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Living the dream: Bond, Main ‘heart and soul‘ of NKEC football


CANNING - It’s hard to say where football at Northeast Kings Education Centre might have been this season without Allan Bond and Jon Main. “We might not have had a team at all,” Bond, a Grade 12 student, said.

NKEC football has had its successes over the years, including a provincial Tier 2 championship in the program’s second season. In more recent years, it has often been a struggle competing with other sports at the school, particularly hockey.

“One of the biggest problems we’ve had with our program over the years has been finding players,” Bond said. “Most of the bantam Bulldogs end up at Horton or CK.”

Main, a Grade 11 student, agrees. “The culture of our school doesn’t revolve around football,” he said. “NKEC is really a hockey school.” Bond acknowledged, “we’ve been working hard the past couple of years to change that culture.”

Prior to the 2014 season, NKEC was in real danger of not being able to field a team due to a shortage of players. 

“We approached some of the right people and convinced them to come out and try it,” Main says. “They agreed to try it this year, and it worked out.”

Bond and Main are both 17-year-old Kentville residents. Bond’s birthday is in April; Main’s is in October, so he is still in Grade 11.

Asked if they do other sports, Bond admitted, “I’ve played some basketball, but not for the school. Football is really my first love.”

It’s the same for Main, the younger of two football-playing brothers, who played one year of basketball for NKEC, but agrees football is his first choice.

Bond began playing football “six years ago, at the age of 11.” He cut his teeth with the Valley Bulldogs. “Larry Priestnall was my coach, and Reg (current NKEC head coach Reg Ogilvie) coached the special teams.”

Main started playing football when he was seven, in Montreal where he lived before moving to Kentville five years ago.

“In Montreal, you played atom, then mosquito, then peewee. When I came here, I was in my last year of atom eligibility here, but I played up a division in peewee.”

Bond and Main were both members of the 2012 bantam Bulldogs team that won the provincial Tier 1 championship with Ogilvie as head coach. “We were undefeated that entire season,” Bond says proudly.

Bond admitted, “we talked about maybe transferring to Horton. If Jon had agreed to go, I would have, too. I’m glad now I stayed and helped build the program here.”

Bond cited as an example of the change in culture surrounding NKEC football, “our kicker this year, Hugo Couvert,” an exchange student from Belgium.

“He was a really good rugby player in Belgium, but we don’t play boys’ rugby at our school, so we convinced him football was the next best thing. He made a big difference to our team.” To Main, it was “another example of getting the right people to come out and buy into the program.”

Both Bond and Main played both sides of the ball this season. Both played linebacker on defence, and ran the ball and filled in at quarterback on offence.

Both players said the Titans “did a great job of buying into Reg’s system,” and both cited the role played by assistant coach and defensive coordinator Andrew Hartnett. “He’s a phenomenal defensive coach who takes real pride in his work,” Main said. “He lives in Halifax, so he has an hour’s drive just to get to practices and home games. That’s real dedication.”

This year, NKEC overcame a slow start to reach the Division 3 provincial final, where they lost to Central Kings who completed an unbeaten season with the win.

They avenged two regular season losses to West Kings with a 14-7 win in the playoff semifinal in Auburn. “West Kings surprised me, how good they were this year,” Main said of the second-year program.

He added, “when you lose, that’s all you have. Getting to the final was great. I wish we had won, but we did our best, and it’s something to build on for next year.”

Unlike Main, Bond has “played my final high school game. It’s a special feeling. It’s sad in a way, but I’m proud of the things I’ve accomplished with this program, both on and off the field. I feel I’ve played a part in keeping the program going.”

He isn’t 100 per cent sure what he will be doing next year. “Right now, I’m considering studying policing at Holland College. I’ve looked into it.” He is “aware they play football at Holland College, but I haven’t pursued that.”

If he ends up here in the Valley next year, “I have every intention of helping Reg out with the coaching here.”

Where he is still in Grade 11, Main said he is “seeing what happens” about his future. “I’d consider playing football beyond high school,” he says, “but I’m waiting to see what happens. I would consider it if some coach showed an interest in me.”

The division alignment in high school football this season had four of the five Valley schools playing in the same division. “I liked how it made things more equal and competitive among us,” Main said. “You didn’t get to play against the very best schools, but overall, it was a lot better in terms of development.”

Bond agreed. “Last year, we had to go and play teams in the city, they didn’t even dress their best players, and they still beat us badly.

