The South Delta Sun Devils take plenty of momentum into the B.C. High School Football playoffs that start Friday with a “home” game in Langley.
The province’s sixth ranked team takes on the Lord Tweedsmuir Panthers at 1:30 p.m. at McLeod Stadium. Thanks to their third place finish in the ultra-competitive Western Division, the Sun Devils earned home field advantage in the opening round. However, the game must be played on field turf and there no city parks with the playing surface that are designated for football.
The team has at least been able to practice for the second straight week at nearby Winskill Park’s turf field. The Seaquam Seahawks are also playing their “home” playoff game on Friday at Cloverdale Athletic Park. They typically play out of John Oliver Park on natural grass.
“We have been told our field is the worst of all the ‘AAA’ teams and we are the only municipality that doesn’t have a turf field for football,” explained longtime South Delta head coach Ray Moon. “We are able to use Winskill for practices but they won’t let us put down any temporary lines or even turf tape.”
Searching Metro Vancouver parks for field times is fortunately one of Moon’s few concerns as his team rolls into the playoffs on a three-game win streak.
After a thrilling late field goal win over Mt Doug, the Sun Devils came through with a huge 10-7 road win over Notre Dame on Oct. 28 thanks to a game-saving interception at the one-yard-line by senior Kenny Scott. The run then continued last Friday in Victoria with a 32-14 win over Belmont.
South Delta’s two league losses were to No. 1 Vancouver College (7-0) and No. 5 Carson Graham (22-14) and both games went down to the wire. Notre Dame and Mt. Doug are also in the top eight of the rankings meaning the Sun Devils are battle-tested to say the least.
“We feel like things are really starting to come together for us,” Moon continued. “When you look at that Notre Dame game, we were missing a couple of key starters and they are both now back. The kids are starting to believe.”
The Panthers closed out their season with a 26-6 loss to Seaquam to finish fourth in the Central Division. Their other defeats include a competitive 21-14 result late last month against No. 3 St. Thomas More but the Sun Devils should need no motivation given it was the Cloverdale school that bounced them from the playoffs a year ago.
“It’s an opportunity for some payback,” Moon added.