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Bulldogs in a stage of rapid development
All three Cowichan Valley Football Association teams will be anxious to start the home portion of the Greater Victoria Minor Football Association's spring season on April 26.
Games are at 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2:15 p.m. against Peninsula at McAdam Park.
The Cowichan Atom Bulldogs met a strong Westshore Warriors team last weekend and did a great job applying what's being coached in practice despite being outscored.
The primarily veteran Warriors put up points early, but met some resistance from rookie linebacker Hunter Williams. The Bulldogs put a halt to the Warriors' advances in the second half, with newcomers Zack Pearson and Koda Lang laying out some huge tackles in the backfield.
Kicker and running back Jack Napier-Ganley caught the Warriors unprepared with some big boots of the ball that set the Bulldogs up in great field position.
"Everything is starting to come together and when it does the Bulldogs will be a force to be reckoned with,'' noted coach Devon Lawrence.
The team's season-opener the previous weekend was against the Gordon Head Raiders, who proved to be stiff opposition.
"Even though the atoms were not able to put any points on the board, they all walked off the field with heads held high,'' noted Lawrence.
Veteran linemen Harrison Padur and Trevor Eccleston put up some huge blocks for the Bulldogs, opening up holes for the running game. Defensive linemen Parker Sparks and Williams ensured attempts up the middle were stopped, supported by Luke Larminay.
The Peewee Bulldogs, meanwhile, won 16-0 in their game last weekend.
Damian McCuaig-Jones scored the first touchdown in the second quarter on a 35-yard run. A 30-yard passing play from quarterback Dakota Cullum to Tyson Duffe set up the scoring play.
McCuaig-Jones scored again in the third quarter. Both TDs were converted by Cullum.
Billy Bickford and Liam Henning were strong on the offensive line, providing pass protection throughout the game.
McCuaig-Jones and Alexander Van Ryk led the defence with hard-hitting tackles.
Carson Maertz played quarterback in the fourth quarter, completing passes, picking up first downs and killing the clock.
"Great improvement in all areas through their dedication and hard work at practice,'' coach Brian Scott said was shown by the players.
The previous week's game for the peewees was a 12-0 loss to Gordon Head.
Gordon Head scored on the last play of the first half and added another TD early in the fourth quarter.
McCuaig-Jones seemed to be in on every tackle for the Bulldogs at linebacker.
In pre-atom action, Cowichan was without seven regulars for a game against the Westshore Warriors last weekend.
Jeevan Nijjar reeled in a couple of nice passes from Jaxson Jones while Ethan Bell and Thoran Koyote ran for TDs but the Bulldogs fell a few short of the bigger Westshore team.
Evan Mayer made some great open-field tackles on defence. Parker Lawrence shut down the middle of the field and Nico Harris recovered a fumble and made some hard-hitting tackles.
"The boys are loving the game and I have some very motivated players,'' noted coach Ted Harris.
The team let a 7-6 halftime lead slip away the previous week in a loss to the Gordon Head Raiders.
Jones ran for a TD and converted it that had the Bulldogs on top.
Running back Treyton McCuaig-Jones had a big game with several fine rushes.
The Raiders scored two more TDs in the second half against the mainly rookie Bulldogs' squad. "We did really well considering the amount of rookie players on our team,'' noted Harris.
"Every week is a new learning experience for most of my players. I am very proud of how my players are developing. They work hard and give it their best.''