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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

St. Paul Pioneers are now a charitable organization... add board member

The St. Paul Pioneers are excited to make two announcements:
First, we are now recognized by the IRS as a charitable (5013(c) ) organization.

We are looking forward to continuing our work with the community both in continuing the development of talented football players and working to educate individuals on the game.

Second, we are pleased to add Michael Krebsbach to our volunteer Board of Directors.

Mike is a CPA with more than 38 years of governmental, private industry and nonprofit companies. Mike spent the first 18 years of his career in the US Air Force, retiring in 1994. During this time, he earned both his Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and his MBA. Upon returning to Minnesota, he joined Northwest Airlines running the Ground Payroll Department. He then took a role with Personnel Decisions International, where he progressed through various roles up to Vice President of Global Accounting Operations. Mike is currently is the CFO and COO at AccessAbility Inc., A nonprofit organization in Minneapolis serving individuals with serious personal challenges become self-sufficient. Additionally, Mike is the Founder and Chairman of the Krebsbach Charitable Foundation, an organization he started after the loss of his oldest son.  Mike has also served on the board of directors for 12 years with the North Central Business Travel Association. Twice during that span he led the organization as President.

Welcome to the Pioneers, Mike!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Pioneers to hold first tryout for 2015 season

The St. Paul Pioneers, playing for a third National Championship in Daytona Beach on Jan. 17, invite football players 18 and older to find out if they have what it takes to join a champion.

The Pioneers' first tryout of 2015 will be at their home field, SeaFoam Stadium on the campus of Concordia University-St. Paul. The tryout will be followed by a team practice, as the Pioneers prepare to take on the Texas Bullets for the USA Bowl Spring/Summer National Championship.

The tryout will be under the dome at Concordia and players should wear workout wear and cleats. Cost to try out is $20.

Tryouts start at 10 a.m. sharp. Candidates should be at SeaFoam a half hour early to register.

Promising candidates will be invited to return to a second tryout in February, after the Pioneers return from Florida.

Nine league championships -- including the past five NEFL titles, two regional crowns. One national runner-up and two National Championships. And perhaps a third to come.

Think you have what it takes to help us add to that list?



Wednesday, November 26, 2014

St. Paul Pioneers already among the nation's elite... playing for more!

There is one semi-pro football team that conducts free football camps for the children of St. Paul...

The St. Paul Pioneers!

There is only one semi-pro football team to win 5 straight NEFL Championships!

The St. Paul Pioneers!

And there is only ONE Minnesota Semi-pro football team to win a National Championship... and we did it twice and are going for our third in January.

The St. Paul Pioneers!

Do you have what it takes to play for one of the best semi-pro football teams in the United States?

2015 Pioneers tryouts will be announced soon!







Friday, October 24, 2014

Pioneers to Play for Third National Championship!

Exciting News!

The St. Paul Pioneers, ranked #9 in the American Football Top 25 Poll and ranked #1 in the North by Semi-Pro Elite have been invited to play the #3 Texas Bullets in the USA Bowl Spring/Summer National Championship.

The game will be played Jan. 17 in Daytona Beach, Fla. The 11-1 Pioneers are going for their third national title since 2009. The Bullets are 16-0 and champions of the Texas United Football League.

St. Paul defeated the North Texas Longhorns in this game in January 2013 to win its second National Championship. The Pioneers won the 2009 NAFL National Championship over the Nashville Storm in Miami Beach that year.

Check back with us here for more details about the game.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Pioneers Come Back in 4th Quarter to Win Fifth Straight League Championship


By Cassie Kickert

DE-FENSE! DE-FENSE!  Pioneers fans raised that cheer many, many times late in the Elite Bowl, straining, yelling, hoping their team could find victory over the Fox Valley Force. It didn’t start pretty for the Pioneers. Nobody expected an easy win. Nobody anticipated what happened either.

After giving up 14 points in the first quarter, the Pioneers defense was tough all night.
The Force, on their opening drive, scored. Force quarterback T.J. Arndt threw the ball just high enough so that only his receiver, T.J. Hulbert, could catch it. One drive, and the Force led 7-0.

