The Bulldogs roll past Ottawa in NFC quarterfinal

The North Bay Bulldogs overran the Ottawa Sooners in a Northern Football Conference playoff game at Mike O’Shea Field Saturday night.

Author of the article:Greg Estabrooks | North Bay Nugget
Published Jul 29, 2023

The North Bay Bulldogs outslugged the Ottawa Sooners 24-13 to move to the Northern Football Conference semifinals.

It was a tougher night than usual for the Bulldogs offense who faced the Ottawa defence for the third time this weekend. North Bay led 7-3 after the first quarter and then 14-3 at the half.

Ottawa broke through with a field goal then North Bay answered back with touchdowns from Heather to Jacob Steringa and Will Laporte.

North Bay scored on another passing play as Heather hit Andre Landry for a score and it was 21-3.

North Bay was up 24-6 and had the ball until Heather was stripped of the ball and Anthony Noel of the Sooners took it back for a touchdown. That made the score 24-13 and that was the final.

Ottawa did not score on offence and Bulldogs coach Marc Mathon said stopping the run was vital.

“We found ourselves in a bad situation as we looked at the stats and we were giving up over 200 yards a game rushing,” says Mathon. “We had to take our defence and shored things up. The guys came to practice and really focused on that.”

“Once we were able to stop the run and force them to pass our defence backs were able to make plays and we have the advantage,” says Mathon.

Mike Van Damme had a big game for North Bay. Van Damme is a defensive end who has played exactly four games of football in his life.

The South African native wanted to try football when he moved to North Bay. So far so good for the first-year player.

“I’m just here to tackle, they tell me who to hit,” says Van Damme. “My understanding of the game is limited. They tell me who to tackle, and that is all I can do now,’ says Van Damme.

The run and gun Bulldogs offence played a very different style on Saturday. It was more conservative than usual. Quarterback Jordan Heather says that was the plan.

“In the second half we were trying to work on the running game and burn the clock,” says Heather. “The last time we played them we scored too quickly, and it gave them opportunities to get the ball back, so we tried to run the ball and play a little differently,” says the Bulldog quarterback.

North Bay will be off next week and will likely be on the road the week after that in a semifinal game.

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