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4th place JB Bulldogs are bound for playoffs

Cowichan will play first place Saanich Wolverines in the semi-final

Despite a 24-0 loss to the Nanaimo Blue Seahawks on the weekend, the Cowichan junior bantam Bulldogs are playoff bound.

“It was not our day,” explained head coach Trystan Ryder of his team’s weekend loss. “We played against a very talented Nanaimo team, with the league’s top rated defence. This was our last regular season game, and a win would have secured third place for our team. Instead, we stay in fourth place, and will play first place Saanich Wolverines in the semi-final.”

The Bulldogs’ defence shut down Nanaimo’s key players, led by linebacker Maxim Magnan who was a force to be reckoned with.

“Maxim’s ability to step up to make play at the line of scrimmage, as well as chase down ball carriers in the open field is a huge asset for our team,” Ryder said.

Cornerback, Atlas Woodard, also made a few huge tackles that kept Nanaimo from a clear path to the end zone.

“Nanaimo has a set of skilled running backs,” Ryder said. “Our defence did a good job of containing them for most of the game.”

But to win, you need to score and Cowichan’s offence had a tough game against Nanaimo’s defenders.

“Some early fumbles in the Nanaimo red zone took some momentum from us,” Ryder said. “Our players kept fighting hard and at one point had the ball on the Nanaimo two-yard line. Fullback Judd Sheen did his best to punch it in on third down, but came up just short.”

Wingbacks, Keaton Woods and Carter Gray both had strong games providing blocks at the line of scrimmage, and adding to the Bulldogs’ running game. Adam Troy who was in at tailback, and tight end, picked up decent yards both on the ground and in the air. Quarterback Domenic Reeves connected with Troy on a couple plays to put the team deep in the Nanaimo end.

“It was a hard day for our offensive line. The players on the O-line have a ton of pressure on them,” Ryder noted. “We have been working hard to improve at these positions, and I think we’ve succeeded.”

The Bulldogs have a challenge in the semi-finals when they’ll face the first place Saanich Wolverines. Regardless of what happens in that game, the coaches are proud of their team for their efforts this regular reason.

”It has been a great season, the entire coaching staff are thrilled with the performance from this team. We finished with six wins and three losses,” Ryder said. “We are proud of how this team handled adversity and setbacks throughout the season. A run of injuries, some season ending, had the potential to be a major setback for our team. Our players stepped up, kept a positive attitude, and continued the goal of winning week to week. As we are deep into the season, it is nice to have some of the players who were injured early on, now return to play. Our mission is not done yet. We will face another talented team in the semi-final. We are looking forward to a big effort from our team and a great game of football.”