Undefeated Racine Raiders Face Off Against the Resilient St. Paul Pioneers

by Jack Redlin

St.Paul,Minnesota-This Saturday at 6:00 pm, the gridiron will heat up as the undefeated Racine Raiders (4-0) from the GDFL take on the determined St. Paul Pioneers (2-4 overall, 1-3 league) from the Heartland Football Association in a highly anticipated matchup. The Raiders, who have dominated their opponents this season, will look to extend their 19-game winning streak since the start of 2023, while the Pioneers aim to rejuvenate their campaign and pull off a monumental upset.  The Pioneers will hold home-field advantage in Burnsville, MN, and will look to repeat their inspired performance from last July when the Raiders escaped with a 30-22 victory.

The Raiders' Rampage

The Racine Raiders have been nothing short of spectacular this season. Boasting a flawless 4-0 record, they have established themselves as the team to beat. Their offense, led by veteran quarterback Andre Locke, Sr has been a well-oiled machine, averaging just over 36 points per game. Locke's connection with wide receiver Joe Garcia III has been particularly lethal, with Garcia averaging 29.4 yards per catch and four touchdowns in his three games played.  On the ground it has been a running back by committee approach, which last week piled up 240 yards rushing in 24 attempts against the Tennessee Hornets.

Complementing their high-octane offense is a stingy defense that has allowed a mere 4.5 points per game. Linebackers Gary Young, Jr, and Aarion Ivy lead the team in tackles (21) and along with Justin Benko (12 tackles) anchor a defensive unit that has consistently stifled opponents. The Raiders’ defensive line has been a force, accumulating 27 sacks already this season.  Antonio Dundee and Gage Zahradnik currently are tied for the team lead in sacks with 4.0 so far this year.

Pioneers' Grit and Determination

In contrast, the St. Paul Pioneers have had a tumultuous season, reflected in their 2-4 record. However, this statistic belies the true potential of the team. Despite the losses, the Pioneers have shown flashes of brilliance, particularly on the offensive end. Quarterback Matthew Thayer has demonstrated his ability to lead the team with poise and threw a pair of touchdown passes in St. Paul’s victory over Newton Nite Hawks earlier this season.

St. Paul’s defense, though inconsistent, has had its moments of excellence. Dominic Goseyun and Piero Cooper have been bright spots, leading the team in tackles and providing a physical presence on the field. If the Pioneers can bring together all the pieces and play a complete game, they have the potential to surprise any opponent.  Especially at home.

Key Matchups

One of the most important aspects of this game will be the battle in the trenches. The Raiders’ offensive line – led by OT Shauntel Carey and OG Caleb Gwinn - will be tested by the Pioneers’ defensive front. If the Pioneers can generate pressure and curtail Locke’s ability to extend plays outside the pocket, they could force turnovers and give their offense more opportunities.

Another critical factor will be the Raider secondary’s ability to keep tabs on St Paul star WR Jovonte’ Suber. If the Raider cornerbacks can stay close to Suber off the line of scrimmage, the defensive line has a great chance to add to its impressive sack total. 


For Racine, the X-factor could be their depth. With multiple players capable of making big plays, the Raiders have shown an ability to adapt and thrive, even if one of their stars is neutralized. The Pioneers, on the other hand, will rely on their resilience and ability to make adjustments. Their season has been a roller coaster, but they have shown an ability to bounce back from adversity, and the home-field advantage is also important at this level of football.


While the Raiders come into this game as clear favorites, the Pioneers have the tools to make this a contest. If St. Paul can capitalize on their opportunities and play a disciplined game, they could challenge the Raiders more than expected. However, given Racine’s consistency and firepower on both sides of the ball, the edge goes to the Raiders. Expect a hard-fought battle with the Raiders ultimately preserving their undefeated streak.

As the teams prepare for Saturday’s showdown, fans can anticipate an exciting game filled with dynamic plays and strategic battles. Whether it’s the Raiders extending their unbeaten run or the Pioneers pulling off an upset, this clash promises to deliver all the thrills that make football the beloved sport it is.