Devils off to BC Place for rematch with Irish

South Delta and Vancouver College square off in provincial quarter-finals

Vancouver College Fighting Irish rolled through B.C. High School Football’s Western AAA Conference with a perfect 6-0-0 record and won their games by an average of 29 points. Yet, it was the one team that gave them trouble standing in their way on Saturday afternoon.

The Irish held off the South Delta Sun Devils for a wild 35-34 home field win last month. Now the teams meet again in an intriguing provincial “AAA” quarter-final match-up that will be played in ideal conditions at B.C. Place Stadium.

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South Delta opened the playoffs with a convincing 45-22 victory over the Mission Roadrunners last week while the Irish enjoyed a bye for their first place finish.

The Sun Devils finished fifth in the Western Conference with a 4-3-0 record but have one of the province’s best quarterbacks in Ben McDonald. The Grade 11 standout threw for 245-yards and two touchdowns while scampering for another 95 and three more scores on that memorable afternoon at O’Hagen Field.

VC went on to roll past New West (42-0), Handsworth (42-0) and Notre Dame (41-14) to close out its regular season schedule while the Sun Devils rebounded from a 1-3-0 start to lock down a playoff spot with three straight wins.

“They have proven they are ‘the’ team this season and are supposed to win on Saturday. We are just going to go out and have fun. Do what we do and leave it all on the field,” said Ray Moon who is more than comfortable with his team being in the underdog role.

At the same time, the veteran Sun Devils head coach knows his team will have its hands full, especially dealing with VC’s interior lines that feature two conference all-stars on each side of the ball. It’s the play up front that has led to big seasons for running backs Daesaun Johnson and Basil Schincariol. Johnson scored three touchdowns in the initial meeting.

“They are big. Probably average about 6-foot-4, 260 or 270 pounds and there are eight or nine of them too,” continued Moon. “They run about 70 percent of the time but they can be dangerous throwing the ball, especially when you are concentrating on stopping the run. That’s when they can throw a couple of surprises at you.

“Ball control would be perfect for us as it would keep them off the field but we have always been a quick strike offence. What we are hoping for is our passing game opening up the running game. Andrew (Kraft) ran for 145 yards against Mission and we were able to control the clock a bit. Whomever controls the line of scrimmage gets the game.”

Each team scored five touchdowns in the first game. The difference was the Sun Devils converting just a pair of two-point convert attempts, while the Irish kicked three and added a two-pointer of their own.

South Delta has been working on kicking converts since then but its game plan won’t change.

“We are going to keep going for twos. It can put pressure on them. Do we have something different (planned)? Maybe,” laughed Moon.

Kickoff at B.C. Place Stadium on Saturday is 2:30 p.m.

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