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Game 1 Pregame Report


Spartans welcome schedule changes
By Ben Leeson, Sudbury Star | Tuesday, May 21

Toronto's loss could be Sudbury's gain.

The Toronto Titans, last year's Northern Football Conference champions, have taken a leave of absence from Ontario's senior football league, prompting officials to revise their schedule with only a week remaining until the start of the regular season.

While that may throw some teams for a loop, it may have the Sudbury Spartans throwing a party.

"I told Marc Mathon, the league secretary, that they did a better job for us with the second schedule than the first one," said Gord Goddard, Sudbury's president and offensive co-ordinator.

Sudbury's season opener, a trip to Oakville on Saturday, remains unchanged. But instead of playing their home opener against the Toronto Raiders the following week, the Spartans will host the Sarnia Imperials, who have never played at Queen's Athletic Field.

All Sudbury Spartans home games take place at Queen's Athletic Field with kickoff slated for 7:15 p.m.

"We were scheduled to play there again this year, for the third year in a row, and that's one of our longest road trips of the year," Goddard said. "When we do that, we always have to get dropped off early, so our driver can get an eight-hour rest, because he needs a 16-hour day to drive us back.

"But now we don't have to do that anymore, which kind of made our season."

Even better, after playing five straight games to open the season, the Spartans now have back-to-back byes on June 29, Canada Day weekend, and July 6.

"Everyone liked to get the Canada Day weekend off," Goddard said. "It's excellent for our guys, in terms of their family commitments, and it breaks up the season."

Players will have time to rest and recuperate from any injuries before hosting Oakville on July 13.

They'll close the regular season on July 27 with a trip to Durham, instead of the bye week originally scheduled.

A full schedule has been posted at www.nfcfootball.ca.

With less than a week remaining until Sudbury's season opener, the Spartans have 47 players registered, not bad for a team that took its own leave of absence in 2007 due to low player turnout.

"We're still waiting on a couple of linemen," Goddard said. "We always need big boys.

"We're coming along well. We're young and we're small, but we're coming along well, we really are."

Saturday's game at Bronte Park in Oakville is a 6 p.m. start.

Sudbury's home opener against Sarnia goes June 1 at 7:15 p.m.




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