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St. Paul Pioneers

Regular Season 2021


2009, 2012, & 2014 NATIONAL CHAMPIONS

Team Info:

Established: 2002

Colors: Cardinal / Black

Home Field: Concordia University

2019 Record: 4-2 (Overall 7-4)

  • 2019: (7-4)
  • 2018: (8-4)
  • 2017: (9-4)
  • 2016: (10-3) NEFL Champions
  • 2015: (13-1) NEFL Champions, USA Bowl Runner-Up
  • 2014: (11-1) NEFL Champions, USA Bowl National Champions
  • 2013: (9-4) NEFL Champions
  • 2012: (12-0) NEFL Champions, USA Bowl National Champions
  • 2011: (10-1-1) NEFL Champions
  • 2010: (10-2) NEFL Champions
  • 2009: (15-1) NAFL National Champions
  • 2008: (11-2)
  • 2007: (7-2)
  • 2006: (11-2) MFL Champions, USA Bowl Champions
  • 2005: (0-9)
  • 2004: (9-2) MFL Champions
  • 2003: (10-2) MFL Champions, National Runner-Up
  • 2002: (7-6)

Lifetime Record: 169-52-1 (.758)

Damien  Rochon-Washington

Damien Rochon-Washington

Head Coach

Phone: 7739726515

Recent St. Paul Pioneers News

NEFL 2021 All Stars & MVP's

08/21/2021, 8:30pm CDT

League Awards Announced

Playoff Preview

08/14/2021, 3:00pm CDT

#4 Sabercats @ #1 Warriors - #3 Invaders @ #2 Pioneers

For love of the game: Pioneers mark 20th season of semipro football

08/04/2021, 11:00am CDT
By Bill Wagner, MyVillager

The Saint Paul Pioneers don’t have a big budget, but they do have a lot of guys who enjoy playing the game and have consistently provided a good show for their fans.

This year, which is their 20th season, has been no exception. The Pioneers (8-2) finished second in the six-team Northern Elite Football League and will host the Fargo Invaders (6-4) in the first round of the NEFL playoffs on August 14 at Concordia University-Saint Paul’s Sea Foam Stadium. The Elite Bowl title will be decided on August 21 at East Ridge High School in Woodbury.

“We play the game the way it’s supposed to be played,” said new Pioneers head coach Damien Rochon-Washington. “This is an organization that takes winning seriously. We’re a sound football team that’s been playing very well this year.”

Saint Paul Pioneers

Saint Paul Pioneers’ running back Jeffrey DuBose eludes tacklers at practice on July 29 at Concordia’s Sea Foam Stadium. Photo by Brad Stauffer

Rochon-Washington should know. He started playing for the Pioneers during their inaugural season in 2002 before retiring and moving up first to wide receiver coach in 2018 and to head coach this year. He knows the squad’s culture.

“Our team is about dedication and effort—on and off the field,” he said.

Rochon-Washington was especially gratified to see his group grind out a 14-7 win over the Invaders on July 24 in Moorhead. “That’s a tough environment and it turned out to be a real battle,” he said. “It’s a good win anytime you go up there and come out on top.”

The Pioneers’ only losses this year were to the league-leading Minneapolis Warriors (10-0), who will face the Twin Cities Sabercats (3-7) in the opening round of playoffs on August 14. The Pioneers are seeking their first NEFL title since 2016. Over the past 20 years, they have had 11 league championships, two regional crowns, three national titles and two national runner-up finishes.

“We play the game the way it’s supposed to be played,” said new Pioneers head coach Damien Rochon-Washington. “This is an organization that takes winning seriously. We’re a sound football team that’s been playing very well this year.”

The Pioneers have a roster of 53 players who dress for game days, with a practice squad to back them up. Most football teams begin with a good quarterback and Rochon-Washington likes the way Raymond Guyton Jr. handles himself behind center.

“He’s a leader and he knows what the coaching staff wants,” the coach said. “He can use both his arm and his legs to make plays.”

As of late July, Guyton had completed 54 percent of his passes and thrown for eight touchdowns.

The Pioneers also have three outstanding running backs in Trae Griffin, Zayin Smith and Herschel Brazell. Griffin is a darter who gives the team a long-range threat. “He’s electric,” Rochon-Washington said. “Anytime he touches the ball, he can go.”

Smith is a versatile runner who chews up yards after catches, and Brazell is a workhorse who can get rugged yards in the red zone.

“We’re a team of running backs by committee,” Rochon-Washington said. Griffin, Smith and Brazell had logged 765 yards among them in 129 carries going into the regular-season finale on July 30.

The Pioneers also have wide receiver Cyrus Elliott, who had 45 catches for 689 yards and 12 touchdowns.

On the offensive line, left tackle Johnnie Miller III stands out. “He’s very athletic,” Rochon-Washington said. “He can move people.”

Brothers Carson and Travis Madigan competently hold down right tackle and right guard, respectively. Both have shown tremendous toughness.

On the other side of the ball, Rochon-Washington likes the job that defensive coordinator Jesse Luft is doing with his group. Jeff McGaster is a stalwart defensive tackle and arguably the top player at his position in the history of the league, according to Rochon-Washington.

Defensive linemen Daniel Byse, Andre Owens and Caleb Huls have great versatility, while linebacker Ryan Saumur had made 58 tackles.

Rochon-Washington said the Pioneers’ defenders “don’t give up much. Our defense hits hard. We want to put the quarterback on his back. Everybody flies to the ball.”

The Pioneers come from a wide variety of backgrounds, according to the coach, who works as a personal trainer. “We’ve had dentists, doctors, guys still in school going for a master’s degree, and a lot of teachers. We’ve also had chefs,” he said.

— Bill Wagner

Original Article found at:

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