But the Pioneers offense would respond, with a punishing drive. After Lionel Lamarre gave the offense great field position at the 39, Riza Mahmoud and the offensive line did the rest. After jumping over the pile of Force defenders for a first down at the 17, Mahmoud took it the rest of the way for the score on the next play.
Lamarre with a great return.

A bad snap meant the Force still had the lead, 7-6.

The fact that both teams were battling was no surprise. Coming into the game Saturday, the Force were also undefeated in league play, losing only to the Racine Raiders in Racine, Wisconsin. They were about to show the Pioneers why. Quarterback T.J. Arndt came right back with another long touchdown pass, hitting Andy DeBruin, who then ran 77 yards for another Force touchdown.

DeBruin’s touchdown scamper made it 14-6 Force. Then, Fox Valley’s trademark defense showed they’re championship caliber too.

Time and again, the Pioneers tried to get Mahmoud going. But, save for the early touchdown run, he was met time and again by a slew of Force defenders at or near the line of scrimmage. McCoy, under pressure for most of the game, wasn’t able to do much either. Pressure can often lead to mistakes, such as an interception. On two consecutive second quarter drives, that’s exactly what happened.

“I came in and said we’re not going to lose but we just had to get going. I think that first drive was a confident drive but then we, and I, kinda got out of [our] shell a little bit and weren’t firing around and just being too laid back,” McCoy said.
Mahmoud had two touchdowns.

Good thing, then, that the Force defense wasn’t the only stellar defense on the field Saturday. Although 
McCoy got intercepted twice, the St. Paul Pioneers defense had his back.

McCoy’s two interceptions did something else, too. They woke up the crowd, Pioneers and Force fans alike. Everybody began cheering on every play – with all they had.

As everyone watched, the stout Pioneers defense held the Force out of the end zone and, ultimately, to zero points after McCoy’s interceptions.

“We lean on each other when we need each other,” Lamarre said.

However, as one possession after another ended without a score, frustration began to mount.
Mahmoud gave credit to the Force defense for the Pioneers’ offensive struggles.

“You can’t take any credit away from the Force. They’re a solid team. They worked our [offensive] line. Folks were getting tired out there. We started strong. They beat on us for a little bit. We weren’t getting anything accomplished and it’s exhausting to a team. The thing [to do] for us was just to stay positive, keep our heads on straight and just fight through it,” he said.

Head Coach Mark Heiser agreed, saying the Force defense gave the Pioneers offense some issues but “we were able to adjust and make some big plays."

Halftime allowed the Pioneers an opportunity to regroup and make adjustments, which, according to Lamarre, the coaches did a great job of. It also gave everyone a chance to rehydrate. The Pioneers were going to need every fan’s voice if they were going to beat the formidable Fox Valley Force and be named Champions once again.

Safety Jake Lindsey said that halftime adjustments and believing in each other were the keys to staying in the game.

“We made an adjustment to what they were doing and we believed in each other and stuck together and nobody got down or on anybody. We just kept battling,” he said.

It took a while, though, in the second half, for the aforementioned adjustments to show up offensively.
So, as it has done all season, the defense picked up the slack. Defensive lineman Jeff McGaster and Brandon Murdock and the rest of the defensive line made it their personal mission to cause havoc for Force quarterback T.J. Arndt.

Heiser had great things to say about his defense’s performance, especially in the second half.

“In the second half we did a great job of getting pressure on the QB which led to a few interceptions. Our defense stepped up huge. Coach Powell put together a great game plan with some excellent half time adjustments. Defense wins championships and we have always been known for playing strong defense,” he said.

As time continued to go by in the third quarter, everybody began to wonder if the Pioneers were ever going to score and what it would take to make that happen.

Lindsey's interception was the spark.
The Force defense wasn’t letting up. The third quarter ended, with the Force still leading 14-6.

Then, it happened. The play all Pioneers fans, players, coaches and staff had been waiting all game for. This play lifted all Pioneers’ spirits and gave new meaning to the phrase “great field position.”

Lolar had a big touchdown late.
After the Pioneers defense pinned Arndt and the Force deep in their own territory – at their own 5 yard line – Lindsey intercepted the Fox Valley quarterback’s pass. The ball was placed at the Force 11 yard line. McCoy threw to receiver Damien Lolar, whose outstretched arms were waiting for the ball in the end zone.

