At the time, the 2014 edition of the Subway Bowl B.C. high school Triple A champion South Delta Sun Devils showed all the signs of being a very unflappable football team.
Of course, with 20/20 hindsight playing in the rearview mirror, a fast-forward to the events of Tuesday night may actually have unfolded without too much surprise.
You know what we’re talking about.
Six-plus seasons ago, the Sun Devils climbed to the top of the B.C. high school football world with a team full of talent, including a Grade 10 middle linebacker named Grant McDonald and a Grade 11 rush end named Charlie Moore.
The pair were often schemed up together, both on the line of scrimmage and within the linebacking unit, and in South Delta’s 55-30 win over Victoria’s Mt. Douglas Rams in that season’s title tilt, South Delta head coach Ray Moon remembers the damage they were able to inflict.
“We’d have Charlie on one side and Grant on the other,” explained Moon of pairing the duo as ends. “They forced everything inside. It was like a meat grinder. And with those two guys at linebacker, anything that spilled out, they could track down. It was a perfect storm type of a deal.”
So of course, after remaining together at linebacker and leading the Calgary Dinos to the Vanier Cup national championship in 2019, the two guys from Tsawwassen were ripe for the next challenge.
Only thing is, to get to where they want to get to next, they’ll likely be going through each other and making it a date to renew acquaintances each and every Labour Day weekend.
That’s because at Tuesday’s CFL Draft, McDonald, the 6-foot-3, 220-pounder wound up as the fifth pick of the second round, 14th overall, by the Edmonton Football Club, while the 6-foot-3, 220-pound Moore was tabbed with the eighth pick of the third round, 26th overall by the Calgary Stampeders.
For his part, McDonald finished his university career the same way he finished his high school career, by winning the highest championship possible, and by doing it as old school as ever.
“I coached against this guy in high school,” remarked TSN draft analyst Farhan Lalji, himself a former Subway Bowl Triple-A title-winning coach at New Westminster Secondary.
“He and Charlie Moore played at South Delta High School in Tsawwassen and won that provincial championship in 2014,” Lalji continued to the network’s national audience following the McDonald selection.
“I’ve coached against a thousand guys,” Lalji told fellow analyst Duane Forde, “and this guy is as physical a player as I’ve ever coached against. He doesn’t just want to hit you. He wants to make sure that you have felt that he’s hit you, that you potentially feel some pain.”
Moon remembered back in 2017, as McDonald was starting his college career at NCAA Div. 1 Maine as a tight end, that the second of three brothers, all destined for careers with the Dinos, was the natural leader that the rest of the team just naturally followed.
“He is the one, who in the offseason, held team meetings,” Moon told Varsity Letters. “He even organized practices when the coaches weren’t available and he helped with weight training. The kids on the team look up to him. They all want to be like Grant. He brings a sense of calm.”
McDonald was speaking Tuesday like he’s ready to don the Edmonton jersey tomorrow and begin his career.
“I had a really good conversation with Edmonton, and I believe that we share a vision for what my career has in store,” he told The Calgary Herald. “I cannot wait to start the real work.”
Said Edmonton GM Brock Sunderland to the Calgary Herald: “Grant plays football the way we think it should be played. We think he will be an impact player on special teams from Day 1 with the ability to play linebacker if we need. And, potentially, we wouldn’t be surprised if he has the talent to develop into a starter. That will play out on the field, but he has all the traits that you’re looking for to become that player at linebacker for us.”
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