NCAA Division III @ NFC Coming May 5th, 2018

The NFC in 2018, will be participating in a special pre-season event which will feature a pilot project game featuring NFC All Stars and Select players joining the host Steel City Patriots playing against the NCAA Division 3 Capital University Crusaders of Columbus Ohio.

Constraints within the NCAA’s Ohio Athletic Conference 2018 Football scheduling found themselves looking for an out of conference game to complete their 2018 schedule. The NFC came to the rescue with thanks to its member club from Hamilton, the Steel City Patriots, offering to operate & host the event. The event is designed to provide an opportunity to NFC’s 2017 All Star players and other select NFC players from across the league to come together and showcase their skills in front of CIS, CFL and NCAA scouts and football fans.

The event promises to be a memorable experience for all participants including the NCAA Capital University Crusaders who will be getting a chance to play on the giant 65 yard wide Canadian football field. The game will feature mostly NCAA rules, including the fair catch. Other rules will be in place to minimize injuries to NFC players in pre-season, including no blocks below the waist anywhere on the field.

The game is slated to be played at Tim Horton’s field in Hamilton on May 5th with kickoff at 8 pm. Players from various NFC clubs have been inquiring about the prospects of playing looking to be part of this memorable event. Interested parties can contact SCP at 905 541-7177 or the NFC at 705 200-4856 for more information.

“Steelers anchor” McBain Dies

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As far as Barry Rushon is concerned, Don McBain meant everything to the Sault Steelers football team.

“If it wasn’t for Don, there would be no Sault Steelers,” Rushon said on Saturday. “He was integral in keeping things going.”

McBain, a former Steelers linebacker beginning in the late 1970s, but best known as the team’s president or co-president for nearly 20 years, died Friday night after a short battle with cancer.

Rushon, who began coaching what was then known as the Sault Storm in 1996, also called McBain “the Steelers anchor.”

During the 1999 and 2000 seasons – especially – Rushon said McBain kept the franchise alive.

Player numbers were down, losses were up and Rushon was coaching alone.

He ran the offence, defence and special teams.

“I was totally by myself and he did everything for the team behind the scenes,” said Rushon, who stepped down as Steelers coach in 2010.

That involved fund-raising, marketing, handling the finances and all interaction with the Northern Football Conference.

Rushon said the two leaned on each other.

The former coach spoke of how McBain offered support for “anything I might need.”
If it wasn’t for McBain, “we wouldn’t have made it,” Rushon added. “He was very stoic, logical and genuine. He always took the high road and always did the right thing. We were the best of friends and I’m devastated. My family also knows Donnie and we’re all heartbroken.”

Sandra McBain spoke of her husband’s love of football and his background in business as making for a perfect combination.

“Football was part of his life. He loved it,” said Sandra, who also listed NASCAR among her husband’s sporting passions. “And with the Steelers, it was never about him. It was always about everyone else.”

Inducted into the Northern Football Conference Hall of Fame as a builder in 2008, McBain began feeling ill in this spring. He was diagnosed with cancer in June and died at Algoma Residential Community Hospice.

McBain was very private about his illness, leading to shock among many in the Sault’s football community.

“He didn’t want to burden anyone,” explained Sandra, who spoke of the love her husband had for her and their children, son Rory and daughter Sarah.

McBain was a player on the Steelers 1980 NFC championship team. But what made him most proud, Sandra said, was the fact the team captured three NFC and three Canadian Major Football League championships over a four-year span.

That run of dominance began in 2007. The Sault also secured NFC and CMFL crowns in 2009 and 2010.

Rushon said the highlight for he and McBain was the 2009 CMFL championship game, played locally at Rocky DiPietro Field.

Rushon said McBain and Jean Rushon, Barry’s wife, served as co-chairs for the event.

The Sault defeated the Edmonton Stallions 65-6 and Barry Rushon noted how “we had in excess of 5,000 people at the game. Donny worked hard to make that successful.”

After the team’s 2007 NFC and Canadian championships, McBain enjoyed seeing the Steelers win the H.P. Broughton Trophy, as the city’s sportsperson of the year, while being honoured as a city Medal of Merit recipient.

“When you stay with a football organization this long, there’s a reason for it,” McBain told The Sault Star after receiving his NFC Hall of Fame induction plaque.

“He was one of the most-genuine people and one of the people most passionate about football I’ve ever met,” Rushon said.

Sandra McBain said visitation at Northwood Funeral Home is slated for Wednesday.

However, as of Sunday night, times had yet to be finalized.

Outlaws quarterback Daigle named NFC MVP

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CAMBRIDGE — They lost in the championship but the Tri-City Outlaws still ended the season on a high by taking a trio of top honours in the Northern Football Conference.

Quarterback Dan Daigle was named the outfit’s most valuable player in the league’s year-end awards which were announced earlier this month.

Teammate Tom Bailey won offensive lineman of the year while Tony Azavedo was the top special-teams player.

Daigle, a former Wilfrid Laurier University pivot, led the league in passing with 2,172 yards and 26 passing touchdowns.

The Stoney Creek native also made the NFC’s first all-star team along with fellow Outlaws running back Josh Reason, receiver Shawn Ashe and Bailey.

Ashe came out of retirement and rejoined the pigskin loop this past season and led the league with 618 receiving yards and six receiving majors.

Second team all-star nods went to Tri-City running back Nick Houser, receivers Anthony Powless and Ryan Watt-Dennis (who tied Ashe with six receiving touchdowns), offensive lineman Josh Howes and defensive back Shawn Diebold.

