlier in the season. Members of the team are Orland Park’s Alec Hickey, Josh Montalvo and Jack Nolan; Tinley Park’s Matt Cotter; Homer Glen’s Logan Stafford; Frankfort’s Aiden Cech and Corey Hansen; Chicago Heights’ Issac Krabbe and Christo Krabbe; Monee’s Chris McGrath; and Crete’s Zach Rhein. The coaches are Joe Hickey, Mario Montalvo and Russ Cech. Dr. Mary Ellen Hoye, DDS ENDODONTICS, PERIODONTICS, ORAL SURGERY, ORTHODONTICS WE ARE ALWAYS WELCOMING NEW PATIENTS! — Our Dental Hygienists — Michelle Kuta, RDH Team Member 4 Years WELCOMING Amanda Graham, RDH Joliet West and Lockport by a combined score of 26-3. Will the Griffins be able to breeze in the early part of the postseason again? The other teams in the 19-team Joliet West Sectional will have something to say about that. The Griffins will join 22nd Century Media teams Lockport, Lincoln-Way Central, Lincoln-Way West and Andrew in that sectional. In Class 3A, Providence Catholic and Tinley Park are in a sub-sectional at the 20- team Ottawa Sectional. Seeds will be announced on May 8. The regionals begin May 21. Cardinal Joseph Bernardin’s sixth-grade basketball team finished 32-7 and won three tournaments this season. Photo submitted EXPRESS 10-MINUTE WHITENING Help us Support Introductory Special with your cleaning $ 38 or procedure! — $49 Drop-InWhitening — by having your oral cancer screening $ 25 (you don’t need to be a patient of record) — We speak English, Romanian, French, Spanish and Polish — 15927 S. Bell Rd, Homer Glen 60491 • (708) 301-3444 • Baseball Lockport Sectional loaded with area teams Jeff Vorva, Sports Editor This Week In... Lockport Township High School Varsity Athletics Baseball ■April ■ 13 at Bolingbrook, 4:30 p.m. ■April ■ 14 host Minooka (Strike Out Cancer), 6 p.m. Providence Catholic’s unprecedented baseball title reign ended last year when Sandburg knocked the Celtics off at the Class 4A Homewood-Flossmoor Sectional. The Celtics had a postseason 23-game winning streak snapped. They had won three consecutive state titles, which had never been done before in the history of the Illinois High School Association. If the Celtics want to win another state title in 2018, they have a rough road, which includes many area teams standing in the way. The IHSA announced its assignments, and the Celtics — plus six other 22nd Century Media teams — will duke it out in the 21- team Lockport Sectional. Lockport, Lincoln-Way East,Lincoln-Way Central, Lincoln-Way West, Sandburg and Andrew are also in the mix. Providence is the only area team that will lost a regional. Other teams in the sectional are Eisenhower, Marist, Bloom, Marian, Crete-Monee, Homewood-Flossmoor, Thornton, Joliet Central, Joliet West, Thornton Fractional South, Shepard, Stagg, Romeoville and Thornwood. In the April 2 edition of the Prep Baseball Report state rankings, six teams from the ■April ■ 17 host Andrew, 4:30 p.m. ■April ■ 18 at Brother Rice DISW Tournament, 4:30 p.m. Softball ■April ■ 13 host Lincoln-Way East, 4:30 p.m. ■April ■ 14 host Strike Out Cancer Triangular, TBA ■April ■ 17 host Marist, 4:30 p.m. Girls Soccer ■April ■ 12 at Pepsico Showdown, TBA ■April ■ 14 at Pepsico Showdown, TBA ■April ■ 17 host Andrew, 4:30 p.m. Girls Track and Field ■April ■ 14 at Argo, 10 a.m. ■April ■ 18 at Lincoln-Way East Triangular, 4:30 p.m. Boys Track and Field ■April ■ 14 at Minooka Invite, 10 a.m. Boys Volleyball ■April ■ 14 at Streamwood Sabre Invite, 9 a.m. ■April ■ 17 at Andrew Triangular, 4:30 p.m. Boys Tennis ■April ■ 12 host Lincoln-Way Lockport Sectional are in the Top 25. Lincoln-Way East was ranked sixth, Andrew 13th, Lockport 14th, Sandburg 17th, Providence 22nd and Marist 25th. That means at least two of those teams will not win one of the four regional titles. In Class 3A, Tinley Park is in the 10-team sub-sectional of the Ottawa Sectional. The Titans are joined by Thornton Fractional North, Chicago Agricultural Science, Morgan Park, Hillcrest, Evergreen Park, Illiana Christian, Lemont, Bremen and Oak Forest. Seeds will be announced on May 8. The regionals begin May 21, and the state finals are June 8-9. Central, 4:30 p.m. ■April ■ 14 at Lincoln-Way Central Tournament, 9 a.m. ■April ■ 17 host Homewood- Flossmoor, 4:30 p.m. Boys Water Polo ■April ■ 12 at Lincoln-Way East, 5 p.m. ■April ■ 13 at Sandburg Invite, 4:30 p.m. ■April ■ 14 at Sandburg Invite, 8 a.m. ■April ■ 17 host Lincoln-Way West, 5 p.m. Girls Water Polo ■April ■ 12 host Lincoln-Way East, 5 p.m. ■April ■ 17 at Lincoln-Way West, 5 p.m. ■April ■ 18 at Waubonsie Valley, 6 p.m. Badminton ■April ■ 12 host Sandburg, 4:30 p.m. ■April ■ 14 at New Trier Featherfest, 8:30 a.m. ■April ■ 17 host Lincoln-Way East (Senior Night), 4:30 p.m. Boys Lacrosse ■April ■ 17 at Marist, 6:30 p.m. ■April ■ 18 host Minooka, 5:30 p.m. sports the Homer Horizon | April 12, 2018 | 37 Youth Football Youth football leagues taking safety head-on T.J. Kremer III Contributing Editor Football is an