The peewee Cowichan Bulldogs tamed the Oceanside Lions last Sunday, earning a 22-8 road victory in Parksville.
The Bulldogs wasted no time getting on the scoreboard as Jaxson Jones caught the opening kickoff and wound his way through the Oceanside defence to score the first touchdown of the game.
"Blocking on the kick return has been a focus during practice and it showed," head coach Devon Lawrence said.
The Lions attempted to come right back, but the Cowichan defence put a quick stop to their outside game thanks to big plays by cornerbacks Jason Boyd and Kepler Marshall. Before the first half was over, running back Zach Pearson found his way to the outside and drove through to the end zone behind the blocking of slotback Jeevan Nijjar. Jones made his first appearance as kicker, and added two points to Pearson’s major.
"Kicking the point after touchdown is more difficult at this level, and as such it is worth two points rather than the standard one in the pros," Lawrence explained.
The Lions started strong in the second half and managed to score their first points of the season. That got the Cowichan defence working even harder. Linebacker Jesse Kwasny stopped anything that came his way, and safety Sawyer Ellison got in on several tackles. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs offence kept marching, led by fullback Brock Lamont, and Jones capped off the scoring with his second touchdown.
The junior bantam Bulldogs visited the Saanich Wolverines last Sunday, where they played exceptionally well down the stretch in a 40-20 loss.
The game started slow as the teams tried to get a feel for each other’s game, but the Wolverines began to pick up the pace first.
"Getting out of the gates slow seems to be a trend this year for us," head coach Tim Maertz commented.
By the middle of the second quarter, Cowichan trailed by three touchdowns. The Bulldogs had opportunities to get into the game, but weren’t able to capitalize. Thanks to a change in tactics, they surged in the third quarter.
"The running game had hit a snag, so we started to throw the ball, with successful completions," Maertz said.
Evan Kwasny caught the first touchdown pass of his career to get the Bulldogs on the scoreboard, but the Wolverines responded with two more majors of their own.
It wasn’t until the fourth quarter that the Bulldogs started to show what they can do.
"It was a nice change," Maertz said. "The players started getting fired up."
Kilion VennRyan scored on a passing play, then made a big block for Carson Maertz, who scored Cowichan’s third and final touchdown. "Kilion has really been on fire lately," coach Maertz said. "He’s a great kid who is very passionate for the game."
The Bulldogs had the momentum on their side as time ticked down, and if the game was little longer, they might have turned the tide.
"If there was another quarter in the game, I think we could have won," coach Maertz said. "If we had brought that fourth-quarter intensity and determination to the start of the game, the outcome would have been in favour of the Bulldogs."
The junior bantam Bulldogs will visit the Nanaimo Redmen this weekend, while the peewees have a bye. Both teams will be at home on May 23 against Gordon Head.