‘Nothing beats Sudbury football on Saturday night’

Sudbury Spartans are hoping for a 4-0 lead when they host Sarnia Imperials

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It’s been nearly three decades since legendary Sudbury football coach Sid Forster passed away, but you know he’d be thrilled if his Sudbury Spartans got a 4-0 start in front of their hometown fans this weekend.

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Current head coach Junior Labrosse was a player on the last Spartans team, which Forster managed in 1994. So he recalls the excitement these powerhouse teams brought to the community and was particularly thrilled to see a large crowd at James Jerome Field last Saturday after two seasons due to COVID courtside.

“Even after Sid folded and the team wasn’t that good, we always had that support,” Labrosse said of the loyal fans at Nickel City, who got to see their team improve with a 14 to 3-0 last Saturday -8 win over the Sault Steelers. “Nothing beats Saturday night football at Sudbury. The crowd was full and energetic and the players love playing in front of our fans. And they’re great – they let the refs know when they’ve made a bad decision, they cheer for the boys, you know, they boo the other team and you can’t beat them.”

“There is no other place in the NFC where you can play football that has such an atmosphere.”

Coach Labrosse vows his team will take nothing for granted when they host the Sarnia Imperials this Saturday night.

“I wouldn’t say we’re going into the game with too much confidence,” he said, despite Sparta’s 3-0 record and the fact they’re playing a 2-0 Sarnia side. “This is a team from Southern Ontario, where there are campuses everywhere where they can find these world-class athletes, where we don’t have campuses in Sudbury to pick athletes from.

“High-spirited, no,” said Labrosse. “Playing them like they’re undefeated, that’s our goal, that’s our mentality. We don’t take anyone lightly.”

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The Spartans sit first in the Northern Football Conference, although Hamilton’s Steel City Patriots are also unbeaten 2-0, having beaten their opponents 65-0 so far.

Don’t expect anything special from the Spartans as they’re shooting for a fourth straight win.

“Creative plays? Not really, we’re trying to plan the game for the opponent we’re going to face and see if they have a weakness or strength that we need to counteract,” said Labrosse, stressing that his team’s hot start was huge is. “Especially in football, it’s not like hockey where you know you’ve got 85 games. You have to seize the moment when the game comes up.”

Kick-off on Saturday is at 7 p.m. at James Jerome Field.

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Twitter: @SudburyStar

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