The junior bantam Bulldogs’ vast improvement over the spring football season showed last weekend in the team’s second meeting of the season with the Westshore Warriors.
The Bulldogs lost 11-0 last Saturday, but the result and the performance were significantly better than the 44-12 loss to the Warriors earlier in the year.
"The coaches felt it was our best game of the season," head coach Tim Maertz said. "They not only fought through the heat, the players played with their hearts and left everything on the field. I’m so proud of them; they have come so far since the beginning of the season."
Cowichan opened the game on defence and although the Warriors were able to pick up a couple of first downs on the possession, the Bulldogs held them off the scoresheet. The ‘Dogs responded on their opening drive by getting the ball into the red zone, but they couldn’t get through to score.
The teams battled in the trenches for the rest of the half, but no one was able to get into the end zone. The Warriors kicked a field goal late in the half, and the Bulldogs went into halftime trailing by just three points.
"That fact was the hot topic in the dressing room, "Maertz said. "We were playing really well, it was an oven out on the field, and I had players who didn’t get a break except during timeouts, and water breaks during the game. I couldn’t be happier with the effort put forth by my players."
The second half was much like the first, with lots of ball movement by both teams, but the defence stepping up when it counted. The Bulldogs got big plays on defence from Matt Pretula and Liam Simmonds, who both sacked the Westshore QB in the backfield.
"Both players have become amazing players and continue to grow, and develop their skills," Maertz said.
When the Bulldogs had the ball, their offensive line did a great job opening holes for Jonathan Walker.
The Warriors scored their only touchdown of the game in the second half, and the Bulldogs remained in contention until the final whistle.
The peewee Bulldogs played their toughest game of the spring, falling 30-0 to their Westshore rivals.
The Bulldogs came out strong in the first half, getting a big play from offensive tackle Harrison Padur who held off the Westshore defence long enough for Cowichan quarterback Aiden Lawrence to complete a pass to Zach Pearson for a first down.
"We were effective in moving the ball, but couldn’t reach the red zone," coach Devon Lawrence noted.
Kepler Marshall and Riley McDonagh were effective on defence in the second half, shutting down the Westshore running game on the right side.
The junior bantams have a bye into the Silver Cup final in Langford on June 20. The peewees will host the Sooke Seahawks for a first-round playoff game this Sunday at McAdam Park, beginning at 1 p.m.