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Sunday, August 6, 2017

Pioneers fall to Warriors, championship run ends

The Reign has ended. There will be a new champion.

The St. Paul Pioneers, champions of the NEFL every season since joining the league in 2010, will not repeat as top dog in 2017.

The Minneapolis Warriors, in a defensive battle, had just enough offense to send the Pioneers home, 17-7 Saturday at East Ridge High School in Woodbury.

The Pioneers scored first, taking a 7-0 lead on a Cleve McCoy touchdown run in the first half. But the Warriors would knot the score, 7-7, just before halftime.
Minneapolis would score twice more in the second half to seal the win. St. Paul finishes the season 9-4 overall, 8-3 in the NEFL. It is the first time in eight seasons that the Pioneers have not finished as NEFL champions.

Minneapolis will play the Northland Bulls next week in the Elite Bowl.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Pioneers overwhelm Invaders 44-3

Pioneers quarterback Cleve McCoy ran for three touchdowns and passed for another as the St. Paul Pioneers thoroughly dominated the Fargo Invaders 44-3 Saturday at Sea Foam Stadium in St. Paul in the first round of the NEFL playoffs. McCoy finished 15 of 18 passing for 222 yards, a touchdown and an interception.

Offense, defense and special teams were all clicking from the start fro the Pioneers, as St. Paul opened a 14-0 first quarter lead and never looked back. The Pioneers led 31-3 at halftime. St. Paul's Isiah Sims had 108 yards and a touchdown rushing, as well as being on the receiving end of McCoy's scoring toss. Herschel Brazell also had a rushing touchdown and Jay Harding booted a 26-yard field goal. The Pioneers defense held the Invaders to less than 100 yards passing and a 33-yard field goal.

With the playoff win, St. Paul improved to 9-3 overall and 7-2 in NEFL play. St. Paul moved on to the West Division Championship game against the top-seeded Minneapolis Warriors. The game will be played Aug. 5 at Robbinsdale Cooper High School at a time to be determined.
Fargo ends their season, their first in the NEFL, with an overall record of 6-4.

Players of the Game:
Offense - Cleve McCoy.
Special Teams - Cordero Jones.
Defense - Mike Juberian.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Pioneers close season with dominant win, playoffs next

On a brilliant sunny and hot day at Sea Foam Stadium, the St. Paul Pioneers closed out the 2017 regular season by raining points down on the Minnesota Brawlers. Final score: 60-0 Pioneers.

Cornerback Dominic Peace got the scoring parade started, returning the opening Brawlers punt for a touchdown. The points came fast and furious after that, as St. Paul overwhelmed an undermanned but determined Brawlers squad that showed no quit, but just didn't have the players to compete.

Quarterback Cleve McCoy threw 5 touchdown passes -- two to wideout Delane Woods and one each to Stacy Kalkwarf, Davarus Branigan and Juice Akins. Pioneers running backs Herschel Brazell and Isiah Sims had touchdowns rushing -- with Sims topping 1,000 yards rushing for the season and leading the league in rushing yards.

Defensive back Lionel Lamarre also had a touchdown on a punt return, as the Pioneers found many different ways to score.

The Brawlers' best chance to put points on the board came at the end of an impressive drive. But Pioneers linebacker Michael Juberian blocked the field goal attempt as St. Paul's defense poured through the middle of the Brawler line.

St. Paul finishes 8-3 overall, 6-2 in the NEFL West.

Players of the Game:
Offense - Isiah Sims.
Defense - Bobby Wright.
Special Teams - Stacy Kalkwarf.

The Pioneers are waiting to receive official word from the Northern Elite Football League on where the team is seeded for the playoffs. Saturday ended with some confusion over whether St. Paul would be the top seed in the West, and have a first round bye, or be seeded second and have a home playoff game July 29. We will update our website and Facebook pages as soon as we receive official word.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Pioneers fall in defensive battle

In a game dominated by the defenses, one mistake would turn the tide.

On Saturday in Fargo, N.D., the St. Paul Pioneers made the mistake. The Fargo Invaders took the game.

St. Paul fell 14-0 at Shanley High School in a game that, seconds from becoming a 7-7 tie, instead put the Pioneers in the unfamiliar position of no longer being in front of the west. With the win, the Invaders take over first place in the NEFL West with a 6-1 record.

The Pioneers fall to 5-2, 7-3 overall.

Fargo led 7-0 at the half. The Pioneers' best drive was in the 4th quarter, when St. Paul drove the length of the field to have a first and goal inside the Fargo 2 yard line.

A Pioneers score could have tied the game. Instead, Fargo made the biggest play of the game, stripping the ball from NEFL-leading rusher Isiah Sims and returning it 98 yards for the touchdown and the final points of the night.

This week's slate of games over the final regular season weekend will be huge for playoff seeding. Fargo plays at the Warriors and the Pioneers are home against the Brawlers.

If Fargo wins, they will be the top seed in the west. If the Pioneers and Warriors both win, there will be a 3-way tie in the west and the top seed will go to the team that has surrendered the fewest points.

It's sure to be an exciting close to the regular season at Sea Foam. We hope to see you and HEAR you there. Kickoff is set for noon.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Pioneers Overwhelm Sting 45-6

Two Cleve McCoy touchdown passes and a swarming Pioneers secondary that picked off Sting quarterbacks three times helped the St. Paul Pioneers top the Battle Creek Sting 45-6 Saturday night at Sea Foam Stadium.

On a beautiful night for football, the Pioneers opened the scoring with a Jay Harding field goal. They never looked back.

Daireus Mock scored on an 80-yard touchdown run and an Isiah Sims short touchdown plunge, set up by a Shaq Theus interception, put the Pioneers up 17-0 in the second quarter. A long Sting touchdown pass closed the gap a bit. But the Sting missed the extra point and would not score again on the night as the Pioneers led 17-6. Mock had 124 yards rushing on just 7 attempts. Sims finished with 69 yards on 14 attempts and leads the league with 798 yards on the ground.

A McCoy to Juice Akins strike put the Pioneers up 24-6. Then Brandon Murdock, who continually harassed Sting ball carriers and quarterbacks all night, single-handedly beat his man, sacked the Sting quarterback, stripped the ball and recovered the fumble. McCoy wasted little time, hitting Delane Woods with his second TD toss and giving St. Paul a 31-6 lead. McCoy, a product of South Carolina State University, finished the night 9 of 11 passing, for 139 yards and two touchdowns. He had a passer rating of 158.3.

Dominic Peace returned his first interception of the game 70 yards for a score and a second Peace interception later in the end zone snuffed the best Sting opportunity to hit pay dirt in the third quarter. Peace has four interceptions on the season, and two touchdowns.

A did-you-see-that sideline grab of a Dennis Gudim pass by Akins set up the final touchdown of the night, a 38-yard burst up the left sideline by Hershel Brazell.

Players of the game:
Special Teams - Jay Harding.
Offense - Cleve McCoy.
Defense - Brandon Murdock and Dominic Peace.

The Pioneers, 7-2 overall and 5-1 in the West Division of the NEFL, head to Fargo, ND, next week to play the Invaders as the regular season nears its conclusion. The game has playoff seeding implications as the winning team will have the inside track to home field advantage.