Cowichan Valley Football Association

Tough outings for all three Cowichan Bulldogs teams

Peewee Bulldogs Ryder Maertz (25) and Cody Williams (35) bring down an Oceanside runner during last Sunday’s home game at McAdam Park.— Image Credit: Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen

Peewee Bulldogs Ryder Maertz (25) and Cody Williams (35) bring down an Oceanside runner during last Sunday’s home game at McAdam Park.— Image Credit: Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen

by  Kevin Rothbauer – Cowichan Valley Citizen
Cowichan Valley posted Sep 30, 2016 at 8:00 AM

After a rough start to their road game against the Vancouver Mainland Football League-leading Richmond Raiders last Sunday, the bantam Cowichan Bulldogs outscored their opponents over the last three quarters.

The Bulldogs were down 17-0 after the first quarter, but limited the Raiders to a single touchdown in the remainder of the game and scored a late major of their own to salvage some positives in a 24-8 loss.

The Raiders took advantage of some early miscues and a short punt by the Bulldogs to start their first offensive deep in the Cowichan end, and a couple of plays later it was 7-0. A lack of movement on offence led to further turnovers in unfortunate positions, and the Raiders continued to capitalize.

“We struggled again this week to get any momentum going on offence and put our defence in tough spots,” Cowichan head coach Mike Williams said. “Trailing 17-0 after the first quarter, our defence settled in and only gave up one more score the rest of the way.”

In only his second game of football, linebacker Moses Gilbert led the Cowichan defence with eight tackles. Fellow rookie Aden Nettleton played good tight coverage most of the day and set up the Bulldogs’ only touchdown with a 50-yard interception return.

Although the team scored only one touchdown, the offence did get a boost with the discovery of a new weapon.

“Up until this week, our offensive running game was more straight ahead with Dakota Cullum, but we may have found a new runner with Alex Marinakis,” Williams said.

Marinakis had a huge day returning kicks and at running back, finishing with a combined 165 yards. His 75 rushing yards on 10 carries included sprinting 20 yards for the only touchdown. Backup quarterback Cullum connected with Carson Maertz for the two-point convert.

“Obviously, we still have some fundamentals to work on, but we have some positives to be proud of as well,” William said. “We are making improvements in all areas, now we just need to string them together for some momentum.”

The Bulldogs will head back to Richmond this weekend for a “home” against the Salmon Arm Chargers. After that they have two weeks off due to the Victoria Spartans folding.

Also last Sunday, the junior bantam Bulldogs suffered a tough loss at the hands of the Oceanside Lions.

“The ‘Dogs’ showing was an uncharacteristic display of the tremendous talent that the team possesses,” coach PJ Shea said.

The Cowichan offence was held in check by Oceanside throughout the game, and the defence continued to show signs of brilliance, Shea said, but fell victim to several big plays. Jordan Russell, Jesse Kwasny, Finn Shea, Dillon Wilson and Jaden Strzok showed plenty of grit and toughness, playing every snap of the game.

The peewee Bulldogs also played to a tough loss to Oceanside. The Lions set the tone immediately by returning the opening kickoff for a touchdown, and seemed to have all the bounces going their way.

The Bulldogs’ biggest gain came after some confusion when Matteo Breckenridge was snapping the ball to Ryder Maertz. Breckenridge ended up with the ball and ran up the middle for a first down. The Cowichan defence had a strong second half, putting a stop to the Oceanside running game.

“We have made changes to help address some of the confusion,” head coach Opie Williams said. “Getting back to basics, working on blocking and tackling.”

The peewee and junior bantam Bulldogs will play host to the Ladysmith Steelers this Sunday, the peewees playing at 10 a.m. and the junior bantams at noon.