The Junior Varsity North Bay Bulldogs football team made their first appearance in the playoffs on Saturday.
Although they lost 17-8 to the Cambridge Lions, getting to the playoffs is a significant win for the young Bulldogs team which has only been around for three seasons.
Marc Mathon is the head coach of the Bulldogs and he was one proud coach after the game.
“I can't say enough about the players,” said Mathon after the Bulldog's first playoff loss.
“It's been an absolute pleasure. They(the players) care more about the team than they care more about their own playing time and that's huge. We did everything we could and we pulled out all the stops, but we came just that short.”
The Bulldogs started off the game with the ball, but was unable to do much with it. After punting the ball to the Lions, Cambridge executed well on offense and didn't give the ball back to the Bulldogs.
Cambridge was able to methodically grind down more than 7 minutes off the clock and eventually score a touchdown on a run to the outside from the Bulldogs five yard line.
After the Lions first drive, their defense came out and executed just as well. They forced a fumble while the Bulldogs were attempting to run out of their own zone.
The Lions jumped all over the fumble and found themselves on the Bulldogs 9 yard line. Cambridge was then able to continue their momentum and score their second running touchdown before the first quarter ended.
In the second and third quarter, both defenses stepped up to the plate and shut it down. The Bulldogs did not allow the Lions to score a single point while the Lions only surrendered a single point.
Just when it seemed like the Lions would win the game easily, the Bulldogs fought back. Anthony St Jean picked up the pace for the Buldogs and helped make the game interesting for the home crowd.
The Bulldogs started their drive on their own 20 yard line, but St Jean was able to break off a big 35 yard run on the first play. North Bay then moved the ball down the field and St Jean capped off the drive with a 15 yard running touchdown with ten minutes left in the game to make it 14-8.
The Bulldogs defense stepped up and forced the Lions to punt after six plays and on the ensuing drive St Jean came up big again. He was able to find a seam to the outside and scamper for a 85 yard run. The Bulldogs had a 1st and goal, but were unable to convert and complete the comeback.
Although, the Bulldogs ran the ball into the end zone twice, both touchdowns were called back due to penalties. And before they knew it, it was first and goal on the 29 yard line. The Lions stopped the Bulldogs on their four attempts to the end zone and then broke off a big run of their own and kicked a field goal for some insurance.
It was a tough loss for the Bulldogs, but a valid effort. They're a young team they will definitely learn and benefit from this game going into next year.