Touchdown Pioneers.

But after St. Paul was unsuccessful on a two point conversion, the Force still led -- 14-12. More fans’ yelling – and more big plays – would be needed.

That’s when the Pioneers defense stepped up again. First-year player Ronald Zollicoffer intercepted Arndt again. However, McCoy also got intercepted shortly thereafter.

Zollicoffer made an acrobatic interception.
The Force would later look back and regret the next choice they made. They chose to go for it on fourth down and didn’t make it. After the turnover on downs, Mahmoud literally took over the game. On first down, he got three yards. On second and third, he gained five and 18, respectively.

Then, everybody watched as he ran down the far sideline, no defender able to catch him, to the end zone for a touchdown. He also ran in the two point conversion, giving the Pioneers their first lead of the game with about six and a half minutes to go.

The scoreboard read 20-14 Pioneers.

All Pioneers players, coaches, staff and fans knew as soon as Mahmoud ran into the end zone, the Pioneers wouldn’t relinquish that lead.

Lindsey's second pick sealed the game.
There was still work to be done, though. Jake Lindsey wasted no time getting back to work. He caught the Pioneers’ third interception of the day a few minutes later to more cheers.

It was then that the Pioneers began to celebrate.

After McCoy took a knee, the Pioneers were officially NEFL  champs again—for the fifth consecutive season. This game wasn’t easy. It took contributions from everybody—including the crowd—for the team to win.

When asked what the key was to winning this season and this game, receiver Donte Pettis said:

“Us staying together as a family. Practicing, guys hanging out outside of football, just being together, trusting each other, communicating. Those are the things that build a dynasty.”

Truly, it was a team win. The Pioneers offense scored just enough to beat the Force. As usual, the defense did the rest.

Lamarre pointed out that the defense might have enabled the Pioneers to win games but it was the offense that had to come through in the end.

“Our defense did get us to the fourth quarter but it’s about finishing and our offense finished for us. We were down 14-6. Even if we kept up a shutout, we still would have lost if our offense didn’t come through for us and they definitely did,” he said.

Pioneers with multiple championships with the Pioneers – players like Lamarre, McCoy, Mahmoud and Pettis – were asked which one has meant the most. All of them said this one did because of how hard they had to work to achieve it.

“This year, it’s the sweetest, it’s the best. We just picked each other up. The first half, defense carried the offense. Second half, offense carried us. This was the most complete victory we’ve had and the closest game we’ve played in years. This one’s way sweeter than any of the ones we’ve had in the past,” Lamarre said.

McCoy said he was confident, even when things looked tough.

“I didn’t have a doubt that we were going to win this game. I came in and said we’re not going to lose but we just had to get going…. Halftime really helped. We came in and did some things and we made plays. Defense figured it out and we put up just enough to win the game. That’s what matters,” he said.

When comparing this championship to the 2009 Championship team, Pettis said this one means more because of the effort it took to win the game.

“We hadn’t faced adversity [this season] like being behind [until tonight]. [Tonight] we showed we have real character,” he said.

He is right about that. Although they were behind for most of the game, the Pioneers never quit, never faltered. They kept their heads up high and persevered and are now NEFL Champions for the fifth consecutive year. Congratulations Pioneers!


Players of the Game:
Defense -- Jake Lindsey
Offense -- Riza Mahmoud
Special Teams -- Rob Wills and John Ostertag.







Sunday, August 10, 2014

Several Pioneers Earn All-Star, League Honors

The 2014 NEFL Champion St. Paul Pioneers are proud to announce that several of our players earned All-Star and League honors. Congratulations to all those honored. They are:

League MVP: Running back Isaac Odim.
Assistant Coach of the Year: James Walsh.

All-Stars:
QB Cleveland McCoy.
RB Isaac Odim
RB Riza Mahmoud
OL CJ Sanderson
DB Lionel Lamarre
DB Jake Lindsey
LB Bill Quistorff
DL Jeff McGaster
DL Ed Smith

All-Star Honorable Mention:
OL Zac Thompson
OL Scott Schmidt
K/P Jay Harding

CJ Sanderson

Cleve McCoy

Jeff McGaster and Ed Smith

Isaac Odim

Jay Harding

Lionel Lamarre, Jake Lindsey and Bill Quistorff

Riza Mahmoud

Scott Schmidt

Zac Thomspon

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Pioneers win 5th Straight NEFL Title!

