Gridiron glory regained | HS Sports

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Gridiron glory regained
HS Sports

TOPSHAM, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The Southern Maine Raging Bulls are reaping the rewards of their hard work and dedication, by hosting a home playoff game for the first time in years.

The Raging Bulls play in the New England Football League, and play at the highest level of amateur football in the country.  On Saturday at 3pm, they face off against the Mill City Maulers in their first round playoff match up at Deering High School's Memorial Field.

"They put a lot of time and effort into this and they are all great men," stated head coach Ronnie Bates.  "To me, football is a microcosm of life.  It really is.  If you go out there and put in your honest effort and become better, as you would in your life, then you are going to see the rewards of it on the field."

The team is made up of forty-two players who range greatly in their ages and experience.

"We got guys coming home from D-1 ball.  We've got kids that might go to D-1.  We've got kids that still get requests to play pro ball," explained Bates.  "There's some guys out here that were really good in high school and maybe didn't go to college and still want to play the game.  And quite honestly, we've got guys like myself that had never played, want to play, they're athletes, and we teach them the game and let them have some fun."

"I just have a love for the game," said former Brunswick High School star running back, Phil Warren.  "It is just what I love to do.  I do it cause I enjoy playing.  Nothing else drives you more than love."

Warren played at the University of Buffalo after high school, and returned home with a continued passion for pigskin, so he joined his brother Charles in the Bulls' backfield.

"It is actually very competitive, more competitive than I thought it would be, that's what made me stick with it," said Warren.  "There's a lot of former college players like myself and high level players coming down, some people who went to the NFL combine, some people who actually played in the NFL play.  So you never know what to expect from team to team from week to week so you just got to go out there and do your best."

"We've had pretty successful seasons.  This has been a good one," said Michael Douglass, an offensive lineman for the Bulls who also played in high school for the Gorham Rams.  "This has been a real fun one.  It's a good group of guys that we've got."

The Bulls and Maulers split their regular season meetings, so saturday's rubber match should be a battle. 

Douglass says all the guys on the team have become close and want to make a deep run in the playoffs.

"It should be a fun game," he stated.  "They are going to be back for some revenge.  We are ready for it though."

He says the league is a great opportunity to stay in the game.

"It is the love of the sport," he explained.  "It is the band of brothers that you have going on the battlefield.  It is just like a clique.  It is like a second family."

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