Over the weekend, the St. Paul Pioneers journeyed to Daytona Beach, Fla., to take part in a weekend of football that matched the best semipro teams from around the country. The Pioneers were invited to play in the "USA Bowl" against the North Texas Longhorns, a semipro team that put together a 15-0 record this season and was thought by many to be even better than the Pioneers.
After all, at almost every level of football, Texas > Minnesota, right?
Not on Saturday.
The Pioneers, a collection of guys who played college and high school football and have kept at it with weekly practices and a warm-weather schedule, took a 21-0 lead and went on the beat the Texans 30-7. That gave the Pioneers a 13-0 record for the season, primarily in one-sided competition against teams from Minnesota and Wisconsin, and a 20-game unbeaten streak to defend later this year. A handful of players have come to the team after playing Division I football while others, such as running back Isaac Odim for Minnesota Duluth, established their reputation in the Northern Sun and other Minnesota college conferences.
The Pioneers play their home games at Concordia University and are looking to upgrade their schedule for 2013 by playing more teams from outside their league, the Northern Elite Football League, which they have for the past three seasons. A game against another Midwestern power, the Des Moines Blaze, is scheduled for early May at Concordia.
In season, the team practices on Thursday at the Jimmy Lee Rec Center in St. Paul. For more about the Pioneers, go here.