The Orland Hills Wolves Football & Cheerleading Association celebrated its 2012 Homecoming Weekend September 7-8. The weekend began with the association’s first ever homecoming dance for football players, cheerleaders and their families.
“This was the first time the Wolves hosted a homecoming dance for its families,” said Wolves Board President and Varsity Football Coach Dave Vogt who has been involved with the program since it was created. “It was a nice way to kick off the weekend and get the celebration started,” he added.
The Wolves Homecoming Dance included the announcing of the homecoming princes, princesses, king and queen for each of the association’s four levels, Super Lights, Lights, Junior Varsity and Varsity. The Wolves’ 2012 Homecoming Court included Super Lights Prince Jake Tanguilut and Princess Mikayla Swiercz;
Lights Prince Rocco Iannantone and Princess Madison LaSusa; Junior Varsity Prince Tony Alejo and Princess Jennifer Zufan; and Varsity King Rashi Brown and
Queen Madison DeRoo.
Game day brought a number of activities to the Wolves’ home field at Richard F. Kelly Park in Orland Hills. The festivities began with football players and cheerleaders honoring family members who are veterans of the United States
“We have a number of families with loved ones currently serving and veterans,” said Wolves Cheerleading Director Jenn Iannantone. “This was a nice way for us to begin our homecoming celebration, by thanking the heroes who have served our country,” she added. The ceremony honoring veterans also included a moment of silence for those killed in the 9/11 attacks.
As each veteran’s name, branch and length of service was announced, the player or cheerleader from their family ran down the field to present their loved one with an American flag.
“It was pretty moving as we heard the announcer describe the veteran’s military service and then you see the kids in their Wolves uniforms running down the field to give their family member an American flag and lots of hugs,” Vogt said.
United States military veterans honored included Martin Carbray, grandfather of Lindsay Burns; Michael Hastings, uncle of Maggie and Kyle Hastings; Charles Day, grandfather of Bailie Hess; Nick Iannantone, father of Jake and Dominic Iannantone; Terry Glackin, grandfather of Connor Koehler; Dusty Rhodes, grandfather of Seamus, Ronan and Conlan Poynton.
Honored veterans also included Robert Herman, grandfather of Joey and Frankie Roti; Russell and Nick Vogt, grandfather and brother of Stephanie Vogt; Ruben Flores and Ruben Flores, Jr., grandfather and uncle of Marissa and Jayson Walls; John Kruis, grandfather of John, Kevin and Justin Zerth; Dave DeHaan, Sr., grandfather of Mike and Joe DeHaan.
Each of the games opened with the Wolves players and cheers being introduced as they crossed the field to present their parents with a homecoming favor.
“We honor the parents every year at homecoming. It’s a nice way to thank them for the commitment they make to having their kids in the Wolves program,” Vogt said. “We’ve watched some of these kids be a part of this homecoming tradition every year since they were little. Our eighth graders celebrated their last homecoming as Wolves and are moving onto high school. We hope the years they spent with the Wolves hold great memories for them,” he added.
Halftime featured a mass cheer and dance performance by the 90 award winning Orland Hills Wolves Cheerleaders.
“The Wolves Cheerleaders, ranging in age from five to 13, practiced for four weeks for the homecoming halftime and their hard work showed during each of the halftime performances on Saturday,” said Jenn Iannatone. “It was a beautiful day and everyone enjoyed seeing all of the girls’ smiling faces as they performed their halftime routine,” she added.
While the celebratory tone of the Wolves’ weekend continued, the teams didn’t fare as well against the first place Joliet Ravens. One Wolves team emerged victorious against the Ravens, the Wolves Lights defeated the Ravens Lights 26 to 12. The previously undefeated Wolves Super Lights fell to Joliet 26 to 24. Both the Wolves Junior Varsity and Varsity Teams were defeated.
“The Ravens were tough opponents all day,” said Football Athletic Director Rick Iannantone. “Our guys gave it their best and we were pleased to come out with our Lights enjoying a win,” he added.
The Orland Hills Wolves Football & Cheerleading Association was founded in 1999 and is part of the River Valley Football League. The association offers cheerleading and football for area children ages six through 14 and plays according to the River Valley’s striper rules of football. Participants include children from Orland Hills, Tinley Park, Orland Park, Homer Glen, Worth, Lockport and surrounding communities. Additional information can be found at www.ohwolves.com.