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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.

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