The junior bantam Cowichan Bulldogs ended the regular season on a strong note, beating the Ladysmith Steelers 48-6 at McAdam Park last Sunday.
The football team finished the regular season with four wins, one loss and one tie, their only loss coming on their season-opener against the unbeaten Victoria Renegades, who the Bulldogs hope to meet again in the league championship.
The Bulldogs hope their last game stands up as a statement to the league.
“We really dominated and want to send a message for the playoffs that we mean business,” coach Ted Harris said. “Our only loss in the regular season was our first game but we’ve really come together as a team since. We look forward to a rematch in the final if possible against the Renegades. Our boys are pumped and hope that we make it to Ladysmith, where the final is being held.”
The Bulldogs wasted little time last Sunday as Dillon Wilson scored the first of his four touchdowns in the early going. Davin Reithaug would add two majors, and Nico Harris had one, while going 3-for-5 on converts.
Aidan Muth returned a partially blocked kick attempt, and Harris and Ben Wilson also had good games on defence, with Harris making a few bone-crunching tackles and one sack.
The Bulldogs have a bye this weekend while the rest of the league wraps up regular-season play. Playoffs start the following week.
“We will probably be at home for the semis against Southside,” Ted Harris speculated. “They tied us two weeks ago in a game which was probably our worst as a team this year. We are looking to score quickly and continuously as we had a poor effort with them that game. We are going to give them everything we’ve got.”
The peewee Bulldogs lost their home game against Ladysmith last weekend, although they played some of their best football of the season down the stretch.
“We had a great quarter of football,” head coach Opie Williams said. “It just happened to be the fourth quarter.
“We made some adjustments in the second half and were able to shut the door on the Ladysmith offence. The Steelers came ready to play and took it to us. We lost containment from our rush ends and no help from the linebackers.”
While Ladysmith started strong, Cowichan needed time to get into the game.
“We couldn’t get going,” Williams lamented. “It was as if the players were still sleepy.”
Quarterback Jaeden Williams followed the excellent blocking of Curtis Rice Jr., Darren Bright, Tarran Hanson, Siera Grieve and Logan O’Dell to a 68-yard touchdown in the third quarter.
Like the junior bantams, the peewees have a bye this weekend.
The bantam Bulldogs had last weekend off, but played to a 30-3 loss to the Comox Raiders on the road the previous Sunday.
Comox scored three touchdowns in the first quarter, shocking the Bulldogs, who settled down and played better from the second quarter on, sparked by a defensive stand on Cowichan’s three-yard line that forced a loss on downs. The next offensive play saw Finn Shea take the ball 70 yards.
“Though that offensive drive didn’t result in a score, it created much needed momentum for us,” coach PJ Shea said.
Strong performances from Daylen MacDonald, Drake Spong and John Rostas, who recently returned from a broken hand, led the Cowichan defence.
Running backs Finn Shea and Laine Hogstead had moments of success on the ground, but the passing game created most of the big plays for the Cowichan offence. Gregor MacKenzie hauled in a number of throws and Andrew Beith caught a long pass.
Coach Shea was optimistic about the way his team responded to their early struggles.
“Though we lost, there were a lot of positives that we can pull from the game,” he said. “Comox is a very talented team who came in to the game being very polished. We are not contented with the loss, our athletes fought hard and left the game knowing that they can compete with a team that may very well win the league regular season title.”
The junior bantam Bulldogs will host North Delta at McAdam Park this Sunday at 12:30 p.m.