The Cowichan Bulldogs football teams wrapped up the regular season on Saturday with games at home against the Ladysmith Steelers.
The peewee Bulldogs went in as the underdogs against the second-ranked Steelers, and came away with a 24-10 win to climb into first place in the division.
“The win was a big one for the Bulldogs,” coach PJ Shea said. “Not only did they establish bragging rights against Ladysmith, but they established themselves as a relevant force going into the upcoming playoffs.”
The Bulldogs set the tone for the game from the opening kickoff. The defence stood strong and forced several turnovers, holding the Steelers to just one offensive touchdown, with the other coming on a kickoff return.
The Cowichan offensive line had its best game of the year, springing running backs Jesse Kwasny and Finn Shea for big yards on their way to the end zone. Centre Rylan Rowe, guards Jayden Strzok and Dillon Wilson, and tackles Nico Harris and Gavin Kendrick kept the Bulldogs ahead for the entire game.
The peewee Bulldogs will host their first-round playoff game on June 18.
The junior bantam Bulldogs will miss the postseason, but made sure to go out on a strong note, playing hard in a 12-0 loss to Ladysmith.
The Cowichan defence had an excellent outing, containing the Ladysmith offence to the inside, led by the tackling of Isaiah Doughty. The offence struggled to score, but still generated some highlights. Silas Mearns ran for nearly 100 yards, and Will Hardman continued to lead by example with his hard work.
“Zach Thompson had a great game, proving that this sport was all about team,” coach Jeff McDonald said. “His lead blocks were outstanding, as was his play on defence. He has a real sense of the game and an outstanding future with this sport.”
McDonald was impressed with the way his team stuck it out through a difficult spring.
“This was a tough season for the JB’s, but they came to practice and worked hard,” he said. “They have all improved and have made friends for life. The coaches are proud of each and every one of them.”