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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Pioneers are proud members of Visit St. Paul... check us out!

Did you know that the Pioneers are members of Visit St. Paul, the city's convention and visitors' bureau. Did you know we have our own page on their website?
You do now. Please visit... and tell your friends.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Pioneers Beat Titans 56-0

It’s starting to look familiar, this territory the St. Paul Pioneers now occupy. It’s looking an awful lot like last year, or, more accurately, 2012, when the team in Cardinal and Black finished its only undefeated season with a national title in Daytona Beach, Fla.

The Pioneers have won three national championships -- in 2009, 2012 and 2014. But only one followed an undefeated season. Could this be another?

On Saturday, the Pioneers dispatched an undermanned but feisty Twin Cities Titans squad 56-0 at SeaFoam Stadium in St. Paul. With the win, the Pioneers improved to 9-0 on the season, further distancing themselves from any potential contenders in the Minnesota Division of the NEFL. With only two games to play, and only one against a division opponent, the Pioneers are guaranteed the top seed in the west for the start of the playoffs.

It didn’t take the Pioneers long to exert their will in this one, jumping to a 7-0 lead on a Cleve McCoy to Delane Woods touchdown on St. Paul’s first drive. It would be 14-0 only a minute or so later, as punt returner Ronald Zollicoffer returned a Titans’ kick for a touchdown. Riza Mahmoud made it 21-0 on the next possession, running the ball into the end zone. Mahmoud leads the NEFL in rushing and is once again having a great season for a team that has outscored its opponents 392-77 in 2015.

The defense got in on the scoring again on another Titans punt, this time with linebacker Ernest Tucker returning a fumbled snap by the Titans’ punter for a touchdown.  The former running back from the University of Minnesota-Morris had no trouble figuring out what to do with the ball, as he waltzed into the end zone and increased the lead to 28-0 in the first quarter.

The Titans? They finally earned a first down on the final play of the first quarter. They would not gain another first down until there were about 2 minutes left in the first half. Their struggles were not hard to understand. The team that plays its home games at Robbinsdale Cooper High School traveled to the Pioneers with only 24 players in uniform.

St. Paul continued its march, with quarterback McCoy running it in himself on a draw to stretch the Pioneers’ first-half lead to 35-0. 

Donte Pettis continued his big play ways, recording an interception to set up a Pioneers score and prowling the secondary with ferocity. His pick helped set up another Pioneers score -- McCoy to TE Davarus Branigan to make it 42-0 at the half.

Defensive back Marvin Desir snared an interception to kill any Titans chance to score before halftime.

The second half saw quarterback Bryan Trulen take over for McCoy – and the Pioneers defense continue its domination.

Defensive tackle Jeff McGaster, picked up a half sack to give him a season total of 12.5 sacks. Defensive end Rob Wills also had a sack, after picking up 3.5 last week. Brandon Murdock, another defensive tackle, also had a sack. CJ Sanderson, normally an offensive tackle, got in on the sack parade as well. Linebacker Bill Quistorff and defensive end Alex Folkerds also had a half sack each.

McGaster was having so much fun on defense, he decided to try his hand at offense in the third quarter, bulling into the end zone as a fullback and giving the Pioneers a 49-0 lead.
St. Paul completed its scoring when Trulen hit wideout Mike Dozier on a slant pattern for a 56-0 lead. And defensive tackle Tyrese Brent saved the shutout by blocking a Titans field goal on the last play of the game.

The Pioneers are off now for Independence Day, but return to SeaFoam on July 11 for a noon kickoff against the Menomonie Thunderhawks.

Players of the Game:

Offense - Cleve McCoy, with two td passes and a touchdown on the ground.
Defense - Donte Pettis interception and several tackles.
Special Teams - Demario Walton, with multiple tackles.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Pioneers remain perfect after battle of unbeatens

The St. Paul Pioneers improved to 8-0 Saturday by beating the previously undefeated River City Rough Riders 38-10 at Winona, Minn.
Daryl Davis had two rushing TDs.

St. Paul and River City lead the Minnesota and Wisconsin divisions of the Northern Elite Football League.

River City had beaten the Chippewa Valley Predators and the Fox Valley Force on their way to first place. But they could not overcome the visiting Pioneers.

The Pioneers scored first on a Daryl Davis run after a long Cleve McCoy pass to Juice Akins. St. Paul then went up 14-0 after safety Donte Pettis snared a Karl Hoffman pass and weaved his way to paydirt with the pick six.

After a Rough Riders touchdown -- from Hoffman to CJ Woods -- closed the gap to 14-7, an Eric Ellestad field goal stretched the Pioneers lead to 17-7. After that, it was all Pioneers, as McCoy hit Delane Woods with a TD pass, then Justin Miles with another. Davis capped off the scoring with his second touchdown rumble of the day.

