SPORTS Wolfpack celebrates 21st anniversary, worries about its next season

Stanley Thompson, a member of the 12-and-under Southside Wolfpack team, makes some yardage during the Wolfpack’s homecoming game with the Bolingbrook Buccaneers on the Jackson Park Athletic Field, Sunday, Oct. 7. -Marc Monaghan

By JOSEPH PHILLIPS
Sports Writer

The Southside Wolfpack Youth Football Team celebrated its 21st season with three out of four wins, at Jackson Park Field,  but their joy was overshadowed by concerns of where the team will play next season.

The team has been playing its games at the track and field at Jackson Park, which is scheduled to be relocated due to the building of the Obama Presidential Center.

Last month, the City and Chicago Park District began construction, which was suspended when concerns were raised by public interest groups and federal agencies. Construction can not resume until hearings on issues surrounding the Obama Presidential Center are resolved.

Twelve-and-under Southside Wolfpack royalty (center – left to right) Rahfeeq Katumbusi [King], Vickiya Fisher [Queen], Dwayne McGraw [Prince], and Da’Shia Fisher [Princess] pose with twelve-and-under head coach Rynell Morgan (far right) and assistant coach Will Eusilagbara (far left) and the team mascot during half-time of the Wolfpack’s twelve-and-under homecoming game with the Bolingbrook Buccaneers on the Jackson Park Athletic Field, Sunday, Oct, 7. -Marc Monaghan

Louis McCurry, president of the Jackson Park Advisory Council, said the delay in construction will cost the student athletes scholarship opportunities.

“Winter cold will halt construction and there will be no competitive field for spring sports such as track and field,” said Curry, who said that many of the youth on the football team are also on the track and field team. “If they are unable to get a new track and field they won’t be able to participate in competitions and won’t be able to apply for scholarships.”

Head coach and founder of the Southside Wolfpack Youth football team, Earnest Radcliff, nephew of baseball legend Ted “Double Duty” Radcliff of the Negro League, said, “It’s a very emotional day.”

The 12-and-under Southside Wolfpack cheerleaders, the Ladye Wolves, perform during half-time of the 12-and-under homecoming game with the Bolingbrook Buccaneers on the Jackson Park Athletic Field, Sunday, Oct. 7. -Marc Monaghan

Radcliff, who is also one of the coaches of the track team, believes it is possible that his team has played its last Homecoming game at Jackson Park Field due to the halt in construction.

In spite of the uncertainty over where next season’s games will be played, the Wolfpack teams, ages 8 through 14, dominated three out of their four match-ups against their opponents: the Bolingbrook Buccaneers, including a 13-0 win for the 8-and-under team, a 19-0 victory for the 10-and-under team, a 29-0 victory for the 12-and-under team, and a 14-0 loss for the 14-and-under varsity team.

herald@hpherald.com