Tough McAdam Park battles go the wrong way for Cowichan Bulldogs

Both Cowichan Bulldogs minor football teams lost at home to their Gordon Head Raiders counterparts last Saturday.

The peewee Bulldogs opened the day with a hard-fought 40-20 loss to the Raiders.

The Raiders got on the scoreboard early in the first quarter, but on the very next offensive series, running back Zach Pearson took advantage of a block by Riley Noyce and ran 75 yards to score. Noyce was able to wind his way through the Gordon Head defence to score in the second quarter. Tackle Jayden Strzok was all over the field when the Bulldogs were on defence.

In the third quarter, linebacker Jesse Kwasny and defensive back Jason Boyd were all over the Raiders’ offence, and in the fourth quarter, the Cowichan offence came together and started moving the ball. Max Vaesen got a key first down on a reverse play,

and Pearson racked up at least five yards on each of several carries while dragging Gordon Head players behind him.

"Zach was a tank that took at least four defenders to stop him," coach Devon Lawrence said.

Another reverse in the dying seconds of the fourth quarter led to a 25-yard run by Vaesen and set up a second touchdown by Pearson. Kicker Hunter Fenn capped it off with his first successful convert of the season.

The junior bantam Bulldogs got their offence moving right after the opening kickoff, marching the ball right to the red zone, where they ran out of downs before the could score. The strong start had head coach Tim Maertz feeling confident right away.

"I felt we came out on a mission, and set the tone of the game," he said. "The team was running to the line out of the huddles, ready to go."

The air seemed to come out of the offence after the opening drive. The Raiders managed to score 37 points in the first half, while the Bulldogs put up just one touchdown.

The ‘Dogs played shutdown defence in the second half, with big plays by Mathew Pretula, Liam Simmonds and Dylan Taylor.

"Our defensive line turned into a backfield menace, driving the Raiders backwards," Maertz said. "We had guys stepping up to make some big plays. We were so happy to see players making great plays."

A 30-yard catch by Kilion VennRyan in the second half was the Bulldogs’ highlight of the game.

The junior bantams have a bye this weekend while the peewees host the Saanich Wolverines at on Saturday at 1 p.m.