Champs again!
For the fifth year in a row, the St. Paul Pioneers are NEFL champions, after beating the Fox Valley Force 20-14 in a hard-hitting, emotionally draining game.
In a game where both teams were undefeated in league play and nationally ranked, this one lived up to the hype. The Force finish the season 12-2.
The Pioneers are 11-1 and won their fifth straight NEFL crown, and their sixth straight league championship overall - dating back to the 2009 NAFL championship.
Players of the game:
Offense: Riza Mahmoud.
Defense: Jake Lindsey (two interceptions).
Special Teams: Rob Wills and John Ostertag.

Fox Valley, St. Paul Battle Today for League Supremacy!

Great Day for a Championship Game!
Please join us at SeaFoam Stadium at Hamline and Marshall Avenue for the NEFL Championship, Elite Bowl VII.
The St. Paul Pioneers vs. the Fox Valley Force in a battle of unbeatens.
Kickoff is 7 p.m.
Admission: $10 for adults. Children 12 and under always admitted free.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Pioneers top tough Bulls squad 6-0, return to Elite Bowl.

Dominant Defense Pushes Pioneers Over Bulls

By Cassie Kickert

Saturday at Concordia’s Seafoam Stadium, the St. Paul Pioneers took on a familiar opponent—a team they thought they knew—the North Bank Bulls. When the Pioneers took the field, everyone thought the Pioneers would score more than six points.

The Bulls, however, had other ideas.

Despite finishing just 3-5 in the regular season with two blowout losses to St. Paul – they were on a mission. A mission to defeat the Pioneers.

The week before, they pulled off an upset against the Minnesota Sting. Could they do it again at Seafoam against the Pioneers?

Well, no. But it it wasn’t because of lack of effort. Those in attendance clearly saw that the Bulls defense played their hearts out. However, the Pioneers defense was even better.

This game would be an emotional one filled with many significant plays, any one of which could have 
changed the outcome. The Bulls’ first possession took almost nine minutes off the clock. The result? Zero points. Why? Because defensive lineman Ed Smith blocked Jimmie Mattson’s field goal attempt.

Then, after the Bulls defense forced quarterback Cleveland McCoy to fumble, it was defensive back Terry Jones’ turn.  Jones took the ball right back, intercepting Bulls quarterback Brett Schreiner. McCoy took advantage, running around the right side for a touchdown. John Ostertag’s extra point was no good, though, making the score 6-0 Pioneers.

That’s what the scoreboard would say at the end of the game.

The running game, a Pioneers staple all season, wasn’t much help. Chunks of yards were hard to come by Saturday for Riza Mahmoud and Isaac Odim, the Pioneers usually-dominant running backs. Just when the Pioneers thought they were going to put more points on the board, the Bulls dashed their hopes by blocking kicker Jay Harding’s field goal attempt.

The third quarter was more of the same. Frustrations rose as the Pioneers could not score. Emotions were especially high after the Bulls recovered another Pioneers fumble.

Lemarre after a pick.
Then, just when it seemed that the Bulls were about to score and take the lead, Lionel Lamarre made an amazing interception, leaping to snatch the ball out of the air.
The Pioneers sideline erupted, everyone coming down to congratulate him. The play lifted the entire sideline. 

Still, the offense couldn’t score.

So, a few minutes later, at the start of the fourth quarter, he did it again.
Time and again, the Pioneers defense had to stop the Bulls. Smith recorded a key sack. Running back Ronald Zollicoffer, who stepped in at corner, intercepted Schreiner yet again. It was the fourth takeaway of the day for the Pioneers.

Lamarre had this to say about the Pioneers’ performance:

“Defensively, I think we showed up and did what we had to do. We put a goose egg up. We come out every week trying to hold the other team scoreless. When our offense isn’t clicking, we pick them up and vice versa. We’ve had some bad games where our offense picked up the momentum. I think this game was important to let us know that we’re still the best defense in the nation in my opinion.”

