Feeling the effects of high temperatures, an early morning and a long road trip to the Mainland, the midget Cowichan Bulldogs suffered their first loss of the Vancouver Mainland Football League season, falling 28-14 to the Meadow Ridge Knights last Saturday. "It was a tough game in the heat," head coach Opie Williams admitted. "With the early morning departure, I don’t think we were quite ready for the start of the game."
The Knights managed to march the ball down the field and score on their first offensive series, not the way the Bulldogs wanted to open the game.
"This woke us up and realize that we were in a ball game," Williams said.
On their own first possession, the Bulldogs came on strong and took the ball down the field to the red zone, but had to settle for a single point.
Their next offensive series didn’t come until the second quarter, when, once again, the Bulldogs got into scoring range thanks to a 30-yard run by Eric (Wheels) Williams. The coaches called for a bootleg to Kain Melchior, who carried the ball another 30 yards to score, but missed the extra point.
Melchior gave Cowichan the lead late in the second quarter when the Knights missed a field goal and he returned the ball 112 yards for his second touchdown of the game.
Meadow Ridge started the second half with an onside kick that they recovered, turning that possession into a touchdown and restoring their lead.
"That gave them the momentum for the remainder of the game," Williams said. "We had a few injuries to the heat and the boys were just gassed near the end of the game."
Mitch Hinton led the Cowichan defence with seven tackles, two assists and one sack, and also filled in on offence at fullback, where he racked up 22 rushing yards.
Riley Caljouw contributed seven tackles and one assist, and Andrew Ketola had six tackles and filled in on the offensive line at the end of the game.
"[Ketola] came back early from a family holiday so that he could make the game," the coach pointed out.
Wheels Williams finished the game with 56 rushing yards behind an offensive line that had to do double duty because of injuries to the D line.
The midget Bulldogs have two more road games before they finally play at home on Sept. 28. They visit Richmond this Sunday.
The bantam Bulldogs will play their home opener this Sunday at McAdam Park, kicking off at 2:30 p.m.