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Sun Devils head to Victoria to open conference play

South Delta closes out exhibition play with home field loss to Terry Fox

It wasn’t exactly the momentum-building performance the South Delta Sun Devils were hoping for as they get set to jump into the teeth of their conference schedule, starting Friday in the provincial capital.

The Sun Devils closed out exhibition play with a 21-7 loss to the Terry Fox Ravens in front of a good size crowd on a sunny Saturday in Tsawwassen.

South Delta now turns to its regular season schedule, starting with the No. 2 ranked Mt. Doug Rams at Royal Athletic Park.

“They probably have five guys that are 6-foot-4 or taller and all are around 300 pounds,” said Sun Devils head coach Ray Moon of the Vancouver Island powerhouse. “We are going to be dealing with a lot of size.”

Moon was hoping his team would be heading to Victoria with a second straight solid performance under its belt after a 34-13 win a week earlier over South Kamloops in the season opener. Instead, the Ravens scored on the game’s opening possession and had their way with the hosts for much of the afternoon thanks to a balanced attack that produced more than 300 yards in total offence.

Quarterback Owen Sieben attacked the Sun Devils’ perimeter with a pair of touchdown strikes while Alex Gagnon added another 100 yards on the ground and had the other major.

A one-yard quarterback sneak from Kenny Scott gave the hosts some hope but they struggled to extend drives while the Ravens dominated the time of possession. South Delta had just one offensive series the entire fourth quarter.

“Some of our key players had really poor games,” said Moon. “It’s one thing losing your footing but you have to be in a position where you don’t have to rely on stuff like that. It was something we worked on this week at practice. We knew they had speed and, if they got an edge on us, that we would be in trouble.

“On special teams we weren’t blocking, offensively we weren’t maintaining our blocks, our running backs were running too high and receivers weren’t catching. It would be a much shorter list if you asked me what we did right today.

“Maybe they were a little full of themselves after a nice victory last week after a year-and-a-half off. This might be the slap in the face that wakes them up.”

It was only week two but South Delta’s limited roster was already apparent.

Standout running back Jesse Mitran, who rushed for 173-yards against South Kamloops, didn’t take an offensive snap in the first half. Instead, he played exclusively at linebacker as one of several two-way starters.

“He was a little bit nicked and we were saving him too,” admitted Moon. “We do have two other running backs although one of them is still learning the game.”

That happens to be Joshua Cloete who moved to the area with his family from South Africa earlier this year. The 6-foot-1 224-pound senior has a rugby background and his athleticism has already earned him a starting spot on defence.

The Devils’ roster has also been bolstered by a trio of international students from Mexico, Great Britain and Germany. None have played American football before.