Odim found yards tough to get.
On the next Bulls drive, defensive back Jake Lindsey delivered the fatal blow to the Bulls’ hopes of winning when he recovered Bulls receiver James Fields’ fumble.

Yes, the Pioneers only scored six points. They pulled out the win too, though, because all champions win and lose as a team.

Quarterback Cleveland McCoy said lack of creativity on offense contributed to the Pioneers’ struggles Saturday against the Bulls.

“We have to be more creative and consistent on offense. We left a lot of plays in the playbook on Saturday, we have to open things up, and when we do have a chance to capitalize on offense we can't squander those opportunities,” he said.

This Saturday, the Pioneers battle the Fox Valley Force for the NEFL Championship.

According to Lamarre, the Pioneers have not forgotten their two losses to the Force last year.

McCoy wants to be more creative.
“They beat us twice last year. That resonates. Our team hasn’t forgotten that. We’re definitely excited to face them. We expected to play them and we’re glad our season culminated into us playing them. They feel they’re the best team in their division and we feel we’re the best team in our division and the nation. It will be nice to have a great offense go against a great defense and see who comes out on top,” he said.


Game time is 7 pm at Concordia’s SeaFoam Stadium. It is sure to be another exciting, emotional game as two of the best teams in the country take the field. Please come join us!The St. Paul Pioneers will be playing for a fifth straight Northern Elite Football League title on Aug. 9th, after escaping with a hard-fought 6-0 victory over a determined North Bank Bulls.


This will be the second time the Pioneers and Force have faced off for the title. In 2010, St. Paul defeated Fox Valley to win its first of four straight NEFL crowns.


Please come join us!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Send your Kids to football camp... with the St. Paul Pioneers!

The St. Paul Pioneers are once again happy to be invited to coach at the Titans summer football camp next month. This is a terrific camp, during which young players receive great instruction and just have a lot of fun. Click on the flier for more information about how to register. The camp runs Aug. 6 and Aug. 7 in Blaine.



Pioneers give their time to St. Paul kids

Jeff McGaster, Alex Christen and Zac Thomas.
Before the Pioneers took on the Twin Cities Titans and locked up home field advantage for the NEFL playoffs, a group of players and Assistant Coach Pete Globa -- along with Board Members Marla Collins and George Hall -- conducted the team's annual youth football camp at St. Paul's Municipal Athletics field

The kids and players/coaches had a great time. Marla took some wonderful pictures and the Pioneers went on to beat the Titans 49-6. A great day all around!

It was another example of the Pioneers giving back to the City of St. Paul, a place we are proud to call home. And it was another chance to continue our partnership with St. Paul Parks and Recreation.

We are already looking forward to next year.


Davarus Branigan coaching a youngster.
Donte Pettis made new friends.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Pioneers Peaking at the Right Time


Team Effort Gives Pioneers Home Field Advantage

By Cassie Kickert

Despite having the number one seed in the NEFL’s Minnesota Division secured, home field advantage throughout the playoffs was still up for grabs in Saturday’s game against the Twin Cities Titans. Entering Saturday, the St. Paul Pioneers and the Fox Valley Force each were undefeated in league play. Therefore, who got home field advantage came down to how many points each team has given up this season.

Joseph Mapson scores the first of his two touchdowns.
It was, then, mainly up to the Pioneers’ defense to secure home field advantage for the team  a challenge they have proven capable of meeting all season. In the last few games, however, quarterback Cleveland McCoy and the offense have also begun to gel.

On Saturday, after the defense forced a 3-and-out, the first big play of the game came from special teams star Bobby Wright. He blocked the Titans punt and gave the Pioneers possession at the Titans’ 34. It didn’t take long for McCoy to work his magic. He threw to receiver Joseph Mapson, who was waiting in the end zone for the first score of the game.

Then, the defense chimed in with a big play of their own when linebacker Shaye Thomas intercepted Titans quarterback Shanon Capers and returned it to the Titans 13.

Shaye Thomas returned an interception.
Thomas said he was just in the right place at the right time:

“The ball got tipped right to me. My eyes opened up pretty big and [I] saw it and took off with it,” he said.
Then it was time for Riza Mahmoud. On the next play, he ran in the first of his four touchdowns of the day. He would later add a two point conversion.

