PORT COQUITLAM — Ask Terry Fox Ravens’ head coach Tom Kudaba for some memorable moments that were part of 2020’s cancelled B.C. high school football season, and one that sticks out was the sight of a then-newcomer to the team’s distanced practice sessions.
“When we saw him last year, we just went ‘Holy cow, this kid is going to be a keeper,” said Kudaba, the former B.C. Lions’ offensive lineman, of a then-Grade 10 prospect named Owen Sieben, “and not only because of his arm strength, but his understanding of the game.”
Fast-forward to the 2021 campaign and what has been a big step towards the return to full normalcy, and that promise at the pivot position being realized on a week-to-week basis for the AAA No. 4-ranked Terry Fox Ravens.
Last week, in the Ravens’ 45-8 road win at the Apple Bowl against the Kelowna Owls, the 6-foot-4, 180 pound Grade 11 Sieben went 15-of-21 for 298 yards and four touchdowns.
All of that adds up to his selection as Varsity Letters’ lone B.C. Secondary Schools Football Association Player of the Week.
On the season, heading into Friday’s Eastern Conference home clash with the Mission Roadrunners at Coquitlam’s Percy Perry Stadium, Sieben has put up the kinds of overall numbers that make him AAA’s most efficient pivot.
Through four games, he is second in both passing yardage (779) and completion percentage (among QBs with at least 20 pass attempts) at 73.2 per cent.
Sieben has thrown 11 touchdown passes against no interceptions in 71 pass attempts, and he has only been sacked one time. He has also rushed for one touchdown.
Terry Fox, unbeaten at 4-0 on the season, is bolstered by a defence which has pitched two shutouts and allowed just 13 points thus far.
Sieben flashed his stuff from day one this season, throwing another four touchdown passes in his team’s 43-0 win over Surrey’s Earl Marriott Mariners.
Since then, he’s also engineered a 21-7 win over South Delta, and a 30-6 win over Lord Tweedsmuir.
“His willingness and his acceptance to listen to coaches has been very evident, as is his understanding of the game,” says Kudaba, who as an ex-interior CFL lineman who pass blocked for Joe Paopao from the late 1970s into the early 80s with the B.C. Lions at old Empire is innately award of the quarterback’s skill set.
“This kid, he practices the game like he plays it, every day through our week of preparation,” Kudaba said Wednesday during film session, before putting down the phone to summon Sieben to answer a few reporter’s questions.
“The first week here, walking down the hallways of Terry Fox, right away you want to be a part of those winning teams,” Sieben said.
“The COVID year was tough for all of us,” added Sieben, still just 16. “But I was proud of the way my teammates fought through it.
For himself, Sieben is happy to see that his sense of his team’s capabilities has manifested in ways which more than suggest their potential to be one of the province’s best teams this season.
“We knew we could be a solid team,” he says, “but to get that validation on the field has been great. We just want to keep building on it.”
And about the personal accomplishment of having already thrown for four touchdowns in a single game twice over the first four games of his varsity career?
“In 2019 I played for the North Langley Bears and I threw seven in one game, “ Sieben says when pressed for a career-high game. “I am looking to get back to that.”
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