Bantam Cowichan Bulldogs edged by Westside Warriors

Playing their final home game of the 2016 regular season, the bantam Cowichan Bulldogs lost 34-31 to the Westside Warriors.

Playing their final home game of the 2016 regular season, the bantam Cowichan Bulldogs lost 34-31 to the Westside Warriors at McAdam Park last Sunday.

The Bulldogs got off to a 14-0 start on a rushing touchdown from running back Alex Marinakis and a pass from Carson Maertz to Jaidon Erickson, who turned his first reception of the year into a touchdown, but saw their lead fade away as the game wore on.

The Bulldogs trailed by 10 points with a minute and a half left on the clock, and managed to score a late touchdown to get within three. They tried an onside kick — a play that had worked in their favour in the first half — but didn’t recover it.

For the most part, head coach Mike Williams was pleased with his team’s performance.

“We did a good job stopping their run. They have a good passing game, and we did a good job of stopping that too. But, as expected, big plays led to big touchdowns.”

On offence, the Bulldogs got a few big plays out of their running game, including two would-be touchdown runs that were called back for penalties on blocking errors.

“We’ve got to fix the mistakes where we’re not completing the play,” Williams said. “As much as we had a lot of good points, we have some things we need to work on.”

The bantam Bulldogs have two games left in the season. The 8-0 Richmond Renegades can’t be caught, but the Bulldogs, now 4-4, could finish anywhere between second and fifth. A top-four finish is needed to make the playoffs, and a top-two result to host a playoff game, something the team would love to do after playing just three dates at McAdam Park during the regular season.

Cowichan will play Salmon Arm in Richmond this weekend and visit Comox in the regular-season finale a week later.

“We beat Salmon Arm in Richmond a couple of weeks ago,” Williams said. “If we play the whole game like we played in spurts last week, we should be OK.”

Two Bulldogs teams will be in action at McAdam Park this Sunday against the Harewood Dawgs. The peewees play at 10 a.m. and the junior bantams at noon.