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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Pioneers defense rising to the challenge

It was starting to look like one of those games where the defense and the offense were competing to see who could score the most points.

After a first quarter that saw Pioneers running back Ronald Zollicoffer score three touchdowns -- two by rushing and one by punt return -- and Pioneers receiver Joseph Mapson snare a touchdown catch of his own, the Pioneers defense got into the act. In a big way.

LL pick six.
On the last play of the first half and with the Minnesota Valley Warriors threatening to score, defensive back Lionel Lamarre snared a Warriors pass in the Pioneers end zone. His bobbing and weaving run, helped by a crushing block from defensive back Desmond Stevenson, resulted in a 106-yard interception return for a score.

After Mapson's second touchdown catch from quarterback Cleve McCoy, Lamarre would do it again ... although after a much shorter run. Lamarre stepped in front of a Warriors receiver and nearly walked into the end zone from about 25 yards out.

Brenner scores after interception.
The Pioneers defense scored its third touchdown of the game when linebacker Corey Brenner grabbed his second interception of the day and, like Lamarre before him, weaved into the end zone from about 30 yards out.

Rob Wills with a sack.
St. Paul closed out the scoring with a two-point conversion by Mapson and a 15-yard touchdown run by running back Ernest Tucker.

The game was not only a chance for the Pioneers defense to get offensive, but it proved it could be pretty stingy as well., The Pioneers intercepted six Warriors passes on the day on their way to St. Paul's fifth shutout of the season -- 62-0.

St. Paul closes out its regular season this coming Saturday at Park of Cottage Grove High School, as the Pioneers face the North Bank Bulls in a rematch of an earlier loss. St. Paul lost to the Bulls 16-7 in a defensive game. If the Pioneers hope to win the division and earn a first round playoff bye, their defense needs to play even better.

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