“Losing 44-0 doesn’t make people want to be part of a program, “ he said. “The set-up this year was a lot more competitive, and made for a lot more interest among the players. It was a great thing, and it may have saved football at schools like ours.”

NKEC football has had its successes over the years, including a provincial Tier 2 championship in the program’s second season. In more recent years, it has often been a struggle competing with other sports at the school, particularly hockey.

“One of the biggest problems we’ve had with our program over the years has been finding players,” Bond said. “Most of the bantam Bulldogs end up at Horton or CK.”

Main, a Grade 11 student, agrees. “The culture of our school doesn’t revolve around football,” he said. “NKEC is really a hockey school.” Bond acknowledged, “we’ve been working hard the past couple of years to change that culture.”

Prior to the 2014 season, NKEC was in real danger of not being able to field a team due to a shortage of players. 

“We approached some of the right people and convinced them to come out and try it,” Main says. “They agreed to try it this year, and it worked out.”

Bond and Main are both 17-year-old Kentville residents. Bond’s birthday is in April; Main’s is in October, so he is still in Grade 11.

Asked if they do other sports, Bond admitted, “I’ve played some basketball, but not for the school. Football is really my first love.”

It’s the same for Main, the younger of two football-playing brothers, who played one year of basketball for NKEC, but agrees football is his first choice.

Bond began playing football “six years ago, at the age of 11.” He cut his teeth with the Valley Bulldogs. “Larry Priestnall was my coach, and Reg (current NKEC head coach Reg Ogilvie) coached the special teams.”

Main started playing football when he was seven, in Montreal where he lived before moving to Kentville five years ago.

“In Montreal, you played atom, then mosquito, then peewee. When I came here, I was in my last year of atom eligibility here, but I played up a division in peewee.”

Bond and Main were both members of the 2012 bantam Bulldogs team that won the provincial Tier 1 championship with Ogilvie as head coach. “We were undefeated that entire season,” Bond says proudly.

Bond admitted, “we talked about maybe transferring to Horton. If Jon had agreed to go, I would have, too. I’m glad now I stayed and helped build the program here.”

Bond cited as an example of the change in culture surrounding NKEC football, “our kicker this year, Hugo Couvert,” an exchange student from Belgium.

“He was a really good rugby player in Belgium, but we don’t play boys’ rugby at our school, so we convinced him football was the next best thing. He made a big difference to our team.” To Main, it was “another example of getting the right people to come out and buy into the program.”

Both Bond and Main played both sides of the ball this season. Both played linebacker on defence, and ran the ball and filled in at quarterback on offence.

Both players said the Titans “did a great job of buying into Reg’s system,” and both cited the role played by assistant coach and defensive coordinator Andrew Hartnett. “He’s a phenomenal defensive coach who takes real pride in his work,” Main said. “He lives in Halifax, so he has an hour’s drive just to get to practices and home games. That’s real dedication.”

This year, NKEC overcame a slow start to reach the Division 3 provincial final, where they lost to Central Kings who completed an unbeaten season with the win.

They avenged two regular season losses to West Kings with a 14-7 win in the playoff semifinal in Auburn. “West Kings surprised me, how good they were this year,” Main said of the second-year program.

He added, “when you lose, that’s all you have. Getting to the final was great. I wish we had won, but we did our best, and it’s something to build on for next year.”

Unlike Main, Bond has “played my final high school game. It’s a special feeling. It’s sad in a way, but I’m proud of the things I’ve accomplished with this program, both on and off the field. I feel I’ve played a part in keeping the program going.”

He isn’t 100 per cent sure what he will be doing next year. “Right now, I’m considering studying policing at Holland College. I’ve looked into it.” He is “aware they play football at Holland College, but I haven’t pursued that.”

If he ends up here in the Valley next year, “I have every intention of helping Reg out with the coaching here.”

Where he is still in Grade 11, Main said he is “seeing what happens” about his future. “I’d consider playing football beyond high school,” he says, “but I’m waiting to see what happens. I would consider it if some coach showed an interest in me.”

The division alignment in high school football this season had four of the five Valley schools playing in the same division. “I liked how it made things more equal and competitive among us,” Main said. “You didn’t get to play against the very best schools, but overall, it was a lot better in terms of development.”

Bond agreed. “Last year, we had to go and play teams in the city, they didn’t even dress their best players, and they still beat us badly.

“Losing 44-0 doesn’t make people want to be part of a program, “ he said. “The set-up this year was a lot more competitive, and made for a lot more interest among the players. It was a great thing, and it may have saved football at schools like ours.”

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