Ben Wilson returns a punt during the Cowichan Bulldogs’ win over the Comox Raiders at McAdam Park last Sunday. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Big wins at McAdam Park for midget and bantam Bulldogs

All Cowichan football teams hit the road this weekend

The midget Cowichan Bulldogs bounced back from an opening-week loss to defeat the Comox Valley Raiders 33-12 at McAdam Park last Sunday.

“It was a complete team effort in that one,” Bulldogs head coach Tim Maertz said. “Comox isn’t a pushover team anymore. They’ve built a program that’s going to be strong for the next five or six years.

“We were really happy with how everyone came together and played team football the way it’s supposed to be played.”

Dylan Taylor had a huge outing on offence, with 19 carries for 228 yards and two touchdowns, while Dakota Cullum had three carries for 15 yards rushing and one touchdown as well as making four catches for 62 yards receiving. Quarterback Carson Maertz had one carry for a one-yard touchdown and went 4-for-7 through the air, including a touchdown pass to Paul Romanoff, who finished with 25 yards receiving on two catches.

The defence was led once again by Nicholas Young, who had a sack and 16 tackles, while the “relatively quiet” Chase Fraser busted out for eight and a half tackles. On special teams, John Nantais had two punt returns for 50 yards.

The midget ‘Dogs will visit the North Surrey Bears on Sunday for their first road game of the fall. Last time the teams met, Cowichan came back from a 20-0 halftime deficit to win 28-26.

“I think the guys are pretty jacked up,” Maertz said. “They’re looking forward to it. They’ve got to get ready to play gritty Surrey football and not get caught up in the extracurriculars.”

The bantam Bulldogs, whose opponents forfeited in opening week, also won their game against Comox last Sunday, by a final score of 53-0.

“This game was a great way for the players to build up some confidence and put what they’ve been working on, for well over a month, into action,” head coach PJ Shea said. “We have some very gifted athletes on this team, and their presence has made everyone around them better. ”

The Cowichan defence maintained constant pressure, and didn’t give up a single first down. Linemen Joe Swift, Jayden Strzok, Dillon Wilson and Gregor Mackenzie were unblockable, with the full unit in the Comox backfield on virtually every play. Comox finished the day with negative yardage gained, and the Bulldogs D-line combined to reach double digits in sacks. Bulldogs newcomer Stirling Henry had one interception, and Finn Shea also grabbed a pick that he returned for a touchdown.

The Bulldogs’ new offensive scheme proved successful and led to scoring through the air and on the ground. Jesse Kwasny had two receiving touchdowns and one running score, Henry added two majors, and Laine Hogstead and Finn Shea ran for the other touchdowns.

The Cowichan bantams will also visit North Surrey this weekend.

The junior bantam Bulldogs played their first game of the season on Sunday and lost to Westshore in spite of some terrific individual performances.

“They were definitely more polished than us for week one,” head coach Opie Williams said.

The Bulldogs had to make some personnel changes, including putting receiver Ryder Maertz at quarterback to replace the absent Cody Williams. Maertz rushed for 18 yards and added two tackles, two assists and a sack on defence. Brad (Bulldozer) MacRae was a force at fullback, leading the team with six tackles and one assist, while his 87 yards rushing included a 36-yard run for Cowichan’s only touchdown. Max Lang was excellent in his first game, with three tackles and two assists on defence, and 75 kickoff return yards. Another rookie, William Quigley, stood his ground against multiple double teams.

Both the junior bantam and peewee Bulldogs will head to Nanaimo on Saturday to face the Southside Dawgs.

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