After spending the previous night at the BC Lions game in Vancouver, the peewee Cowichan Bulldogs had to shake off the cobwebs the next morning for an early game of their own.
It took a few plays for the Bulldogs to get into gear, but they eventually clamped down and held on for a 32-14 win over the Nanaimo Bombers at McAdam Park last Sunday.
Nanaimo struck first, marching in a touchdown on their third offensive play. The Bombers recovered the ensuing kickoff to keep their offence on the field, but the Bulldogs quickly got the ball back.
“We woke up quickly from the late night at the Lions game and our defence made a stand,” head coach Opie Williams said.
The Bulldogs started their next possession with the ball on their 28-yard line, and Aiden Muth had a huge run to get his team to the Bombers’ 33-yard line. Fullback Austin James then got his team on the scoreboard with a 20-yard plunge, with Muth adding the extra point.
This time, the Bulldogs recovered their own kickoff and took advantage of it with a 45-yard touchdown run by Ryder Maertz, who broke a tackle on his way to the end zone. The extra point was missed.
Nanaimo scored the next major and missed the convert, but still held a 14-13 lead. They attempted to recover the kickoff, but were out of bounds when they collected the ball. Cody Williams took the ball on a reverse from Maertz and ran 65 yards for a touchdown. Muth made good on the convert, giving the Bulldogs a lead going into the second half that they never relinquished.
Williams had another score that was called back on a holding penalty, but the Bulldogs made up for it with a QB keeper up the middle behind huge blocks by Bradley MacRae.
The Bombers got close again in the fourth quarter but had their touchdown called back on a penalty. The Bulldogs made a goal-line stand after that, then got a 95-yard touchdown run from Maertz on their next offensive play. The Bulldogs recovered their next short kickoff and that was it.
“The boys got to learn the Bulldog formation,” Williams said. “Where we line up to take a knee and end the game.”
MacRae led the defence in tackles and also edged out Maertz and Parker Bertrand for special teams player of the game. Dakota Creamer filled in spectacularly on the offensive line.
The Bulldogs head to Comox this Saturday.
“It is starting to get down to crunch time,” Williams noted. “And every game is important for playoffs.”