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New Bulldogs excited for first Turkey Bowl

For many players this will be their fourth and final Turkey Bowl, but for Portland newcomers Nathan Kapongo, Herve Irakoze and Obed Ntumba, it'll be their first. (WGME)

PORTLAND (WGME) – When Portland and Deering kick off the 106th annual Turkey Bowl Thursday, the game will be a first for several new Bulldogs whose greatest play in the game may actually come before the ball is even hiked.

For many players this will be their fourth and final Turkey Bowl, but for Portland newcomers Nathan Kapongo, Herve Irakoze and Obed Ntumba, it'll be their first.

"That will be my first time on Thanksgiving Day," Ntumba said.

All three players recently came to Portland from Africa, so playing football is something new, but something these young men can't get enough of.

"I love football, I grew up watching football, we don't have football, so once I got here people are telling me to see how it goes and now I’m here playing for my teammates, I love football," Irakoze said.

Portland Head Coach Jim Hartman is amazed at how well the boys have acclimated to their new sport and new surroundings.

"I've grown close to Nate, Herve and those guys and they're great kids they work hard and they're good football players," Hartman said.

On Thursday morning, before the ball is teed off, several Bulldog players including Nathan, Obed and Herve will carry out the American flag.

"It's something that I haven't done before, but I'm pretty excited about it," Irakoze said.

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