The Outlaws went 6-2 and tied for second overall in the men’s league. The club, based in Cambridge, marched all the way to the final but lost 50-14 to the GTA All-Stars. The Toronto-area bunch went on to win the national title 18-17 over the Calgary Gators.

NFC offensive player of the year went to Ottawa’s Jeremy Mussche, while Sarnia’s John Bain won defensive player of the year.

Ottawa’s Nyjill Wilson was the league’s top rookie and leading scorer, GTA’s Michael Livingston was named defensive lineman of the year, and Oakville’s Barry Emo took top coaching honours.

North Bay player in NFC hall of fame

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North Bay Bulldogs’ all-time top scorer, Ricky Thompson, was honoured Saturday during the NFC semi-pro contest against the visiting Sudbury Spartans, Saturday.

Sudbury withstood a late push by the Bulldogs to sweep the three-game series between the clubs with a 16-8 victory. Each team now moves on to the playoffs with opponents and schedules to be confirmed.

Thompson, a prolific kicker, punter and slot back 1993 to 2008, earned an induction into the Northern Football Conference Hall of Fame.

The ceremony took place at half-time with both teams creating a half-circle facing several hundred fans at the Steve Omischl Sports Fields Complex.

Thompson and his wife, Melissa, a former Bulldogs trainer, traveled from their home in Welland, ON for the event.

“It was a great honour and a shock, actually,” Thompson said at the tail end of the game, referring to when Bulldogs coach and president Marc Mathon told him.

The 1995 and 2005 NFC all-star said he wasn’t aware of all the statistics he compiled over 15 years.

He said it’s hard to watch the Bulldogs play without wanting to get back in there, especially with several of his former teammates still taking part.

“Even now you still have the itch to play but you know your body can’t handle it, so that’s one of things right? But it’s a great atmosphere and I miss it,” he said.

The Widdifield Secondary School graduate is second all-time in the 65-year-old NFC league’s field goal department, hitting 38 with his longest field goal from 45 yards out, which won a game in the last second.

He is third all-time in converts hitting 189 of 194 (five blocked, none missed).

Thompson leads the league in single point rouges with eight coming off field goal attempts and 14 scored on punts.

As a receiver, he caught 105 passes for 1,226 yards and found paydirt eight times.

As a ball carrier, he averaged 7.23 yards on 39 rushes gaining 282 yards and scored two touchdowns.

He sits ninth all-time in the NFC scoring with 387 points, the most ever by a Bulldogs player.

Thompson was named to the NFC all-star team twice, the first in 1995 and second in 2005.

As for punting, his average was in the 40-yard range over 15 years.

The Bulldogs introduction to Thompson captured the value of the player and depth of his character.

“Ricky’s team attitude is second to none as he was always first to welcome new players onto the team … He’s always ready to spend some time teaching young players how to be competitive as receivers, kickers or punters,” those in attendance were told.

“He was the calming voice on and off the field. Ricky’s character stands for all that is good in a man and football player.

“He is exactly the type of player that is becoming of an NFC Hall of Famer.”

Mathon said Thompson was committed to excellence.

“Ricky was a terrific teammate as well as an awesome player to coach. He met his wife Melissa within the Bulldogs family and is an example of all that is good about football and the relationships fostered within the sports,” he said.

“Great friend, great football player … great person.”

Thompson’s former teammates still suiting up as Bulldogs include Ron Penasse, Russ Burns, Josh Ricker, Randy Nodder, Dan Routley, Sterliing Bilz, Tyler Croghan, Jack Ramsey, John Smales and Brian Samson. Coaches and executive include fellow NFC hall of famer running back Mick Bilz, Jason Pichette, Eric Morgan and Adam McLaren.

Congratulations to the 2017 NFC Champions

For the GTA Allstars it was a perfect season. It all began on May 27th 2017 with a 14-0 victory over a game-ready Ottawa team. As the weeks went on the questions about the abilities of the GTA AllStar team to live up to their 2016 season fell to the side as did their opponents. The coaching and the players refined their skills and played great football. As the season moved forward it became obvious that the GTA Allstars were excellent on all sides of the ball. They could stonewall and shut down any offence and then unleash it’s high-powered offence to march down the field.

All of the gears and cogs moved in alignment to earn the GTA Allstars a perfect regular season posting 8 wins and 0 losses with 307 points for and only relinquishing 71 to all of their opponents. The GTA Allstars earned the first place berth in the NFC Championship. The first to fall was the returning North Bay Bulldogs who put up a valiant effort in their game against the defending champions but the score of 34- 0 sent them home. The Sarnia Imperials stepped up to the challenge after winning an exciting contest against the Ottawa Invaders. The GTA All Stars overcame the Sarnia team to advance to the finals 35-0.

The challengers in the finals, the Tri-City Outlaws, were a formidable force and the 2nd ranked team in the regular season with an impressive 6-2 record. It took the Dan Diagle lead offence to finally put points against the Allstars for the first time in the 2017 tournament. The Outlaws looked strong and ready. Then the tide shifted to the number one seed. The GTA Allstars then unleashed it’s offence to take advantage of the few minor mistakes made by the Outlaws to put up 29 points via touchdowns by play makers: Phil Dixon, Jahmeek Murray, Kevin Walsh and Quincy Van De Cruize. The GTA kicker Ovi Coca added four converts and a rouge to the point total. In the end the powerhouse Outlaw team couldn’t dethrone the champions. The GTA All Stars took home the title over a tough Outlaw team.

Congratulations to our 2017 NFC Champions the GTA Allstars. The dynasty continues as they reign once again holding the throne they first took in 2015, defended in 2016 and clutch with an iron grip in the 2017 season.