Junior bantam Bulldogs running back Jesse Kwasny (59) carries the ball during a home game at McAdam Park earlier this season. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Junior bantam Bulldogs running back Jesse Kwasny (59) carries the ball during a home game at McAdam Park earlier this season. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Across the board, things are looking up for Cowichan Bulldogs

Peewees and junior bantams on the rise

The peewee Cowichan Bulldogs played their best game of the season last Saturday in a 36-12 win over the Ladysmith Steelers at McAdam Park.

“The coaches were able to prepare the team for the game,” Cowichan head coach Tim Maertz said. “And it showed on the field.”

The Bulldogs opened the scoring, and the Cowichan offence kept playing a solid game from there.

“The O-line did a fantastic job creating the holes for our running backs to get through and kept control of the Steelers’ D-line,” Maertz said. “It was really awesome to see the players click like they did. I couldn’t be more proud of the team’s efforts.”

The Cowichan defence matched the offence’s hard work.

“The D-line exploded off the snap of the ball, and were able to push the Steelers back almost every play,” Maertz said. “The amount of pressure we were able to bring into the backfield was very impressive. What stood out the most for me was almost every defensive play saw the Bulldogs tackle in groups. Players were able to shed the player blocking them and go make a play on Ladysmith’s ball carrier.”

The junior bantam Bulldogs were handed a forfeit win when Ladysmith arrived at the field shorthanded, but the teams opted to play an organized scrimmage anyway.

“A win is a win,” JB coach PJ Shea acknowledged. “But the situation was frustrating as a number of Cowichan families either cut short, or travelled from their long weekend vacations to attend the game.”

Shea was encouraged by what he saw on the field last Saturday.

“If the scrimmage showed anything, it was that the Bulldogs will be a different team the second half of the season,” he said. “Displaying an offence that successfully pounded the ball on the ground, setting up a passing game that, quite literally, could not be stopped.”

By completing passes to Eli Caine, Dillon Wilson and Gregor Mackenzie, Cowichan quarterback Trekker James showed he can be an effective passer behind a solid offensive line. Defensively, the Bulldogs tried out some new formations and schemes, with newcomer Osceola Elliott solidifying a spot on the D-line.

Both Cowichan teams will travel to Sooke this weekend to visit the Thunderbirds.

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