Dylan Balfour carries the ball for the atom Bulldogs during a recent home game. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Dylan Balfour carries the ball for the atom Bulldogs during a recent home game. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Atom ’Dogs take down Sooke Thunderbirds

Junior bantams suffer tough first loss of the season

The atom Cowichan Bulldogs picked up a big win in Sooke last Saturday, while the junior bantam ‘Dogs saw their winning streak come to an end in Victoria on Sunday.

Quarterback Mica Kendrick led the atom Bulldogs to a 42-0 victory over the Sooke Thunderbirds.

“The running attack was on point with big blocks from our O-line,” Cowichan coach Trystan Ryder commented. “On defense, rush ends Ashton Linklater and Jacob Champ came up with some big tackles behind the line of scrimmage.”

The atom Bulldogs have a bye this weekend, and will play their next game on the road against undefeated Westshore on May 25.

The junior bantam Bulldogs were handed their first defeat of the spring football season, falling 30-8 to the Gordon Head Raiders on Mother’s Day.

“We gave away the first half to the Raiders as they scored four times against our usually tight defence,” Cowichan coach Ted Harris said.

The Raiders opened the scoring on their third play from scrimmage. The Bulldogs replied by marching down the field on solid runs by Dillon Wilson, Davin Reithaug and Nico Harris.

“Our big backs did what they could,” coach Harris said. “But we were missing two of our better linemen and our blocking breakdowns caused us to turn over the ball on downs on several occasions.”

The Raiders scored two more on deep passing plays as a result of missed assignments and bad tackling by the Bulldogs.

The Bulldogs looked more like their familiar selves in the second half. Nico Harris scored on a 45-yard run up the middle and kicked the convert to get Cowichan on the board.

“We totally out-played them in the second half and completely shut down their offence,” Ted Harris said.

Defensive end Eric Guo made some huge tackles, while Wilson, Nico Harris and Mason Martindale also had big games on defence.

“We lost to this same team in the regular season last fall but ended up beating them in the championship final,” Ted Harris pointed out. “In a way this loss was good for us, as it will make the team hungry to beat them come playoff time in five weeks. The players on the team each acknowledged their individual mistakes and we will work hard to dial ourselves in over the next few games. Both teams know that a rematch is inevitable and it’s going to be a barn burner.”

The Nanaimo Redmen forfeited their Thursday-night game against Cowichan this week, so the junior bantam ‘Dogs will have to wait until May 24 to play again when they visit the Saanich Wolverines.