Pioneers Dominate Sting
By Cassie Kickert

(5-8-2012)
2012 Week 1: Stats | Recap

Pioneers’ players and coaches are calling it Step One.

It is what happened in the first game at Concordia University’s Seafoam Stadium – a decisive, all-encompassing victory for the hometown, 2-time defending NEFL champion St. Paul Pioneers.

It began slowly, but turned quickly. The Pioneers won the toss but elected to defer, trusting Kahn Powell’s defense to stop the Sting.

Indeed, they did more than that. The Pioneers staunch defense shut the Sting down. Although the Sting would intercept Pioneers backup quarterback Bryan Trulen and recover a fumble in the third quarter, they would be unable to capitalize on it.

The Pioneers offense did more than its part as well – scoring twice in the first quarter and five times in the first half. Starting quarterback Michael Spriggs threw touchdowns to three different receivers and also took one in himself. The first one came on the second possession of the game to running back Isaac Odim.

In fact, Odim and running back Brad Foss were a big reason for the team’s offensive success Saturday.  Odim had 60 rushing yards on ten carries and two receptions for 47 yards and a touchdown. Foss had eight carries for 79 yards.

Odim attributed the team’s rushing success to the offensive line.

“As a running back, when you don’t get touched until you’re six yards downfield the line is doing a really good job. The offense as a whole was executing really well,” Odim said.

After an interception by defensive back Terry Jones, Spriggs threw another touchdown pass to longtime Pioneers tight end Joe Ubani. About halfway through the second quarter, receiver Marcus Foster made a great goal line adjustment to another pass from Spriggs for yet another Pioneers touchdown.

Then, just before halftime, Pioneers defensive tackle Jeff McGaster surged through the line on a field goal try and got his hand up just in time. Defensive back and kick returner Lionel Lamarre returned the blocked field goal 87 yards for a touchdown. After the extra point by kicker Jon Dierkhising, the score was 35-0 Pioneers at halftime.

Like Odim, Lamarre deferred credit to his teammates and coaches.

“Big Jeff blocked the kick that I just caught. My job is easy. Everybody set it up for me… My teammates and coaches put me in a good position to make plays. That’s what it comes down to at the end of the day. It’s never 1-on-11 it’s 11-on-11,” Lamarre said.

Though the Sting would intercept Trulen in the third quarter, the Pioneers’ Jake Lindsay – a safety who has joined the team this year -- returned the favor just minutes later. Following Lindsay’s interception, the Pioneers kicked a field goal to make the score 38-0 at the end of the third quarter.

The Pioneers were still not done. Running back Brian Holmes ran in for another touchdown early in the fourth quarter. The last Pioneers score, a safety, would come on defense where the team started the game. The final score: 46-0 Pioneers.

This Saturday, May 12, the Pioneers will travel to Wisconsin to face the Central Wisconsin Spartans at 4pm. The next Pioneers home game is May 19that 5pm against the Rochester Giants.

The Pioneers are calling that game Step Two.

The Pioneers defense allowed just 52 net yards on the day, recording three sacks – by John Leibfried, Robert Wills and Garrett Johnson – and two interceptions – by Terry Jones and Jake Lindsay. Leading tackler for the Pioneers was linebacker Phil Breidall.