Damian McCuaig-Jones was outstanding for the Bulldogs in the B.C. final. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Bulldogs not prepared for physical, experienced Titans in provincial final

A young Cowichan Bulldogs team found itself in a tough spot last Sunday in the provincial nine-man midget football championship game against the White Rock Titans.

The Bulldogs, made up almost exclusively of 16-year-olds, went up against a Titans team of 17- and 18-year-olds. Age, size and experience won the day as White Rock prevailed 37-1 over Cowichan.

“As much as I thought we were prepared, when it came down to it, we really weren’t,” said Cowichan head coach Mike Williams, who expressed immense pride in his young players. “It came down to physicality, and not being able to create space on offence and fill space on defence.”

Things took a negative turn for the Bulldogs almost immediately as they lost quarterback Carson Maertz to a sprained knee on just the second offensive play of the game. Maertz did come back in the second half, but was limited in what he could do. Later in the first quarter, Cowichan lost starting centre Evan McEwen, also to a sprained knee. The absence of two starters on offence was nearly impossible to overcome.

“It really showed when we had to put backups in,” Williams said. “Our execution was not there at all.”

The Bulldogs moved the ball in the first quarter, but struggled the rest of the game as the Titans took an 18-0 lead into halftime and built on it in the second half.

The teams split their regular-season meetings, and Williams admitted that the Bulldogs’ defence was better in the provincial final than it had been in their previous loss to the Titans.

“Their running game was based on cutbacks to open space, and we over-pursued them,” Williams commented. “The players weren’t disciplined enough to stay in their own areas. They were trying to make up for the other players’ mistakes.”

Damian McCuaig-Jones was selected as Cowichan’s game MVP.

“He was clearly our best player on the day,” Williams said. “He played both offence and defence, and was efficient in both roles, but one player does not make a team.”

Although each team had an MVP, there was only one award for the Most Sportsmanlike Player in the game, and it went to Cowichan’s Nicholas Young.

“He played well enough to influence the game, but we didn’t rally on defence behind Nicholas and Damian,” Williams said.

There were ups and downs throughout the season, but the Bulldogs and Titans were definitely the class of the nine-man circuit.

“It was a two-team league all the way along, between us and White Rock,” Williams said. “Pemberton and Comox still have work to do with their players.”

Cowichan has only one graduating player as Ryan Haywood prepares to move on, which sets the stage for another good season next fall.

“I told the players, as long as we work at getting bigger, stronger and faster, we will be better next year,” Williams said.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Isles offence picks up against Peninsula

Kerry Park better at both ends of the ice in winless weekend

Water levels in Cowichan Lake high after recent wet weather

Snow pack in local mountains also looking good

VIDEO: Hear sultry jazz songstress Laila Biali in speakeasy setting in Cowichan

Cabaret Series at Cowichan Theatre closes its 2019/20 season with super show

Baby bear carving stolen from his family in Chemainus

Thief repeatedly kicked it and dislodged it from cement and rebar

Gas leak prompts mop-up response in Chemainus

Thorough check made of Croft Place before residents and business people return

VIDEO: Kenney wants feds to approve Teck mine for benefit of First Nations

‘Surely [reconciliation] means saying yes to economic development for First Nations people’

Opioid crisis to blame for shorter life expectancy in B.C. men, says Stats Can

Opioid crisis held responsible for declining life expectancy

Earthquake on top of highway closure a wake up call for Island’s West Coast

“When someone says, ‘Be prepared for 72 hours,’ that means exactly that: be prepared.”

Pregnant B.C. woman stuck in Wuhan, the epicentre of coronavirus outbreak

Woman is due to give birth in Wuhan, China unless she can get out

Taxi association asks B.C. Supreme Court to stop Uber, Lyft from operating

Petition alleges Passenger Transportation Board did not take taxis into account

Majority of Canadian boards had no female members in 2016 and 2017: StatCan

Statistics Canada says 18.1 per cent of director seats were held by women in 2017

Swapping grape varieties can help winemakers adapt to climate change: UBC study

Report says 56% of wine-grape-growing regions would be lost if global climate warms by 2 C

Filming for Resident Alien begins in Ladysmith

Aliens and excitement take over the streets of Ladysmith during new TV series

Most Read