For most of the game, the Titans were made mostly ineffective by the Pioneers dominating defense. As the Pioneers recovered punt after punt, the offense picked up chunks of yards and points. After Nate Beulah grabbed the Pioneers’ second interception of the day – his fourth this season – the Pioneers quickly took advantage again.

Mahmoud ran in another touchdown.

By halftime, the Pioneers had scored 35 points. The Titans? Zero.

Mahmoud, who ran seemingly at will Saturday and totaled 111 yards, said it was a team effort. The Pioneers other main running back, Isaac Odim, sat out the game. The team did not miss a beat.
Riza Mahmoud scored four rushing touchdowns.

“We have an awesome line, who when they feel like playing together, are an unstoppable unit. Combine that with two guys who have a hunger for seeing their team succeed. That's what makes us dominate, we play for our unit,” Mahmoud said.

McCoy and the offense proved they lost no momentum going into the third quarter when McCoy threw an amazing pass to Mapson again, who was waiting just over the goal line and caught it perfectly while staying inbounds.

The Titans would manage one touchdown when they intercepted a screen pass by Bryan Trulen and ran it back for the score. The Pioneers were unfazed.  The game would end just as it began, with two big plays by the Pioneers.

Mapson's second touchdown catch.
Defensive lineman Devin Waters grabbed an interception deep in Titans territory – ripping the ball away from the would-be receiver. It led to the Pioneers’ last score of the game, a touchdown pass from Trulen to tight end Robert Wills. Then, Mahmoud ran it in for two more points to put the exclamation mark on the victory.

The final score: 49-6 Pioneers.

All of which now sets the table for the 2014 NEFL playoffs. The Fox Valley Force, winners of the league’s Wisconsin Division, beat the Menominee Thunderhawks 27-13. Since Fox Valley has given up more points than the Pioneers, St. Paul will host the league championship game – should they make it that far.

Tight ends Eric Baumgartner and Rob Wills celebrate Wills' late TD.
The Pioneers must first play the winner of Saturday’s playoff game between the North Bank Bulls and the Minnesota Sting.

To make it to the championship, Mahmoud said the Pioneers need only to stick together and give it their best.


“To keep this going we have to stay hungry, believe in each other, and play with one hundred percent skill every play,” he said.

Defensive player of the game Ed Smith.
Players of the game:
Offense - Riza Mahmoud.
Defense - Ed Smith.
Special Teams - Bobby Wright.

Photos by Marla Collins.





Monday, June 30, 2014

Pioneers Outplay Sting in Woodbury


By Cassie Kickert

On a day filled with rain, in a season seemingly dominated by rain, the St. Paul Pioneers used the strong legs of their running backs and the power of their offensive line and defense to top the Minnesota Sting in a battle for first place in the Minnesota Division of the NEFL.

The outcome of the game – a 41-12 Pioneers victory – not only wrapped up the division for St. Paul, but it had implications for farther down the road in the playoffs as well. The Pioneers are now two games ahead of the Sting in the standings, important for playoff seeding. But the Pioneers also are keeping an eye on the Fox Valley Force in Wisconsin for the number one seed in the NEFL. As a result, extra importance is attached to every point scored and allowed from this point on.

The Pioneers running game – and defense – took care of the Sting.

Devin Waters recovers a fumble.
Despite the rain, running back Ronald Zollicoffer ran the Sting’s first punt all the way back for a touchdown. Then, the Sting made a mistake. They fumbled and Pioneers defensive lineman Devin Waters snatched the ball off the ground. His fumble recovery led to another touchdown – another run, this time by fullback Daryl Davis. Just like that, the score was 13-0 Pioneers.

Then, it was time for running back Isaac Odim to do what he does best —run straight through the defense for yet another Pioneers touchdown. The Sting would squeeze in a field goal before halftime after a Pioneers fumble.

Odim kept the motor going in the third quarter when he ran about 70 yards for another touchdown. The Sting would come back with a score of their own, courtesy of Jauhem Byrd.

How does Odim dominate game after game?  Odim gives credit to his offensive line.
“I say this was the best game they’ve {the offensive line} had all year.  They were doing a great job opening holes.  As a running back, if you’re not getting touched until you get to the linebackers, that’s always a good thing.  {Tonight} we were able to consistently pound the ball.”

