The Cowichan Bulldogs were all set to host the Pemberton Grizzlies in a nine-man midget football game at McAdam Park last Sunday afternoon.
Both teams were at the field, in uniform, and warmed up, but there was a problem.
Due to miscommunication somewhere along the line, the referees didn’t show up.
That would be unfortunate under typical circumstances, but it was even worse in this case, as the Grizzlies only have four league games scheduled this season. Since they had made the trip to Cowichan, the least the Bulldogs could do was to play a scrimmage with them.
“I wasn’t going to send them home without playing something,” said Cowichan head coach Mike Williams, who refereed the scrimmage. “It was an opportunity for improvement — let kids play and they get better.”
Understandably, players on both teams were frustrated with the circumstances.
“It’s not what they got all geared up to do,” Williams said.
Besides being the home opener, there was yet another reason the Bulldogs were excited to hit the field on Sunday.
“It was a disappointing day,” Williams said. “We had brand new jerseys ready to roll out and we ended up with a scrimmage.”
Not all was lost as both teams had the opportunity to play without worrying about points in the standings.
“It showed us we have some talented athletes and gave us some things to work on,” Williams noted, adding that he was impressed with defensive lineman Dylan Taylor and running back Damian McCuaig-Jones and that the coaches are still trying to get some players into their ideal positions.
The Bulldogs will head to the Mainland this weekend for probably their biggest challenge so far this season.
“White Rock, by all accounts, should be the team to beat,” Williams said of his next opponent.
The White Rock Titans, Williams has heard, have a pretty deep bench and their roster includes the league’s maximum number of 18-year-olds.
“They’re big and physical, and we’ll have to match that,” the coach said. “I think we can; we’ve just got to play them to the whistle and be disciplined, not fall into the trap of being overly aggressive.”