Not only did the midget Cowichan Valley Bulldogs get back in the win column against the North Delta Longhorns on Sunday, they also took the opportunity, playing at home against a football team that has struggled this season, to get some players into different positions.
Regular signal-caller Carson Maertz got the start at quarterback, but after one series was replaced behind centre by Dane Quayle. Maertz moved to defensive back for the rest of the game, where he recorded two tackles and an interception, while Quayle guided the Bulldogs to a 25-6 victory.
“It was a move to give us some depth at quarterback,” head coach Mike Williams explained. “And give another guy a chance against an opponent who allowed us to do it.”
With the team concentrating on the passing game, Quayle completed nine of 17 attempts for 125, throwing just one interception. His favourite target on the day was Dakota Cullum, who had six catches for 68 yards, including a 25-yard touchdown reception. On the ground, Damian McCuaig-Jones ran for 46 yards on 12 carries, including touchdown runs of 12 and 20 yards.
“He did what we needed him to,” Williams said of the running back.
North Delta’s lone score came when they completed a 40-yard pass-and-run play to get into the red zone, then punched it in after the Bulldogs took a pass interference penalty.
“They’ve scored two touchdowns, both against us,” Williams pointed out.
All is not bleak for the Longhorns, who have persevered through a challenging season.
“They’ve got some good, talented kids,” Williams commented. “They’ve stayed motivated and stayed positive.”
Brooks Branchi led the Bulldogs defence with six tackles and a sack, and Nicholas Young added four tackles and a sack. Bill Buckman contributed four tackles, a fumble recovery and a forced fumble. The Cowichan defenders came close to picking off a number of North Delta passes.
“We probably had opportunities for three or four different interceptions, but we couldn’t hold onto the ball,” Williams said. “I was happy with our defensive positioning.”
The Bulldogs will make their last regular-season visit to the Mainland this coming weekend when they play the North Surrey Bears. With Langley locked into first place and Victoria in second, this will be the battle for third place in the league. The Bulldogs need to beat the Bears this Sunday by more points than they beat the Bulldogs in their first meeting of the season.
“We need to play well and hopefully get the tiebreaker,” Williams said. “We can’t take them lightly. We have a much better and stronger team than we did earlier in the year.”