It’s a big battle in Northern Football Conference this Saturday as the unbeaten North Bay Bulldogs faces the winless Spartans in Sudbury.
Author of the article:Greg Estabrooks | The North Bay Nugget
Published Jun 15, 2023
The Senior Bulldogs next test is in Sudbury on Saturday night
The North Bay Bulldogs hope to head to the top of the Northern Football Conference standings
The Sudbury Spartans are standing in the way of the Senior North Bay Bulldogs and a 3-0 start in the Northern Football Conference. The Spartans are winless in two starts but do have home field advantage this weekend.
North Bay is coming off a 51-0 laugher over once-mighty Oakville, a game where the Bulldogs took their foot off the gas after two quarters. In fact, the officials did not stop the clock for anything in the second half to get the game over faster.
Bulldogs Head Coach Marc Mathon, a former Sudbury Spartans player, always looks forward to this foe.
“The Sudbury-North Bay rivalry has always been around,” says Mathon who adds this juicy comment. “Sometimes it has spilled over into some off-field stuff.”
The Spartans have struggled this year, but Mathon says they still have some talented players left over from their 2022 team that went 5 and 1.
“They were a strong team last year. They have a good strong offensive line and a good strong defensive line,” says Mathon. “For me, yes sure, there is always that little something as those guys want to play me. I used to be there, and I played with many of their (current) coaches,” says the Bulldogs Head Coach.
Mathon says that Sudbury is history, and his heart and mind are in North Bay.
“This is my family here and I really want to prepare this week for this game, it is a big game for both teams,” says Mathon.
North Bay quarterback Jordan Heather has been big in the first two weeks of the season throwing eight touchdown passes. Heather is also the offensive coordinator as he structures the offence and calls the plays. Heather tells The Nugget he won’t be adding new plays as it is time to perfect the ones already in the playbook.
“It is all about keeping it simple,” says the 2013 Hec Crighton Trophy winner as Canadian College Football’s top player. “We have our playbook in at this point. We are building off that. Whether it be motions (player shifting) or spreading the formation, our playbook is in, and we are not adding anything new,’ says Heather.
For Russ Burns this season has been a breath of fresh air. Burns caught a touchdown pass last week and is happy to be unbeaten this season. Burns says there is still much work to do before anyone can get excited.
“I don’t think about it (being undefeated), every game is a new game,” says Burns.
Burns has been through some tough times with North Bay and has been on the wrong side of big scores versus the Spartans.
“It is always competitive against them (Sudbury), I wasn’t there last year when they ran up the score against us,” says Burns. “To me it’s a new year and a new club with a lot of new faces.”
The wide receiver is enjoying playing with someone with Heather’s skill set, both on the field and on the sidelines.
“He’s the first person to lift someone up and he is never down on anyone. It is great to have a leader who is always pushing the good,” says Burns.
The Bulldogs hope to push the Spartans around on Saturday at James Jerome Field.
Kick-off is slated for 7 pm.