The pee wee Cowichan Bulldogs earned their first victory of the spring football season last Sunday, beating the Westshore Warriors 16-0 in Langford.
"The players have had great improvement in all areas through their dedication and hard work at practice," head coach Brian Scott said.
Linemen Billy Bickford and Liam Henning provided good pass protection throughout the game, allowing quarterback Dakota Cullum to patiently move his offence. Cullum connected with Tyson Duffe for a 30-yard catch in the second quarter that led directly to a 35-yard touchdown run by Damian McCuaig-Jones. McCuaig-Jones scored again at the end of the third quarter. Switching to kicker, Cullum successfully converted both majors. McCuaig-Jones also played linebacker, joining with Alexander Van Ryk to lead the defence with big tackles.
Carson Maertz checked in at quarterback in the fourth quarter, completing passes, picking up first downs, and killing the clock to secure the victory.
The pre-atom Bulldogs came across tough competition when they faced the Warriors, but battled hard anyway.
"The boys are progressively learning the game," said coach Ted Harris. "[Sunday] was just another learning experience for them. We play our next game at home on a familiar field; that will mean a lot to them. I think the new players were a bit blown away playing in the Westhills Stadium."
The pre-atoms, who were also missing seven players due to sickness, injury, and other reasons, were led on offence by quarterback Jaxson Jones and rookie running backs Ethan Bell and Thoran Koyote, while wide receiver Jeevan Nijjar caught a pair of nice passes.
On defence, Nico Harris scooped up a fumble and made several tackles. The fleet-footed Evan Mayer took care of the outside and stopped several surefire touchdowns. Rookie linebacker Parker Lawrence showed no fear in tackling the bigger Westshore backs.
The atom Bulldogs also ran into adversity as they fell to the Warriors.
"The score may not have been what the team was hoping for, but you can see the team is applying what they are learning in practice which is exciting to see," coach Devon Lawrence said.
The Bulldogs held their own in the first half, with running back and kicker Jack Napier-Ganley surprising the Warriors with his kicking power. In the second half, the Cowichan defence came together and used tackles by Hunter Williams, Zack Pearson and Koda Lang to turn back the Westshore advance.
"We have the talent and determination on the team and when everything starts clicking, it will be incredible," Lawrence said.
All three Cowichan teams will be off this weekend, and make their home debuts at McAdam Park on April 26. The pre-atoms will play at 11 a.m., followed by the atoms at 12:30 p.m. and pee wees at 2:15 p.m.