Midget Bulldogs defenders Stirling Henry and Joe Swift take down a Langley Stampeders player late in their game at McAdam Park last Sunday afternoon. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Midget Bulldogs defenders Stirling Henry and Joe Swift take down a Langley Stampeders player late in their game at McAdam Park last Sunday afternoon. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)

Split weekend for Cowichan Bulldogs teams

Bantams and peewees win, midgets and junior bantams lose

After the Cowichan Bulldogs football teams swept their season openers the previous week, it was a split result last weekend as the bantam and peewee squads played to wins and the midget and junior bantam teams suffered their first losses.

The bantams were the only Cowichan team playing on the road, earning a 33-18 victory over the Raiders in Comox.

“It was a hard fought battle,” bantam coach Opie Williams commented. “Players were getting injured and other players had to step up and fill new positions. Defence was on the field for most of the game.”

The Bulldogs had only six offensive series; four resulted in touchdowns and the other two ended with fumbles in the red zone.

Max Lang scored Cowichan’s first touchdown after runs by Ryder Maertz and Aiden Jeffries got the Bulldogs to the five yard line. Comox scored on their next offensive series, then tried a short kick that was caught by Isaac Keepence. Brad MacRae broke away for a 55-yard touchdown run on the next play. The Raiders replied with another major of their own, but Lang returned the kickoff for a touchdown and the Bulldogs took a 20-12 lead into halftime.

The Raiders were putting pressure on the Bulldogs late in the third, but a defensive stand got the ball back into Cowichan’s hands, and Lang scampered from the Cowichan 25-yard line for his third touchdown of the afternoon. Maertz scored on a 100-yard run in the fourth before the Raiders added one more late score.

The peewee Bulldogs shut down the Saanich Wolverines for a 12-0 win at McAdam Park last Saturday morning.

The Cowichan offensive line opened up big holes for their backs, and Mica Kendrick stepped in to lead the offence after quarterback Gus Steeves was lost to injury. Running back Brolin Hastings had some huge runs, including his first touchdown. On defence, the Bulldogs got key tackles from linebackers Rhys McKelvie and Landen Laver.

“We forced a few fumbles, and created turnovers that put the offence in great field position,” peewee coach Trystan Ryder commented.

The midget Bulldogs played to a tough 8-3 loss to the Langley Stampeders at McAdam Park.

“To say it was a defensive game is a bit of an understatement,” head coach PJ Shea said.

Neither team was able to move the ball, and the only touchdown of the day was scored on a pick-six. The Cowichan offence was unable to get in sync.

“Every once in a while, a game comes along that is more a learning opportunity than anything else,” Shea said. “This was one of those games. This game will be used as motivation, and as a reset, for our offence moving forward”.

The Cowichan defence was dominant, shutting down Langley’s formidable running game.

“We are very lucky to have some of the most talented defenders in the province on this team,” Shea said. “If our defence can keep it close, then when our young offence starts to click, we are going to be an extremely dangerous team. We have the potential, it just has to be realized.”

The junior bantams were able to keep things close against Comox at McAdam Park on Saturday, but a touchdown on the final play made it 13-6 in the visitors’ favour.

Both teams set the tone on defence early on, but a rare miscue from the Bulldogs led to a 55-yard touchdown run by the Raiders at the end of the first quarter.

Cowichan’s passing game picked up the slack from a bruised running game, with quarterback Cruiz Heemskerk and tight end Maxim Magnan connecting for several first downs. As the game went on the team ran into injury trouble, with several players having to step into unfamiliar roles. Among them was Kaden Backman, who stood out on defence for the second week in a row, then took over at QB after Heemskerk went down.

On one play, Backman took the Bulldogs from their own 40-yard line to the Raiders’ 10, but Cowichan ended up losing possession one yard short of the Comox goal line. The Raider’s subsequent drive ended when Cowichan defensive lineman James Charlie Modeste recovered a fumble, and that turnover led to Josh Thompson scoring the Bulldogs’ lone touchdown of the day.

Defensive ends Andrew Bahen and Denver Wheeler wreaked havoc throughout the game, with two sacks apiece.

“This team is one of the most driven groups of players I have seen in a long time,” junior bantam coach Justin Young commented. “I take pride in helping them push themselves and each week I watch them accomplish even greater things. This coming week we play Westshore in Victoria and I know my boys are ready to put the taste of this loss out of there mouths and fight for another win.”

The peewees will also visit Westshore this Saturday, while the midgets take on the Victoria Spartans on Sunday night. The bantam Bulldogs are the lone team at home this weekend, hosting Meadow Ridge at noon on Sunday.