St. Paul returns home to SeaFoam Stadium Saturday for a rematch with the Twin Cities Titans. Kickoff is set for 5 p.m.

Players of the Game:

Offense - Daryl Davis, with 2 TDs.
Special Teams - Marvin Desir, with several tackles.
Defense - Rob Wills, with 3.5 sacks and Travis Griffin, with 2 interceptions.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Pioneers still have openings for a couple of linemen

Offensive and defensive linemen ONLY!

If you want to join one of the best semi-pro teams in the country, fill out an online LOI at this site by 11:59 pm Wednesday, June 17 and come to our Thursday practice to tryout .


Last chance for this season. Do it now!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Pioneers take control in second half, top Bulls 23-6

George Hall calls the Pioneers offensive line the St. Paul Moving Company.

Jacob Husnik protects Joseph Mapson.
On Saturday, they helped move the team to a 7-0 record and cemented its spot in first place in the Minnesota Division of the NEFL. Playing with Joseph Mapson – a safety – at quarterback because the team’s two signal-callers were out of town, the Pioneers nonetheless controlled the clock, the tempo and the game for great stretches as they defeated the North Bank Bulls 23-6.

Much of that was due to the exertion and coordination displayed by Zac Thompson, Jacob Husnik, C.J. Sanderson, Alex Christen, Scott Schmidt and Cory Huggar – guys who don’t get a lot of attention but are critical to the Pioneers offense succeeding.

Mapson on the move.
Trailing 6-0 after the Bulls first drive, the Pioneers offensive line began exerting its will soon after, leading St. Paul to a Mapson quarterback sneak and a halftime lead of 7-6. In the second half, it was all Pioneers, as fullback Daryl Davis and Mapson, again, scored on runs. The game scoring was tapped off when Jay Harding nailed a 38-yard field goal with, once more, great protection by the offensive line.

Pioneers defenders also rose to the occasion after the Bulls opening salvo. Jeff McGaster picked up his 13th sack on the season so far. Terry Jones early and Brock Keaton late intercepted Bulls quarterback Brett Schreiner to snuff North Bank drives. In the middle, defensive back Bobby Wright stripped a Bulls receiver of the football, taking it and the momentum back to the Pioneers’ side.

Bobby Wright steals the ball.
The Pioneers travel to Winona Saturday to take on the undefeated River City Rough Riders in what is technically a non-league game, but one that will certainly count for bragging rights to the teams that currently lead their divisions in the NEFL. Kickoff is set for Noon.

Players of the game:
Offense – Joseph Mapson, two TDs and great leadership and poise.
Defense – Bobby Wright with a key takeaway and several outstanding tackles.
Special Teams -- Jay Harding, the field goal and several booming kicks.

Jeff McGaster applying pressure.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Pioneers top Mankato at SeaFoam 35-16

Woods had two TDs.
It's not often this season that the St. Paul Pioneers feel fortunate to escape with a win.
That's just how the undefeated Pioneers felt Saturday, June 6, though as they topped the Mankato Brawlers 35-16.
Zollicoffer had electrifying return.
The game was much closer than the final score indicates, as Mankato used a stubborn defense and an unpredictable offense to give the Pioneers more than a few fits. The score was tied 8-8 at halftime.

Pioneers quarterback Cleve McCoy hooked up twice with receiver Delane Woods and once with Mike Dozier for touchdown passes. And St. Paul running back Riza Mahmoud helped ice the game late with a darting run. Ronald Zollicoffer, a Concordia University-St. Paul product, returned a punt for a touchdown.

Defensive tackle Jeff McGaster continued his pace to break the Pioneers' single season sack record, picking up four more sacks to give him 12 on the season so far.

Riza iced the game.

Players of the Game
Offense: Jacob Husnik and Riza Mahmoud.
Defense: Jeff McGaster (with 4 sacks).
Special Teams: Ronald Zollicoffer (punt return for a touchdown).
A hard-fought game and much respect to Mankato.

Pioneers back in action, destroy Titans 65-7

Pioneers destroy the Titans 65-7.
Here is the anatomy of a 65-7 game:
Cleve McCoy to Ronald Zollicoffer ... 7-0.
Jeff McGaster sack.
Riza Mahmoud rushing TD... 14-0.
Travis Griffin returns blocked punt... 21-0.
Lionel Lamarre interception.
Daryl Davis TD run.... 28-0.
Vernon Johnson TD run... 35-0.
Rob Wills interception.
Riza Mahmoud TD run, 42-0.
Larry Moore pick six... 49-0.
Travis Griffin interception.
Vernon Johnson TD run.... 56-0.
Safety, Rob Wills.. 58-0.
Titans return fumble for TD... 58-7.
Jeff McGaster sack.
Donte Pettis pick six ... 65-7
Players of the game:
Special teams - Emmanuel Marcellino.
Offense - Riza Mahmoud.
Defense - Rob Wills.