Three Cowichan Bulldogs football teams were in action at McAdam Park last weekend, and all three came out on the winning side.
On Sunday, the midget Bulldogs prevailed 29-0 over the Victoria Spartans and the bantam ‘Dogs beat the Nanaimo Seahawks 36-18, and on Saturday, the peewees defeated the Spartans 30-8.
The midget squad wrapped up the regular season on a spectacular note, with dominant performances on both sides of the ball. The weather made things difficult for both teams: the wind and rain prevented effective passing, so they went to their running games on a muddy field.
Still suffering through some key injuries, the Bulldogs made some unexpected personal adjustments, with Jayden Strzok, Dillon Wilson and Logan Laver helping Finn Shea with the running back duties. Strzok and Wilson came through with long runs that led to Cowichan touchdowns. The Bulldogs did manage to score one passing touchdown when quarterback Ben Wilson connected with receiver Jesse Kwasny.
On defence, the Bulldogs controlled the line of scrimmage with solid play from Strzok, Dillon Wilson, John Rostas-Kidd and Joe Swift. Shea led the game in tackles, and Kwasny did a solid job patrolling the secondary.
The midget Bulldogs will have this weekend off as they wait to see which Lower Mainland team they will face in the first round of the playoffs.
The bantam Bulldogs also had to deal with wet conditions, although the field was in somewhat better shape because they played before the midgets.
The Cowichan defence came out strong, with Brad MacRae recovering a fumble on Nanaimo’s second offensive play. On their own second offensive play, the Bulldogs got a touchdown from Max Lang to take an early lead. Nanaimo came back to tie it up. The Bulldogs started to move the ball at the start of the second quarter, then instituted their new halo offence, where they take out the receivers and put the ball in the hands of the big boys. Getting the ball to the four-yard line, they borrowed the Refrigerator Perry play from the ‘85 Chicago Bears and put Seb Tait at the fullback position to run in his very first touchdown.
“Every O-lineman’s dream,” bantam head coach Opie Williams commented.
Back into the red zone soon after, the Bulldogs reinstated their regular offence and Aiden Jeffries scored his first touchdown of the year with the extra point from Landon Locke. In their own end late in the second quarter, the offensive line convinced Williams to gamble on the third down. Not only did they get the first down, but Lang broke through and ran 86 yards to score. The snap on the extra point was bad, but Maertz scrambled and threw to MacRae for the two-point convert. The Seahawks got one back, but the Bulldogs still went into halftime leading 28-12.
The Bulldogs controlled the ball for most of the third quarter, starting a drive on their own five-yard line and marching all the way to the Seahawks’ end. They started the fourth on Nanaimo’s two-yard line, and Tait took it over for his second touchdown, with Maertz running in the two-point convert. Nanaimo managed one more score before time expired.
The bantams have secured first place in the Island division and will host a playoff game. They will play host to Comox at the Ladysmith turf this Sunday at 3 p.m.
The peewee Bulldogs saw their offence really click against the Spartans. The team got huge runs, with quarterback Mica Kendrick and running back Brolin. Kendrick got the passing game going, with receptions and runs by Atlas Ryder, Cole Tokarek and Aylin Canning.
“The offensive line provided great pass protection, and opened up holes for our backs to run through,” coach Trystan Ryder commented.
On defence, tight end Atlas Ryder had multiple tackles for loss of yards, while cornerbacks Harrison Plaxton and Alexander Erickson shut down the Spartans’ outside game.
“The team has really gelled over the last few weeks and all the hard work at practice is paying off,” coach Ryder said. “We are looking forward to our next game against the Oceanside Lions, and continuing to improve.”
The peewee Bulldogs will visit Oceanside on Sunday.