Atom Bulldog Aylin Canning shakes off a couple of Saanich tacklers during last Saturday’s game. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Atom Bulldog Aylin Canning shakes off a couple of Saanich tacklers during last Saturday’s game. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Bulldogs set eyes on playoffs

Junior bantams and atoms rounding out regular season

With two of their previous three football games forfeited by their opponents, the junior bantam Cowichan Bulldogs were eager to get back into a real contest when they rolled into Parksville last Sunday to take on the Oceanside Lions. The Bulldogs ended up taking out their pent-up tension on the Lions in the form of a 62-6 trouncing.

Cowichan’s first possession resulted in a touchdown by Nico Harris, and the Bulldogs defence shut down Oceanside’s first series with a fumble recovery. The Bulldogs then turned to their passing game, and running back Harris connected with Dillon Wilson through the air for another major.

The Cowichan defence was outstanding throughout the game, let by Wilson, Harris, Eric Guo and Mason Martindale.

“We are getting consistent strong performances by our defence from players like Wilson, Guo, Harris and now vastly improved second-year player Mason Martindale,” Cowichan head coach Ted Harris said. “He [Martindale] impresses me more and more each week. He is a tough fast player who feeds on opportunity.”

Nico Harris hit Davin Reithaug for another touchdown, and when the dust settled, Wilson had four majors, Harris had two, and Martindale scored on a kickoff return. Harris also converted every Cowichan touchdown. Rylan Rowe had a standout game blocking Oceanside’s big defensive player, and Eamon Manley was strong at right guard. Cody Williams and Ben Wilson switched off at quarterback and kept the ball moving, while Wilson also had a good game at middle linebacker.

The Bulldogs head into the playoffs next week against the Victoria Spartans, the winner advancing to the spring league final.

“When we are firing on all cylinders there isn’t a team in our league that can compare to us,” coach Harris said. “We have the biggest, fastest and strongest running game in the league and the toughest defence by far out of any of our competitors. These young men are excited to start our playoff run. The key will be to stay healthy and strong after our next game.”

The atom Bulldogs returned to form on Saturday as they defeated the Saanich Wolverines 19-0 in a tight defensive battle. Maxim Magnan and Johnny Bloudell had key interceptions to halt the Wolverines’ passing attack, and the entire offensive line, led by centre Brayden Screaton, was outstanding, opening up big homes for the ball carriers.

The atom ‘Dogs will host the Victoria Spartans this Saturday at 10 a.m. in a big game with playoff implications.