Bitter battles brew for Bulldogs
It’s getting down to crunch time in the Vancouver Mainland Football League for the Cowichan Midget and Bantam Bulldogs.
The midgets went to Vancouver Sunday and scored a key 11-0 victory over the Trojans to improve their season record to 6-3.
“It should have been a lot more,’’ noted Cowichan coach Doug (Opie) Williams of the score. “We could not capitalize when we were in the red zone. We moved the ball well, controlled it for most of the game — just couldn’t put the ball in the end zone.’’
Cowichan made its first trip to the red zone in the second quarter, but the ball popped out on Wyatt MacWatt and Vancouver recovered.
The Bulldogs took another trip to the red zone late in the first half. Special teams put pressure on Vancouver and forced a bad snap, turning the ball over on its own 30-yard line.
Blake Torok-Both made a great run to get the ball down to the eight. But the ball was slightly overthrown on the next play and Vancouver intercepted to keep the game scoreless at the half.
“We came out strong in the start of the third, marching the ball again,’’ pointed out Williams.
Torok-Both’s back-to-back runs took the ball down to the six and a quarterback sneak got it to the two.
But the Bulldogs eventually had to settle for a Brendan Gowanlock field goal.
The fourth time to the red zone was stopped at the 10 and Cowichan missed a field goal.
The Bulldogs finally hit touchdown paydirt late in the game on an 11-yard dive by MacWatt.
The defence played a strong game to make the shutout possible, with interceptions by Cory Lewis and Niko Ceska.
Ceska also made a great play by forcing a fumble, recovered by Riley Caljouw, after a big catch-and-run by Vancouver.
“We were short seven players on defence and a lot of players stepped up,’’ noted Williams.
Torok-Both finished with 230 yards rushing and MacWatt added 45. Gowanlock compiled stats of three-for-six passing, 26 yards rushing and an interception.
Winless Richmond forfeited its game against the Bulldogs this weekend. That leaves one game on the regular-season schedule, Nov. 4 at home against undefeated White Rock-South Surrey Titans.
The Bantam Bulldogs were on the road against the Victoria Spartans and lost 20-6 in a hard-hitting game. The result dropped the Bulldogs’ record to 3-5.
Speedy Cowichan quarterback Kain Melchior opened the scoring with a bootleg run to the right that went 80 yards for a TD.
The Spartans answered and then went ahead 14-6 at the half.
In the second half, the Spartans completed the scoring with a safety on a blocked punt, a single and a field goal.
Linebacker Mitch Hinton played aggressive football and cornerback Grant Lutters provided great coverage.
The offensive line was tested with a large blitzing linebacker crew, but did an amazing job.
The second half was highlighted by the great hands of receiver Eddy Walt. On defence, Morgan Pasternak excelled at safety and Karl Mattison was instrumental at linebacker in stopping the Spartans’ tough middle run.
Cowichan also relied on its own middle running from tough guy Alex Hedley.
The Bulldogs head to Nanaimo for a battle with the Redmen this weekend and then finish the regular season at home against the South Delta Rams Nov. 4.