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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Pioneers Soar Past Renegades in 2014 Opener

By: Cassie Kickert

Saturday against the Granite City Renegades the flashbacks to 2012 continued.  However, unlike 2012, the Pioneers have a new offensive coordinator and so, understandably, it took some time to get in the groove. 

Offensive Coordinator Anthony Minus
Once quarterback Cleveland McCoy and running back Isaac Odim in particular got their swagger, the Pioneers started scoring in bunches… even more than in the first game of the renowned 2012 season when they won the National Championship.  That day, May 5, 2012, against the Minnesota Sting in St. Paul in the rain they scored 46.  Saturday against the Granite City Renegades, again in the rain, they scored 48.

There was no shut out like 2012 though.  Renegades quarterback Jermaine Holmes and running back Derek Alexander had much to do with that.  But they were the only players able to gain significant yards against the stout Pioneer defense. The final score: 48-6, Pioneers.

The Pioneers’ first scores came on two field goals by kicker Jay Harding, who was named special teams player of the game. St. Paul scored its first touchdown of 2014 when McCoy found Justin Miles in the left corner of the end zone.

Jay Harding hit two field goals.
The Renegades mounted a threat of their own, scoring their only points of the game when Andrew Rousslange caught a slant pass from Holmes and for the score. A two-point conversion attempt failed and the Renegades would be done scoring for the night.

The Pioneers came right back when McCoy threw a long pass to new Pioneer Damien Lolar that led to a short Odim touchdown run, making the score 20-6 at halftime.

McCoy got in on the scoring action as well when he snuck in the end zone to start the third quarter. McCoy was offensive player of the game.

Andy Folz, left, Cleveland McCoy and Isaac Odim.
Odim and returning star running back Riza Mahmoud will keep opposing defenses guessing all season. They did just that on Saturday, each running for a touchdown in the second half.
Linebacker Bill Quistorff closes in.

To cap the victory, receiver Damien Lolar caught his first touchdown as a Pioneer from quarterback Bryan Trulen late in the fourth quarter.

Safety Jake Lindsey snared an interception late, sealing the game.

When asked how he anticipated the pass by Holmes, Lindsey said after the game that his teammates made it easy.

“The D[efensive] line and linebackers were doing a great job in the running game so I knew if I just stayed back over the top of everything that we would be in great shape.  I saw the ball hang up in the air and had plenty of time to get underneath it to make a play,” he said
This Saturday, the Pioneers travel to Iowa to play the Des Moines Blaze. Their next home game at Concordia is Saturday, May 10, at 5pm against the Lake Superior Rage. 

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