Isaac Odim finds room to run.
About halfway through the third quarter, a bad snap on a Pioneers punt gave the Sting a safety. Then, the score was 27-12. The Sting would not score again, thanks to the Pioneers defense. The defensive line -- Jeff McGaster, Ed Smith, Waters, Wes Gadient and Brandon Murdock – hammered and harassed the Sting all game long.
In the fourth quarter, running back Riza Mahmoud decided not to let Odim have all the fun. Mahmoud dashed to the end zone on a draw play. And, then, it was Odim’s turn to put up the final points with the last of his three touchdowns. The final score: 41-12 Pioneers.

Odim said the Pioneers’ rivalry with the Minnesota Sting is “definitely a good one.  I’m glad we were able to step up in the fourth quarter and finish it out.”
The win was the Pioneers’ second over the Sting this season. St. Paul beat them earlier at SeaFoam Stadium 49-20. In three games against the Sting, dating back to the 2012 season, the Pioneers have outscored them 136-32.

Odim gained 239 yards on 23 carries. He now has 840 yards and 15 touchdowns in all games this season. He and Pioneers back Riza Mahmoud, who has 659 yards rushing and 6 touchdowns, lead the NEFL
The offensive line -- CJ Sanderson, Zac Thompson, Cory Huggar, Thomas Broussard, Scott Schmidt, Shannon Johnson, Alex Christen, Tyrese Brent and Jose Munguia – earned praise from Head Coach Mark Heiser.

“Our line played great,” he said. “When we needed them to step up, they had a monster game.”


The Pioneers are off for the fourth of July.  But they are now looking for a new opponent to play at Sea Foam Stadium July 12, after the Cedar Valley Charge had to cancel their trip to Minnesota. Any team willing to play is asked to contact Pioneers Head Coach/General Manager Mark Heiser at mark@pioneersfootball.org. Or call 651-300-4365.
.
Players of the game:
Offense- Isaac Odim.
Defense- Devin Waters.
Special Teams- Ronald Zellicoffer.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

A Scoring Party in St. Paul

By Cassie Kickert

St. Paul Pioneers Quarterback Cleveland McCoy has been talking about getting the offense into an early rhythm all season. Saturday against the North Bank Bulls, it did exactly that. The Pioneers scored 58 points and literally ran the Bulls out of St. Paul.

Ed Smith, Jake Lindsey and Jake Muellner catch their breath.
Although the offense did score early, they weren’t the first to score. Who was, you ask? That would be star defensive back/returner Lionel Lamarre, who returned the opening kickoff almost the length of the field for a touchdown. McCoy and the Pioneers offense were right behind him. It took just five offensive plays for the Pioneers to score again. They did it in spectacular fashion too when McCoy threw a dart to Delane Woods, who used his speed to reach end zone.

The Bulls, however, did not back down, scoring a touchdown of their own. Bulls quarterback Brett Schreiner carried his team with a couple long runs to the Pioneers two yard line. A short pass into the end zone and a missed extra point left the Bulls trailing 14-6.

Head Coach Mark Heiser.
That left a bad taste in the mouths of Pioneers coaches and players. That would be the Bulls’ last score of the game.

Linebacker Shaye Thomas and Lamarre had this to say about the play:

“We let our guard down for one play in the first half. The second half we tightened down and didn’t give up any points after that,” Thomas said.

Lamarre added, “We like to pride ourselves on playing disciplined every play. It was just a blown coverage.”

The Pioneers’ running game then joined the scoring party as the next two touchdowns would come via the running game. First, newcomer Daryl Davis took one in from four yards out. Then, Isaac Odim scored the Pioneers last offensive touchdown before halftime when he jumped over the pile and fell into the end zone.

Odim’s high-flying touchdown made the score 28-6. But the score at halftime was 36-6. What else happened? After Odim’s touchdown, kicker Jay Harding’s kickoff landed in the end zone. For some reason, the Bulls did not down the ball. Defensive lineman Jake Muellner picked up the ball for the score. On the extra point, running back Riza Mahmoud ran in a high snap for a two-point conversion.

