Cowichan Bulldogs defensive lineman Brock Gowanlock was named the B.C. Community Football Association's Midget Defensive Player of the Year and copped Defensive Player of the Game honours for his team at Starbowl 2014 earlier this month.
"Getting defensive MVP of the league felt great," he said. "I've never had any recognition like that before. That was the second time I'd been named Defensive Player of the Game, so it was pretty cool to get that twice in a row."
Gowanlock was one of a dozen Bulldogs named to the VMFL midget all-star game. He was joined on defence by teammates Cory Lewis, Adam Marchetti, Landon Conville, Wyatt Mac-Watt, Nick Thomas and R.J. Piche, while Eric Williams, Mackey Singh and Eric Maslen suited up on offence. Liam Palcu-Johnston and Drayson Price were also selected but were unable to attend.
Leading up to Starbowl, the Cowichan players made trips to the Mainland for two weekends of practice, a commitment that turned out to be worth it.
"Starbowl is always a good experience," said Gowanlock, who was making his third appearance in the all-star game. "They have great coaches, so there's tons of great stuff to pick up on."
Cowichan midget coach Opie Williams was pleased with the way his players represented the Bulldogs organization.
"Everyone played a great and hard-hitting game, showing the league that Cowichan football is producing some high-calibre football players," he said. "I'm very excited for all my graduating players as they will be looked at for the next level. Cannot wait to get started for next year."
The Nanaimo/Cowichan Red Dogs sent eight players to the bantam Starbowl: Braemon Conville, Malcolm Barr, Nathanael Durken, Dayton Gaskal, Cory Fletcher, Karl Mattison, Dylan Strutt and Justin Young.
Gowanlock has one year left of midget eligibility, but he is hoping to catch on with a junior football team, with the ultimate goal of getting a scholarship to play in university. He has been in touch with several junior programs in the province, and will be attending a number of camps in the next month.
In the meantime, he is also a standout rugby player with the Cowichan Secondary Thunderbirds.
"[The two sports] work really well because rugby is in the spring and football is in the fall," he said. "I just go with the flow and use the skills from both sports. They cross over well."