A tie was better than a loss for the Bellerose Bulldogs in high school junior football.
The Bulldogs are 1-0-1 after clawing back to even the score at 28 against the Harry Ainlay Titans on Tuesday night at Larry Olexiuk Field.
“It’s a good tie because we brought our way back up,” said Jordan Howe, a Grade 10 receiver and defensive back. “We can’t let any numbers go up in the middle section so that means no losses and we’ve got to keep working on that.”
The Bulldogs shook off a 14-point deficit in the third quarter with Howe and quarterback Zach Froese scoring touchdowns and Adam Rafat’s two-point conversion.
“We made a great comeback,” Howe said. “We couldn’t take an L against these guys because our senior team lost pretty bad to them (44-14 in the division one Carr conference) so we had to prove that we can do better.
“We’ve also got to keep our junior streak going.”
The Bulldogs have yet to lose a regular season contest during a 35-1-1 stretch that started in 2012 and included last year’s 27-11 loss to the Jasper Place Rebels in the division one semifinals that ended a run of four junior playoff championships in a row and one short of the metro Edmonton league record.
The Bulldogs got off on the wrong foot while falling behind 21-14 at halftime.
“When we were losing everyone was down but we just had to keep pushing. They had a good running game and we just had to make more tackles and less mental mistakes,” Howe said. “Everyone got a few nice touchdowns and we were able to pull through in the end.”
The team’s first TD was a four-yard run by Froese early in the second quarter and the convert was no good.
With one second left in the half, Howe was on the receiving end of a TD pass from Froese on the five-yard curl into the endzone.
Froese and Ethan Mickleborough also combined on the two-point conversion.
Down 28-14, Howe turned on the jets during a blazing 60-yard catch and run with Froese pulling the trigger and the convert was unsuccessful.
“I just get so amped up when I score a touchdown like that,” Howe said. “I think the smile on my face gets the team hyped up.”
The Bulldogs tied it up with Froese’s quarterback sneak after Howe was stopped short of the goal line and Rafat ran in the two-point conversion on a jet sweep play.
The Bulldogs kicked off the season with a bang by blasting the O’Leary Spartans (0-2) 47-7 before buckling down against a formidable foe in the Titans (1-0-1).
“It was a better game because O’Leary wasn’t as strong as a team as Harry Ainlay so it was good competition. Now we know what we’re facing so we’ve got to come better prepared next time,” said Howe, 15, a bantam product of the St. Albert Fury.
Tuesday the Bulldogs tackle the Austin O’Brien Crusaders (2-0) at 6 p.m. at Larry Olexiuk Field.
The top four finishers in the eight-team division qualify for the division one semifinals and the rest of the teams compete for division two honours.