South Delta Sun Devils’ provincial football title aspirations went up in smoke in just over 60 seconds.
Leading 12-0 in the second quarter of Saturday’s “AAA” quarter-final tilt at B.C. Place Stadium against unbeaten Vancouver College, the game plan was unfolding to near perfection.
The defence produced a pair of early turnovers which the high-octane pass-oriented offence turned into unconverted touchdowns.
The Sun Devils were poised to get the ball back again, forcing the Irish into a third and 10 situation from their own 25-yard-line.
That’s when the game’s storyline changed for good.
VC not only moved the yardsticks but another deep pass completion set up a 14-yard touchdown run by Basil Schincariol. It was on that play Sun Devils’ conference all-star quarterback Ben McDonald suffered a broken thumb on his throwing hand while playing defensive back.
The Grade 11 standout bravely tried to continued but he was intercepted on the ensuing series by VC linebacker Matt Hoag for a 41-yard major.
The sudden onslaught continued when running back Andrew Kraft was stripped of the ball while trying to drag tacklers. It was recovered by Chris Kongo who went 16-yards for another defensive touchdown.
It was the Irish’s third major in just 67 seconds..
The sudden 21-12 deficit was essentially insurmountable with McDonald’s inability to throw the ball and everyone on the South Delta sidelines knew it.
VC would cruise to a 44-12 victory — a far cry from the 35-34 thriller a month earlier at O’Hagen Field.
Offensive coordinator Mark McDonald’s masterful scheme, which often features five receiver sets, is built around Ben’s ability as a running and throwing threat out of the pocket. It resulted in South Delta having the province’s top rated passing attack.
However, it doesn’t take much to expose the program’s razor thin depth in key areas and that’s what happened Saturday.
Back-up quarterback and starting receiver Ethan Troniak is used almost exclusively for “wildcat” formations. He took a few snaps, as did McDonald and Grade 10 Hunter Norman but VC was no longer concerned about the Sun Devils’ passing game and just loaded up the box to shutdown the run for the remainder of the afternoon.
VC goes on to play Mt. Doug in the semi-finals next weekend while the Sun Devils will bring several key players back in 2019 and hope injuries don’t get in the way of their dream again.