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