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Friday, March 1, 2013

Pioneers Collect Team, Individual Awards

The St. Paul Pioneers have long been viewed as one of the top semi-pro football teams in the country. Recently, the folks at 360 Sports, organizers of bowl games and championships all over the United States and Mexico, made it official.

St. Paul was named the semi-pro team of the year in the United States by 360 Sports after the Pioneers won the USA Bowl National Championship in Daytona Beach, Fla., in January. In addition, the Pioneers ended the 2012 season tied with the Central Penn Piranha as the top-ranked team in semi-pro.

Pioneers Head Coach Mark Heiser was also recognized, winning 360 Sports Coach of the Year honors. It is the second such award for Heiser, who was named NAFL Coach of the Year in 2009, following the Pioneers National Championship win over the Nashville Storm in Miami, Fla. When he is not coaching the Pioneers, Heiser is the head football coach at Patrick Henry High School in Minneapolis.

And St. Paul's elite running back, Isaac Odim, was named Offensive Player of the Year by 360 Sports, following his 1,200-yard rushing season. Odim rushed for three touchdowns in the Pioneers 30-7 win over the North Texas Longhorns in Daytona, for which he was named Player of the Game.

Odim, who won a national collegiate title at the University of Minnesota-Duluth and spent time in training camp with the San Diego Chargers, is currently a graduate student at Duke University.

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