Donte Pettis.
The Pioneers were clicking in all phases — offense, defense and special teams. The defense had two interceptions, courtesy of linebacker Billy Quistorff and defensive back Nate Beulah. The special teams played well all game, with Harding being named special teams player of the game for filling in as long snapper on punts and extra points, as John Ostertag handled those duties.

McCoy, after putting his running ability on display, hit receiver Donte Pettis for a touchdown in the third quarter.

As the fourth quarter began, the Pioneers continued their dominance when quarterback Bryan Trulen handed off to Vernon Johnson. Johnson did the rest, running in for yet another Pioneers touchdown. Mahmoud then ran in another two point conversion, making the score 51-6. The final member of the scoring party Saturday was newcomer running back Ronald Zollicoffer when he ran in the Pioneers last touchdown of the day.
How did the Pioneers get into an early offensive rhythm?

Pettis said it’s all about communication.

“We’ve been playing together for a while now. It’s hard to do it right away in the beginning of the season. Today, we were all on the same page… Communication is always the key,” he said.

He said communication will be important again next week in the rematch against the Minnesota Sting. For the defense, tackling will be the key according to Thomas, who said they’re going to bring the “hit stick”.

Players of the game.
Offense: Daryl Davis
Defense: Devin Waters
Special Teams: Jay Harding
Players of the Game.

We hope you’ll join us for all the action in Woodbury’s East Ridge High School this coming Saturday, June 28, starting at 7:30pm for what is sure to be an exciting game. The next Pioneers home game at Concordia is Saturday, July 12 against the Cedar Valley Charge.



Friday, June 20, 2014

The Pioneers welcome a new sponsor... our guys could use a Picky Housekeeper!

The Pioneers are proud to welcome the Picky Housekeeper as a 2014 sponsor.

Contact Shaina for all your cleaning needs. 651-788-3564.

Email: Slrolow@gmail.com




Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Pioneers win again, beat outnumbered Rage

St. Paul Pioneers running back Isaac Odim might be the best player who never talks about himself.

Ever.

Odim lets his play do the talking.
Check that. The Pioneers have another running back who doesn't say much, simply letting his play do the talking. Riza Mahmoud.

Both running backs were on full display Saturday, joining in with a punishing, unrelenting defense to throttle the undermanned Lake Superior Rage 42-12, helping the Pioneers stay in first place in the Minnesota Division of the NEFL.

Odim, who starred at the University of Minnesota Duluth, had 123 yards and two touchdowns on just 10 carries to pace the Pioneers offense. Mahmoud, a former North Dakota player, was not far behind, gaining 88 yards and scoring a touchdown rushing and another on a kick return. Both backs have been dominant all season, working behind a seasoned offensive line. On Saturday, though, they picked it up a notch.

Mahmoud always plays well against the Rage.
Both teams were short players for this game. The Pioneers defense, which allowed only one touchdown on the day, brought only 17 players north. The Rage, fighting shorthanded all season, ended the game with only 17 players total.

"I was really, really proud of how our defense picked up their swagger and dominated," said Jim Walsh, the Pioneers defensive line coach and fill-in defensive coordinator Saturday. "But I was also very impressed with how hard the Rage battled and never gave up."

Lake Superior battled indeed, trailing the Pioneers by only 14-6 at halftime. The second half, through, would be a different story. The Rage would score again, on a return of an attempted onside kick, but otherwise would not threaten in the second half. St. Paul rode touchdowns by Odim, Mahmoud, fullback Andy Folz and running back Vernon Johnson in taking over the game in the second half.

The Pioneers defense was smothering. Safeties Nate Beulah and Jake Lindsey grabbed interceptions. Linebacker Bill Quistorff led the unit emotionally, seemingly covering the entire field. Linebackers Darrel Young and Phil Breidall also played well.

Please join the Pioneers Saturday at SeaFoam Stadium as they take on the North Bank Bulls in a rematch of an earlier Pioneers victory in Cottage Grove. The game will be Girl Scouts Day for the Pioneers, and all Girl Scouts will be admitted free of charge. Kickoff at Concordia University-St. Paul is set for 5 p.m.


Players of the Game:

Offense: Odim.
Defense: Quistorff.
Special Teams: Ronald Zollicoffer.