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Saturday, May 20, 2017

Pioneers shut out Warriors, 17-0.

The St. Paul Pioneers rode a smothering defense and two Cleve McCoy touchdown passes -- one early and one late -- to defeat the Minneapolis Warriors 17-0 Saturday at a cold and wet Sea Foam Stadium.

McCoy hit running back Daireus Mock with a short pass into the end zone after eluding the Warriors with a creative scramble. The improvised play gave St. Paul a 7-0 halftime lead.

Later in the game, kicker Jay Harding made it a two score game with a 30-plus yard field goal. The 10-0 cushion would be enough, as the Pioneers' defensive line and linebackers hounded the Warriors quarterback all day and St. Paul's defensive backs played tight coverage.

The defense was helped immensely by the booming punts of Eric Ellestad. The former University of Minnesota Golden Gopher did an excellent job getting the Pioneers out of their own zone and pinning the Warriors deep.

Linebacker Phil Breidall and safety Shaq Theus had interceptions and linebacker Michael Juberian was a bone-crushing tackling machine.

When McCoy hit receiver Justin Miles late in the game with another touchdown pass, the only intrigue left in the contest was whether St. Paul would preserve the shutout. It did.

The Pioneers are now off for a week in recognition of the Memorial Day holiday and will return to action at Sea Foam on June 3 against the undefeated Fargo Invaders.

Players of the Game:
Offense - Cleve McCoy.
Special Teams - Eric Ellestad.
Defense - Michael Juberian.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Pioneers run over, around Brawlers 35-7.

The St. Paul Pioneers used a dominant running game and a stingy defense to defeat the Minnesota Brawlers 35-7 Saturday in Burnsville.

St. Paul scored first on a Cleve McCoy to Herschel Brazell Jr. short pass that Brazell turned into a pinball touchdown. St. Paul would score two more times before half to take a 21-7 lead into intermission.

In the second half, it was all Pioneers as the offense scored twice more on the ground and the defense clamped down, with defensive backs Steve Robinson and Zachery March snagging interceptions. The Pioneers are now 2-1 overall and 1-0 in the NEFL.

Isiah Sims ended the day with 18 carries for 133 yards and two touchdowns. Daireus Mock had 93 yards rushing and a touchdown and Herschel Brazell Jr finished with 86 yards and a touchdown rushing, along with a 17-yard touchdown reception. Quarterback Cleve McCoy was an efficient 6 of 9 passing for 71 yards and a touchdown.

With the win, St. Paul got back on the winning track after losing to Des Moines last week in a defensive battle.

The Pioneers host the Minneapolis Warriors this Saturday at Sea Foam. Kickoff is 5 p.m.

Players of the Game:
Offense- the offensive line.

Defense - Zach March.
Special Teams - Phil Breidall.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Pioneers lose a defensive battle, fall to Blaze 15-11.

The St. Paul Pioneers fell to the Des Moines Blaze 15-11 Saturday night at Sea Foam Stadium in a defensive battle.

St. Paul took a quick lead in the first quarter, after forcing a Blaze safety. But Des Moines would come back to take the lead after returning an interception to the Pioneers 2 yard line and scoring two plays later.

The Pioneers regained the advantage on a Cleve McCoy to Justin Miles scoring toss and then expand it to 11-7 with another safety. St. Paul led 11-7 at the half.

Des Moines would score the only touchdown of the second half with a fourth quarter 7-yard punt return to paydirt. While the Pioneers had several chances in the red zone during the game, St. Paul could not convert into more points. Both teams' offenses struggled against dominant defenses, as the Pioneers scored two safeties in the first half.
The Pioneers are now 1-1 as they head into NEFL play next week against the Minnesota Brawlers at Burnsville High School.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Pioneers come back to beat Bulls

Pioneers head coach Mark Heiser wanted his team to be better prepared for what is sure to be a challenging season. So he scheduled the Northland Bulls for the Pioneers’ first game.
Given that nearly every contest between the Bulls and Pioneers is a slug fest, with the Bulls winning a game in St. Paul last year, Heiser and the rest of his squad expected a battle. But, after two early interceptions led to a first half deficit of 10-0, Heiser wouldn’t have been blamed for rethinking that idea.

Thanks to an opportunistic defense, two Cleve McCoy touchdown passes and a huge momentum turning interception return for a touchdown by all-star defensive tackle Jeff McGaster, the Pioneers weathered the Bulls’ storm and prevailed Saturday at St. Paul Central High School 21-13.

Wideouts Justin Miles and Stacy Kalkwarf had touchdown receptions.

Linebacker Cory Brenner and defensive back Lionel Lamarre also had interceptions for the Pioneers, but none was bigger than McGaster’s second half theft. He tipped an attempted screen pass, batted the ball to himself and rumbled 40 yards to the end zone to turn what had been a 14-13 Pioneers lead into a more comfortable cushion.
Running back Isiah Sims chewed up important yards on the ground and punter Eric Ellestad repeatedly helped flip field possession for the Pioneers with booming kicks to get St. Paul out of trouble. The game, technically a non-league contest because the Bulls have moved to the NEFL Eastern Division, showed that both teams have some rust to shake off. But it also showed both teams will be in the playoff hunt again this season.

With the win, the Pioneers are 1-0. St. Paul hosts Des Moines this coming Saturday at Sea Foam Stadium on the campus of Concordia University-St. Paul. The Blaze handled the Pioneers last year in Des Moines to claim the Capital City Classic traveling trophy. The Pioneers will be hoping for a different result this time at home.

Kickoff is 7 p.m.
Players of the Game:
Offense - Isiah Sims.
Defense - Jeff McGaster.
Special Teams - Eric Ellestad.