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After almost two years away, all four of the Cowichan Bulldogs opened the fall season with road wins last weekend.

Despite having the youngest roster in the Vancouver Mainland Football League, the Midget Bulldogs faced defending provincial champion Victoria Spartans to win a dominant 39-0 victory.

The Bulldogs entered the field without a single returning Midget or 18-year-old senior, while the Spartans had 14 seniors, but age and experience were no match for chemistry.

“In Cowichan’s favor is the fact that the majority of the group have played and enjoyed significant success together for several years,” said Bulldogs head coach PJ Shea. “The age and experience gap was quickly closed by the Bulldogs, who dominated all three sides of the game.”

The Spartans only passed their own 20-yard line twice in the entire game as the Bulldogs’ defense dominated the line of scrimmage, leading to interceptions by Gregor MacKenzie, Finn Shea and Trey McCuaig-Jones.

Cowichan’s offense was patient and efficient, keeping the Spartans close to quarterback Ben Wilson, who controlled the tempo, scoring a pair of touchdowns himself and transferring the ball to MacKenzie and Stirling Henry for others. scores. Henry also ran a 111-yard kickoff for another touchdown.

“We have a young team, but we have a lot of talent,” said Shea. “Our core of veteran athletes is a very special group. Their leadership and commitment created a positive, aggressive and competitive environment. The new, younger players fed on it and really bought into the program. This team is one of the most tight-knit that we have had the privilege to train. They respect, are proud of what they are becoming and focus on what they want to accomplish ”.

The Bantam Bulldogs traveled to Nanaimo where they beat the Seahawks 42-12.

The Seahawks got the first touchdown of the game, but Parker Bertrand managed to block the convert. Huge runs from Aiden Jeffries and Max Lang and blocks from Sebastian Tait, Isaac Keepence and Eamon Manley set up a Ryder Maertz touchdown to tie the score, and Landon Locke’s extra point gave the advantage to the Bulldogs. The Seahawks scored another major before the end of the first half, but missed the two-point conversion attempt, and the Cowichan defense pulled things off after that.

Kolten Crook picked up a fumble, Jaeden Williams saved a touchdown with a tackle, and the defense also got big plays from Connor Harper, Lucas Laver and Brad MacRae.

Maertz and Jordan Buscaino finished the game with two touchdowns apiece, and MacRae also scored in the match’s penultimate play.

The Junior Roosters also traveled to Victoria where they defeated the Spartans 20-12 in a wet and hard-fought battle.

“It was amazing to see the boys’ hard work pay off,” said head coach Justin Young.

Denver Wheeler was a warrior in the back, making blocks that opened up a lot of room for the running game, as Josh Thomson ran for two touchdowns and over 150 yards. Defensive highlights included Peter Elliot, who delivered the heaviest punches of the day, Kaden Backman, who had a backpack and an interception that led to the winning touchdown, and Gabe White, who led the team. with three bags and several key tackles. .

The Peewee Bulldogs faced the Spartans in Victoria, scoring a 21-13 victory.

The Spartans capitalized on some early mistakes and took a six-point lead early on, but first-year quarterback Gus Steeves took control and walked the Bulldogs down the field to take the lead on a converted touchdown. . Steeves, Aylin Canning and Mica Kendrick all scored touchdowns for Cowichan.

The Bulldogs’ defense played a solid game, evidenced by a save on their own five-yard line late in the second quarter that the offense was able to turn into a touchdown. Linebacker Landen Laver led the way in defense, while Canning and Atlas Ryder also made key tackles.

On special teams, kick returner Brayden Hagel returned a 68-yard punt at Victoria’s two-yard line.

“We are all very impressed with the hard work and dedication of this group,” said head coach Trystan Ryder. “We are a young and fast team. It will be an exciting season of peewee football.

The Cowichan Peewees and Junior Bantams play at home this Saturday at 10 a.m. and noon, respectively, while the Midgets are at home Sunday at 2 p.m. Bantams visit Comox on Sunday.

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