inherently violent sport. Few people would dispute that. There’s no real way of getting around the violent aspect of the game and still have it called “football.” The game is filled with violent collisions on nearly every single play; however, steps have been taken in recent years in light of the discoveries that long-term damage from concussions can have on players’ brains. Improvements to players’ gear, better training of coaching staff and a reduction in the amount of contact drills in practices are just some of the ways area youth football leagues are working to make the game safer for younger players. What the data shows Despite the best intentions of many scientists and those in the medical field, the data on concussions and traumatic brain injury can be spotty, mostly due to a lack of sufficient reporting of those injuries from youth football leagues across the country. One recent study, published in the Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine in February 2017, reports that injury rates among the approximately 2.8 million participants in youth football can vary anywhere from 2.3 percent all the way up to 30.4 percent, and cites a report from USA Football of a concussion rate of 4 percent. The study found that: “Of the 46,416 exposures, there were a total of 128 injuries, representing 121 different players. The players who were injured ranged from 8 to 13 years of age, with a mean age of 10.6 years and a median age of 11 years. The overall injury rate was 2.76 injuries per 1000 exposures. Of the 128 injuries, 65 were considered severe. Of the 65 severe injuries, 33 were classified as concussions.” The data also showed, perhaps somewhat surprisingly, that participants in flag football had nearly double the concussions per 1,000 exposures rate (1.33) as tackle football (.68). Long histories, new safety measures Some of our area youth football leagues have been around for decades, such as the Mokena Burros, now in its 56th year. The Burros made a switch this past year to join the nationwide Pop Warner League, the same league as Lockport Jr. Porters, while the Frankfort Square Wildcats and the Homer Stallions belong to the River Valley Youth Football League. With the switch to the Pop Warner league comes a wealth of national resources for the Mokena and Lockport leagues, including access to the latest training for coaches on how to make practices and games safer for participants. The Burros have eliminated kickoffs for games, which was aimed at significantly reducing the amount of full-speed, head-on impact in games. Instead of kicking it off, the ball is placed at the 35-yard line to start each half and after each score in all Tiny Mite (5- to 7-years-olds), Mitey Mite (7- to 9-year olds) and Junior Pee Wee (8- to 10- year olds) games; however, the Burros will still teach the fundamentals of kick-off and receive, albeit non-contact, at practice to prepare them as they get older, according to Rusy Mitcheff, president of the Burros. The Lockport Jr. Porters are members of the Pop Warner League, which provides safety training for coaches. 22nd century media file photos The Homer Stallions are part of the River Valley Youth Football League, which requires inspections of equipment every two years. Pop Warner has also implemented limiting player contact at practice, restricting contact to 25 percent of practice time. “With the tools and support provided by Pop Warner to the Mokena Burros, we believe we can achieve a quality, fundamental practice and teach the game of football,” Mitcheff said. Coaches are now certified and are mandated to train in USA Football’s Heads Up Football program and Pop Warner certification where safer approaches to tackling and blocking are taught. In addition to the coaching certification, first responders are provided at both Pop Warner and River Valley League games to promote safety and to provide the attention to a player if required. Finally, equipment from both leagues is inspected yearly in Pop Warner, and once every two years in River Valley, and any defective equipment is replaced to ensure safety. And the leagues are always looking for the latest equipment to offer that would increase safety even more, said Ken Dangman, Frankfort Square Wildcats coach and director of equipment on the Frankfort Square Wildcats Board of Directors. “Better safe than sorry; you never know when and if something is going to happen,” Dangman said. “We’re obviously real big on the equipment. We follow all the rules, like we’re supposed to … Just making sure the kids are safe. They’re out there under our hands. We’re with them everyday. God forbid something would happen. That’s not something we’d ever be looking to have happen.” Registration is currently ongoing for all flag football, tackle football and cheer programs. For more information on registration, visit Mokena Burros at mokenaburros. com, Homer Stallions at, and Lockport Jr. Porters at jr