The midget Cowichan Bulldogs lost 23-21 to the Meadow Ridge Knights in a Vancouver Mainland Football League game at Duncan’s McAdam Park last Sunday, but after the previous week’s debacle against the Comox Raiders, Cowichan coach Tim Maertz was thrilled.
“Again, the scoreboard didn’t tilt in our favour,” he said. “But we played way more disciplined football, that’s for sure.”
It was an emotional game for the senior Bulldogs, who were playing the last home game of their careers. That included some players who had planned to play junior football this season, but opted to play one more year of midget.
“They decided to come back and finish what they started here.”
The Cowichan defence got strong games from several players, including Kolten Pieters, who registered two sacks, and Kilion VennRyan, who had two interceptions. Paul Romanoff also had one sack, and first-year midget Daylen MacDonald had an interception. Brayden Doucette was another key contributor.
“He was a man on a mission,” Maertz said. “He was all over the place, making tackles left, right and centre.”
It was vital to have lots of players contributing on defence, because mainstay Nicholas Young was sidelined with a broken elbow. Young still begged to get in for one play in his last home game, and the coaches relented.
“We snuck him out there for the opening kickoff,” Maertz said. “He came off, changed out of his gear, and that was that.”
The Cowichan offence played its best game so far, with Carson Maertz connecting with Romanoff for two touchdowns and Jon Nantais for the other.
The Bulldogs started the last series of the game on their own 40-yard line, and made it almost halfway to the end zone before they ran out of time.
The VMFL midget playoff format has been established, and Cowichan, Comox and Victoria have been grouped in an Island zone, with the best of those three getting a bye to the Island final, while the other two play in a semifinal. Knowing his team will make the playoffs, Maertz can focus on performance instead of results for the last two weeks of the regular season.
“I’m not too concerned about how we finish. I’m just thinking about getting better so when the playoffs come around we’re firing on all cylinders. There’s nobody in this league we can’t beat. I’m looking forward to the rest of this.”
The Bulldogs will visit the Victoria Spartans at Westhills Stadium this coming Sunday.