What the community surrounding Western has been missing in terms of football, the Bellingham Bulldogs deliver clad in black and gold and accompanied by a mass of passionate fans.
Rabid fan support wasn’t enough to spur the Bulldogs on to victory however, dropping a 32-0 contest to the South Lane County Buzzards.
The Bulldogs kicked off their third game of the season following a two-game winning streak, most recently beating the Southern Oregon Renegades 35-0.
As over 50 Bellingham players took the field to warm up against the Buzzards on Saturday, May 2, during a home game at Civic Stadium, an enthusiastic crowd of all ages took to the seats.
Accompanied by a high energy environment, the Bellingham Bulldogs’ cheer squad rallied the fans in a very family friendly atmosphere, with many children running along the sidelines and even joining the cheerleaders in a few of the initial dance routines.
The game began following the starting whistle, with the Bulldogs’ strong defense already minimizing the field on Buzzards offense and forcing an incomplete pass. As the crowd began to get louder, the Bulldogs’ defense stepped up again and intercepted a pass by the Buzzards’ defense and signaled a turn over.
After a few scuffles and a flurry of false starts, the Bellingham Bulldogs finally settled into a rhythm and made steady gains up the field.
However, after failing to convert on fourth down, the Buzzards’ offense rallied quickly and scored the first touchdown of the game. A failed point after touchdown put the Buzzards lead at 6-0.
This early score did not deter the Bulldogs’ defense, who came out aggressively after the kick initiating the start of play. As the Bulldogs’ line kept steady pressure on the Buzzards’ quarterback, the cheerleaders kept the crowd energetic with a variety of cheers and invited the crowd to make noise for the defensive line up.
After several incomplete passes by the Buzzards thanks to the diligent Bulldogs’ defense, the Bulldogs’ neared the end the second quarter trailing by 13.
Following many back and forth fumbles and incomplete passes, the Buzzards’ offense couldn’t be slowed as they scored another touchdown with a two-point conversion, leaving the score 21-0.
The half came to an exciting close after an interception on the 11-yard-line, bringing a particularly aggressive drive from the Buzzards’ offense to an end.
Halftime brought with it an emotional moment. The head coach of the Bellingham Bulldogs, Brian Young, took over the microphone as both home and away teams took a knee. Young then progressed with a heartfelt ceremony of retiring the jerseys numbers 5 for Sean Hicks and 45 for Steve Faoro, two Bellingham football players and residents who passed away earlier this year.
Respect and compassion encompassed the stadium as the families of these players took the jerseys which had been framed and signed by every player and gave their appreciation to the coaching staff, program and fellow players.
The second half didn’t turn out any better for the Bulldogs. They had trouble moving the football and sustaining drives, and the Buzzards’defense held strong throughout.
In a bustle of incomplete passes and offensive drives, the game drew to a close with the final score of 32-0 in favor of the Buzzards.
Even though the Bellingham Bulldogs suffered a tough first loss of the season, the home team of Bellingham produced strong and consistent lines of both defense and offense in front of an enthusiastic crowd and still earned an impressive 2-1 record in their early 2015 season.
While the competitive players of the Bulldogs are obviously and openly disappointed in the loss, the support and pride of the crowd rarely faltered after almost three hours of hard play.
The Bellingham Bulldogs are sponsored by many local businesses, including Alright Recycling, County Financial and Banner Bank, and the community spirit is obvious amongst the crowds of passionate families and friends.
The next home game will be played on Saturday, May 16, against the Seattle Stallions at Civic Stadium.