By John DeCoste
The Valley atom Bulldogs continued an outstanding season with a 20-12 win over Timberlea in their regular season finale Oct. 23 in Burnside.
Head coach Kevin Hayes said he and his team had expected Timberlea to be one of their toughest opponents this season, “and they proved to be that and more.”
The Bulldogs opened the scoring when Jayden Simmonds returned a kickoff for a touchdown and Kaleb Winter added the convert.
Timberlea quickly returned the favour, scoring the first touchdown allowed by the Bulldogs’ defense since Sept. 10.
The remaining scoring was an exchange of touchdowns, two by Valley, both scored by Micah McDowell, and one by Timberlea. It was a change from recent action where the Bulldogs shut out the previous five teams.
“With our recent easy wins our defense couldn’t help but be a little complacent early on,” Hayes admitted. “We needed this type of close game to give us a jolt and remind us of what it takes to win the game.”
The defense, which bent in the first half, “adjusted and became rigid in the second, stopping what was sent their way.”
John Van Luxemborg had a breakout game at defensive end, recording several tackles for losses and sacks.
The linebacker corps of Chris Caldwell, Kyle Woodworth and Maurick Parsons had a strong second half, as did the secondary led by Winter who had a number of key tackles.
The atoms had last weekend off as the regular season came to an end. They will host a playoff game in Canning on the Nov. 5-6 weekend but it had not been scheduled at press time.
The bantam Bulldogs lost 24-0 to Bedford. It was the second consecutive loss after opening the season with six straight wins.
“The defense played well, but we had too many turnovers to overcome,” said head coach Reg Ogilvie.
Among those playing well on defense were linebacker Noah Graves and defensive back Mackenzie Carr.
“The level of competition has increased significantly, and as a team, we need to face this new level of challenge and play better on the offensive side of the ball,” Ogilvie said. “We have had a great regular season, and now must prepare for a different level of football going forward.”
The Nova Scotia Minor Football Association has changed the playoff format this year, so the bantams were unsure at press time when they would host a playoff game, and who their opponent would be.
The peewee Bulldogs had their scheduled Oct. 21 game against Halifax Wanderers cancelled because of the weather and unplayable field conditions at the Wanderer’s Grounds.
Head coach David Ross confirmed the game likely would not be made up at.
The peewees finished the season with a 4-3 record, and depending on the rest of the games last week, could end up anywhere from third to sixth in the standings.
“We should make the playoffs,” Ross said, “but I’m not sure right now whether it will be tier 1 or tier 2.”