The North Bay Bulldogs are in Ottawa on Saturday night trying to win their 5th game in a row in Northern Football Conference action. North Bay enters the game at 4-0 while the Sooners have one win in four games.
Author of the article:Greg Estabrooks | North Bay Nugget
Published Jul 14, 2023
The North Bay Bulldogs express chugs into the nation’s capital this weekend trying to stay unbeaten.
The Bulldogs face the Ottawa Sooners for the second time this season. North Bay beat the Sooner 30-20 in the season opening at Mike O’Shea Field back on June 3rd.
The Bulldogs are the Northern Football Conferences’ only undefeated team, this after winning but one game in the last five years.
North Bay’s quarterback and a great receiving corps has a lot to do with that.
Jordan Heather leads the league in passing and North Bay had Nick Laporte in the lineup last week for the first time all season. Laporte caught two touchdown passes and went over 100 yards receiving.
The big receiver was not on the field practicing Thursday night at the Omischl Complex but will be playing Saturday in Ottawa.
“It (the lower body injury) is good enough to play with, but I am just taking week by week until I am back to 100 percent to prevent further injuries,” says Laporte.
Despite playing just that single game Laporte and Heather have established a lot of chemistry.
“It’s great playing with him. We worked together during the offseason in the winter. You can tell right away that he is a student of the game, takes it very seriously and has a great arm,” remarked Laporte who promises big things from himself and Heather on Saturday night.
As for the quarterback he gets to face a team the Bulldogs have actual tape on, of course that works both ways.
“It was five or six weeks ago (playing Ottawa) so it does help with game planning, but we still have to be ready for whatever they plan on throwing at us,” says Heather.
The Bulldogs quarterback is glad to have Laporte back on the field saying it makes a good group of receivers even better.
“We have a lot of guys making plays and having Nick just adds another dimension to offence with a guy who can stretch the field,” remarked Heather.
Jesse Shoults is a different kind of weapon for North Bay as he has made an impact on defence and is used for some tough inside run plays.
Shoults doesn’t care if the big plays come on offence or defence, as long as they happen.
“They ( plays on offence and defence) are both filled with adrenaline,” says the burly player.
“My goal when I am on the field is to boost the morale on the team and get everyone pumped up. Sometimes I get a little carried away, but it is what it is,” says Shoults.
Shoults offers this on why the Bulldogs are employing him on both sides of the ball.
“My physicality, I like to hit, and I try and make plays for the team and always try to flip the narrative,” says Shoults. “We are not the same old Bulldogs; we are here to make an impact on the league,” says Shoults.
So far so good on that count as North Bay is 4-0.
The Bulldogs are the Northern Football Conference’s only unbeaten team. Coach Marc Mathon says a win this weekend clinches home field through at least the semi-final.
Mathon is happy to have game tape on the Sooners from Week One.
“Anytime we play Ottawa or any of the southern (Ontario) teams it is always a key factor when playing them a second time,” says Mathon. “They are certainly going to change some things and we are preparing for them to change things in the offence that we know they have. It is not going to be an easy game,” remarked Mathon.
The 4-0 Bulldogs meet the 1-3 Sooners at Minto Field in Ottawa at 7 pm on Saturday.