B.C. High School Football’s top ranked passer the past two seasons is taking his talents across the Rockies and two of his favourite targets are joining him.
After attracting interesting from football and lacrosse programs on both sides of the border, multisport standout Ben McDonald has opted to continue his gridiron career with the defending national champion University of Calgary Dinosaurs. He will be re-united with his brother Grant who was an all-star linebacker last season while older brother Jack capped his five-year career as a Dino last spring.
Ben was pursued by several USport schools and narrowed his football choices down to Western and Calgary. He also weighed lacrosse offers from Ohio State University and Stoney Brook in New York.
“I liked football better than lacrosse,” said Ben who led the B.C. Junior “A” Tier Two Lacrosse League in scoring last campaign with the Delta Islanders. “I like the offensive structure at Calgary as well as the players and coaches there. My brothers like it.”
McDonald threw for 27 touchdowns and over 1,500 yards in eight games before suffering a season-ending collar-bone injury. The Sun Devils were ranked No. 1 in the province at the time.
“We are super excited about Ben joining us. He comes from a great lineage of players in his family, starting with his father Bruce down to his brothers,” said Calgary head coach Wayne Harris. “Ben has the potential to be a great player for us with his athleticism and strong leadership skills.”
While the U Sports football season has been cancelled due to COVID-19 McDonald will still be attending classes in Calgary and won’t have to look far to find a couple of targets for potential throwing workouts. Evan Patterson and Ethan Troniak have also signed with Calgary.
Both also thrived on the rugby pitch, helping South Delta win its first-ever provincial championship in 2018 as aged up Grade 10 players. They added bronze medal a year later.
Paterson had a terrific Grade 12 year on the football field with a province best 13 touchdown catches.
“It was a decision to play rugby or football for me,” said Paterson, who was heavily recruited by the UVic rugby program and also had football interest from McMaster, Western and UBC. “Being able to get a scholarship for football definitely helped in the decision.
“All the South Delta guys like it there. I like the team atmosphere the presents with the program and it is a good school.”
Troniak hauled in six touchdown passes last season and has been teammates with McDonald since Grade 8 when both played for the South Delta Rams community program.
“Calgary is a successful program. I heard great things from the current South Delta players there,” said Troniak.
“Ethan has great size and speed and has the potential to become another outstanding receiver in the Dinos arsenal,” added Calgary offensive coordinator Pat Sheahan.
The Dinos’ roster features two other SDSS grads: linebacker Charlie Moore and defensive back Jacob Kirk.