Numerous Pioneers Win NEFL Awards

It’s good to be a Pioneer.

A week after the St. Paul Pioneers captured their second straight Northern Elite Football League championship, several star players for the team won additional recognition and accolades at the league’s annual meeting and All-Star game in Schofield, Wis.


Pioneers defensive tackle Jeff McGaster, a dominating player against the pass and the run and a two-time league all-star, was named the National Conference Defensive Player of the Year. The University of Northern Iowa graduate has been a star for the Pioneers defense since joining the team in 2008.


St. Paul wideout Reggie Houston, who led the NEFL in receiving in 2011, was chosen as the National Conference Offensive Player of the year.  Houston, a Mississippi native who is fearless going over the middle, had more than 900 receiving yards in the Pioneers 12 games, including pre-season and playoffs.


Houston, a first-time NEFL all-star, also was named outstanding offensive player for the National Conference during the all-star game, a 30-23 loss. He had more than 120 yards receiving in the game.


Wide receiver, punt-returner and occasional quarterback Joseph Mapson snagged the biggest award of the night, however, when he was named the NEFL’s co-MVP – along with Vince Furby of the Chippewa Valley Predators.


Mapson has been a game-changer for the Pioneers since 2004 and was named the offensive Most Valuable Player of the 2009 National Championship game in Miami, Fla. A nearly unstoppable receiver, courageous return man and quiet team leader, Mapson has long been considered one of the nation’s best semi-pro players by peers and coaches.


“I really want to congratulate these three players on a great season,” St. Paul Head Coach Mark Heiser said after the awards dinner. “They

are among the best players in the nation, and it’s great that the other players and coaches in our league are recognizing that. They were key
to our winning another title this year and we are very happy to have them be a part of our team – not only because they are great players,
but because they are great people.”

Notes:
Pioneers offensive coordinator and associate head coach Rob Neumann was selected to serve as NEFL vice president for the 2012 season.
Neumann just completed his second season leading the Pioneers offense and the team improved in every offensive statistical category –
rushing, passing, touchdowns – this past season. Neumann has a pretty good batting average with the Pioneers – two seasons, two league
championships.