The Atom Bulldogs remain undefeated following a 33-8 victory over Nanaimo Beast Mode in their semi-final matchup this past weekend. They’re now headed to the finals this coming weekend to play for the VIFCA Cup.
Head coach Justin Young said fourth place Nanaimo came to the semi-final ready to play.
“They came out hot and heavy stopping us on the first drive which was a first for the atoms this season,” Young said. Though Nanaimo did manage to score a touchdown against Cowichan, the Bulldogs ruled the remainder of play.
Defence dominated the day, forcing three turnovers. Two came on Rylnd “Blondi” Monti interceptions, both of which be he took back for a touchdown, though one was called back due to a penalty.
Other stand outs included Colton Knight and Liam Freeland, two linebackers were all over the field making tackles left and right. The defensive line also was playing full throttle as Troy Elliot , Felix Bernardi and Carter Thorne all recorded a sack on the day.
On offence, quarterback Rylen Heyer pushed forward for three rushing touchdowns, including a 30-yard run.
Devon Randhawa and Weston Carter also scored touchdowns for Cowichan in the victory.
“It was stressful to start, we came out flat footed but my faith in our team never faltered. I know the kids have worked so hard for this and they come back even more determined when challenged,” Young said. “We have one more hurdle left and these kids have more than earned this championship appearance and now it’s our chance to play our hearts out on the big stage of the Island championships. I hope all our kids make memories they will never forget this coming weekend.”
Cowichan got on the board early with a Vaughn Williams touchdown and never looked back, beating the Southside Dawgs by a 46-22 score to advance to the spring league finals this coming weekend.
“It was a great game for us,” said head coach Opie Williams. “One of the best games we have played all season.
A dialed in quarterback, Gus Steeves, and an offensive juggernaut, Justin Jack-Thomas, took the reins and didn’t look back. Every time the Dawgs scored, Cowichan countered.
Steeves flexed his strength all game, first completing an 80-yard bomb to Jack-Thomas in the second quarter for the Bulldogs’ second score of the game.
“Our defence made a huge goal-line stand and stopped Southside on our five-yard line,” recalled the coach. “On the next play Justin broke free for a 105 yard touchdown run.”
The defence was led by Kalem Thomas and Eli Atchison but it was a team effort with 11 different defensive players making the stats sheet for tackles.
After a 63-yard touchdown run from Jack Thomas, Steeves fired a pass to Cole Koster for a 63-yard catch and run in the third quarter.
Receiver Jonas Buckle also helped the offence spread the ball around and put up a huge 25-yard run.
Steeves went on to find Kasen Randhawa in the fourth quarter for the team’s final touchdown of the day. All told, Steeves had a 153-yard passing day. Jack-Thomas ran for 186 yards and had 79 receiving yards in the victory.
The Bulldogs will compete against Nanaimo this coming weekend for the Dogwood Cup and the title of VIFCA peewee champions.