The peewee Cowichan Bulldogs score a touchdown against Nanaimo White last Saturday. (Jen Laver photo)

The peewee Cowichan Bulldogs score a touchdown against Nanaimo White last Saturday. (Jen Laver photo)

Peewee Cowichan Bulldogs battle to the end

Tie makes for a memorable regular-season finale

The peewee Cowichan Bulldogs came up just short of the win they needed to advance to the Vancouver Island Canadian Football Association playoffs, but their game against Nanaimo Seahawks White last Saturday was still a memorable one.

“This game was one for the memory bank,” coach Trystan Ryder said. “Our team played their hearts out and gave it all that they had.”

The Bulldogs were up 22-6 going into the fourth quarter, but the Seahawks got back into it with a couple of big plays, then tied the score with two minutes left to play. The Bulldogs lost their running back and quarterback to injuries in the final minute and weren’t able to strike back, settling for a 22-22 tie.

The Cowichan defence did an outstanding job of shutting down the Nanaimo offence over the first three quarters. Linebacker Landen Laver was all over the outside game, and teamed with Aylin Canning to stop runs up the middle. Drake Thomas and Atlas Ryder led the way on the defensive line, while backs Kalem Thomas and Mica Kendrick used their speed to prevent big gains.

On offence, rookie fullback Adam Troy and veteran tailback Mica Kendrick pounded the Nanaimo defence into the ground, scoring Cowichan’s first two touchdowns on bug runs. The third touchdown came when quarterback Domenic Reeves saw a gap in the Nanaimo defence and called an audible to tight end Atlas Ryder, who burst into the end zone for his first of the season.

“As always, the key to a successful offence starts with a strong offensive line,” coach Ryder commented. “Our O-line had the best game of their season and played almost flawlessly. It is an area we have been focused on improving all season, and it has payed off.”

The peewee and junior bantam Bulldogs will play in the Dogwood Bowl on June 25. The atom Bulldogs have advanced to the playoffs and will host a semifinal against the Victoria Spartans at Ladysmith’s Forrest Field this Saturday at 6 p.m.