The midget Cowichan Bulldogs have won just one of their first four games in the Vancouver Mainland Football League season, but head coach Tim Maertz still feels his team is a contender.
“This was our fourth game, and we haven’t seen the team regress backwards,” Maertz said after his team’s most recent game, a 14-6 loss to the North Langley Kodiaks at McAdam Park last Sunday. “They’re always getting better every practice and every game.
“It’s only a matter of time before the knocks in the engine come out and we are firing on all cylinders.”
The Bulldogs sit seventh in the VMFL standings, but Maertz is confident that will change soon.
“I think we’re one of the best teams in this league,” he said. “We’ve had a chance to beat every single one of the teams we’ve played this season. We’ve just got to get over the threshold, believe in each other, and keep going.”
Despite the result last Sunday, Maertz liked the way the Bulldogs played, including the fact that they opened the scoring with a 45-yard touchdown play from Carson Maertz to Paul Romanoff.
“There were a lot of really good, positive things,” he said. “I was really happy with how we played. Our passing game has never been better. We were able to move the ball quite easily with our passing and receiving corps. We marched several times into the red zone and couldn’t convert.”
The Bulldogs were getting close in the fourth quarter when time ran out.
“We were right on their doorstep,” Maertz said. “We need to punch through and convert.”
The Bulldogs were strong without the ball as well.
“Defensively, we played a solid game,” Maertz pointed out. “We only got burned on one big play. Not a bad play, just a big play we couldn’t stop.”
The Bulldogs had a few key players missing, but the fill-ins did an excellent job, including Bill Buckman, who stepped in on the offensive line despite usually playing defensive end. Andrew Haywood had a solid game on offence as well.
Cowichan will head to Comox this weekend to face the Raiders, a team they defeated 33-12 when they met in Duncan earlier in the season.
“It’s not like Comox will be a pushover,” Maertz said. “They’re certainly a good team that we can’t take for granted. It will be another good game for us. We’ll get better and stronger to close out the first half of the season.”