The Bellerose Bulldogs roared to victory with 19 unanswered points with under six minutes to play in Thursday’s home opener against the Salisbury Sabres.
The 26-8 decision also marked the first win of the Carr conference division one season after the Bulldogs took it on the chin 45-1 against the reigning champion Bev Facey Falcons last week in Sherwood Park.
“This was a gritty effort from our team,” said head coach Chad Hill. “We’re young and small in size and roster but we played with determination and improved as the game progressed.”
The Sabres (0-2) grabbed the lead in the third quarter by recovering their short punt and the touchdown drive was extended by penalties.
The Bulldogs cued the comeback in the last quarter as Colton Meronyk started piling up the yards on the ground and the defence buckled down.
Quade Kozak scored two TDs from the one with quarterback sneaks and late in the game Jacob Turpin picked off his second pass of the season to set up first and goal and Meronyk closed out the scoring with a two-yard leap and flip into the endzone. The Grade 12 Bulldog shook off the hard hit after the play with 38 seconds remaining.
Travis Heggart, a Grade 10 outside linebacker and slotback, recovered a fumble to put the Bulldogs at first and goal for Kozak’s second TD with 1:35 to go. Kozak, a Grade 11 Bulldog, was the junior team’s MVP during its undefeated 2015 metro Edmonton division one championship, the fourth in a row for Bellerose while going 29-0 in league and playoffs combined over that span.
The first half was a sloppy affair for the Bulldogs but their big play was Ben VanLeeuwen’s blocked punt for a TD with 3:56 to go in the second quarter and the conversion made it 7-1.
It was 1-0 Salisbury after the first quarter.
The Bulldogs huddle up this Friday against the Harry Ainlay Titans at 7:30 p.m. at Foote Field.
Ainlay defeated the Spruce Grove Panthers 20-8 last week and Friday’s score against the Jasper Place Rebels was unavailable at press time.
Facey (2-0), Ainlay (1-0) and the Rebels (1-0) are ranked second, fourth and 10th, respectively, in Tier I provincially.
The Capital District Minor Football Association bantam regular season kicks off this weekend for the Fury and 49ers of St. Albert.
The junior varsity Fury host the Spruce Grove Cougars today at noon at Riel Recreation Park and the senior varsity 49ers visit the Sherwood Park Wolverines at 3 p.m. Sunday at Emerald Hills Field.
The Fury and 49ers play seven games apiece in the combined 12-team Tier I, II and III division, including the Sept. 24 St. Albert showdown at 12:30 p.m.
The team schedules are listed in Scoreboard on page 38.
The St. Albert Colts travel to Wetaskiwin today to tackle the host Wildcats in the peewee Fryer division opener in the Capital District Minor Football Association.
Game time is 10 a.m.
The junior varsity Colts play three games away and three games at Riel Recreation Park against the Wildcats, Sherwood Park SabreCats and Camrose Buffalos in the Fryer schedule.
The Colts are back on their home turf Sept. 17 against the SabreCats at 3 p.m.
Sunday the St. Albert Riders are in Sherwood Park for exhibition action against the Bulldogs at 5:45 p.m. at Emerald Hills Field.
The regular season dates and times for the senior varsity Riders were unavailable at press time.