Playing their first games at home this spring, the pee wee Cowichan Bulldogs continued their winning streak, the pre-atoms earned their first victory of the season, and the atom ‘Dogs showed plenty of determination even as they went down to defeat. The pee wees had to change things up as they played nine-man football against the Peninsula Wildcats, but managed to adjust quickly and pick up a 12-6 victory.
Ryan Coleman set the tone right away with a 20-yard run on the first play, and Dylan Taylor and Nicholas Young were forces on both the offensive and defensive lines.
"Peninsula had a lot of size, and the defence did well getting everyone to the ball carrier, including some good hits by first-year football players Aiden Wold and Sammy Fry," head coach Brian Scott said.
Peninsula scored the only points of the first half to take a 6-0 lead, but the momentum changed in the second half as the Cowichan players adapted to nine-man ball. "Since we had to play nine-man, there weren’t enough positions for everyone to start, but everyone did well playing where they were needed, and supporting their teammates when it was their turn on the bench," Scott said.
Damian McCuaig got the Bulldogs on the board with a 25-yard touchdown run, and Dakota Callum scored on a quarterback sneak from the one-yard line in the fourth quarter.
Fullback Hunter Abel helped make the score possible with some nice runs up the middle and solid blocking on the drive.
The Wildcats managed to get back to the Bulldogs’ 30-yard line in the last minute of the game, but the Cowichan defenders stood their ground and knocked down a pass in the end zone on the third down. The offence took a knee to end the game after gaining one last first down.
Pre-atom coach Ted Harris lauded his players’ sportsmanship and skill as they beat the Wildcats 14-0 in their home opener.
"My players had their best game of the season so far," he said. "They were on their game and playing their positions well. I think our fans were impressed by how well all the plays were executed by the players
and the sportsmanship that our team showed to the other players."
Treyton McCuaig-Jones ran for a touchdown on the Bulldogs’ very first play from scrimmage. Throughout the game, the offensive line led by Jayden Strzok opened up big lanes for running backs Spencer Young and Thoran Koyote. Quarterback Jaxson Jones added a touchdown of his own, and threw a two-point conversion to his favourite wide receiver, Jeevan Niijar. On defence, Jayden Du Temple made several tackles in the Peninsula backfield to keep the Wildcats scoreless.
The atoms managed to keep the score close against the Wildcats as they continued to look for their first win of the year.
"The last few games have been against very veteran football teams where we are mostly first year," head coach Devon Lawrence said. "That said, the score would have been worse if not for our defence making some huge stops."
Linebacker Cyrus Upshaw put a stop to the Wildcats’ advance several times with his creative tackling, and defensive lineman Jake Swejda stopped anything up the middle.
On offence, running back and kicker Jack Napier-Ganley did everything he could to break through the Peninsula defence, but did most of his damage on punts that consistently went over the head of the Wildcats’ returner.
The pre-atoms have a bye this weekend, but the atoms will host the Ladysmith Steelers at McAdam Park at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, followed by the pee wees taking on the Gordon Head Raiders at 2:15 p.m.