Pioneers off to playoffs

Richard Froese
South Peace News

The Peace River Pioneers were stopped in the high school Mighty Peace Football League playoffs.
Finishing fourth in the league, the Pioneers lost 47-7 to the No. 1 ranked St. Joseph’s Celtics in Grande Prairie on Oct. 30 in the opening round of football playoffs.
Teams battled for a berth in the Peace Bowl final Nov. 6 for the top four teams in the league.
Now, it’s on to the Tier III provincial playoffs as the No. 9 Pioneers visit the No. 6 Sturgeon Spirits in St. Albert Nov. 13. The winner of the game will host the northern Alberta final on Nov 20.
From there, the northern winner will play for the provincial championship on Nov. 26 at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton.
Against the Celtics, the Pioneers scored their lone points on their final drive of the game when Braxton Rudneski ran in for a four-yard touchdown in a hurry-up offence.
Ranked No. 1 in the province for Tier II schools, St. Joseph’s took a 44-0 lead at halftime.
Pioneer head coach Mark Owens credits the Celtics for their win.
“St. Joseph’s played a strong game on both sides of the ball,” he says.
However, the Pioneers showed some promise.
“I was proud of our players in many ways, mostly being that they never quit and kept pushing the whole game, even though the score was so lopsided,” Owens says.
“It was great to see the drive to score in the end.”
Owens says the Pioneers improved in various aspects of the game.
“Our passing game has come a long way and we completed some key passes in drives,” Owens says.
“Our kickoff and punt returners gave us some great field position with positive returns.
“On third and short, we converted three times with a first down.”

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