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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Preparing for Another Championship

First Tryout A Success: Preparing for Another Championship
By Cassie KIckert

Although the National Championship bowl game against the North Texas Longhorns is fast approaching, the Pioneers took time away from preparation to look for new talent for their 2013 season – and what they hope will be more championships to come.

In particular, the Pioneers looked to add to their 2012 league-leading offense as most of the would-be Pioneers were offensive players.

Carlos Concepcion, a running back and friend of All-Star defensive back Lionel Lamarre and receiver Delane Woods, was one player hoping to make the 2013 Pioneers squad. Lamarre, Woods and Concepcion play basketball together often.

In addition to football and basketball, Concepcion enjoys playing racquetball in his free time. He played for the Menomonie Thunderhawks last season, who the Pioneers beat 58-0 in St. Paul.

He hopes to play professionally one day but added that playing for the Pioneers would be a “good start with a good team”.

Another position the Pioneers are always looking for more talent at is receiver. There were plenty to choose from at Saturday’s tryout.

One impressive hopeful is Davarus Branigan. Branigan has three years of experience playing semi-pro football in the Quad Cities. He played for the Quad City Stallions for two years until the team was unable to finish the 2011 season. He then joined the Quad City Raiders.

Chris Molitor was another receiver at Saturday’s tryout. Molitor said his goal is to “help the team win in any way I can.”

He is not new to football, however. He played arena football for one season in 2007 for the Sioux Falls Storm of the Indoor Football league

Molitor is a Lakeville, Minn. native. He works as a strength and conditioning coach for the Minnesota Swarm, Minnesota’s professional lacrosse team. He also owns a sports performance business for training athletes.

Receiver/Quarterback Cleveland McCoy has been an excellent addition to the Pioneers in their preparations for the USA Bowl in Daytona Beach and is also hoping to make an impact for the Pioneers in 2013. He is travelling with the team to Florida for the National Championship.

His past football experience includes training camps with the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions. In addition, he played professionally for the Canadian Football League’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

He recently moved to Minnesota from South Carolina and is the recreation coordinator at the Hubert Humphrey Job Corps Center.

While the Pioneers will be the first semi-pro team he has played for, he says that the organization is great and “has a pro atmosphere.”

The next Pioneers tryout is February 17th from 12pm to 2pm at Bethel University’s Sports and Recreations Center. Registration starts at 11:30.

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