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Tempe Old Devils move on to Fiesta 7s State Championship

Updated: Aug 25, 2023

Fiesta 7’s has been a true showcase for teams representing the state of Arizona. Ranging from teams like the Tuscon Magpies, Phoenix Storm, Scottsdale Blues, and even teams made up of college students like the Chupacabras, and Dingos. The team who has truly shined the most throughout these tournaments has been the Tempe Old Devils. A team with history and love for the game.

This summer has been an eventful one for the Old Devils. Coach Brandon Thompson (BT) wanted the team to build on trusting one another and to grow as a club. Coach BT nominated Benny Ruffalo, a former Arizona State University player, and fellow ASU teammate Cameron Lugo, as captains to help lead the team during their Tuesday and Thursday practices, as well as games. Both players took great pride in doing so due to their love and passion for playing the beautiful game.

Coming off winning the Whiskey Row 7’s up in Prescott, Arizona, the Old Devils wanted to solidify a spot in the state championship finals. Having yet to lose, they had a lot of eyes on them and lots of fans wondering how they would perform in their own backyard. During the first game against the Phoenix Storm, GCU scrumhalf Wyatt Zolla, who had been training with the Old Devils all summer, opened it up with the opening try (seen below), assisted by Michael Lock who offloaded the ball before being thrown out of bounds. This try ultimately was the motivation needed that got the Old Devils rolling. Captain Cameron Lugo also scored in the first half which was assisted by Noah Trotter who also performed well during Fiesta 7’s. At the half, Coach BT switched to an entirely new seven, led by Austin Sage. Michael Maafu after breaking his own ankles, scored twice in the second half and even assisted Ray Howell on a try which ultimately allowed the Old Devils to pull ahead and get the victory needed to play against the well-organized Tucson Magpies.

From the start, Tucson Magpies came to play. Coming off a tremendous 15’s season that took them to the D3 National Championship tournament, the Old Devils had their hands full. The Old Devils opened it up with the original starting lineup that played against the Storm. After the opening kickoff, Captain Benny Ruffalo broke the line and offloaded the ball to winger Malachi Knox who scored the opening try within the first minute of the game. However, penalties and turnovers were an issue for the team in the first half, and Tuscon did capitalize on one which brought the game to 7-5 at the half. In the second half, Tim Freet had a spectacular performance, to say the least. Having a 60-meter try (seen below) that was assisted by Austin Sage brought the game to 12-5. Tucson came back with a try of their own that brought the game to 14-12 and it was getting even more competitive as the game went on. Ultimately, winger Danzel Hill’s solo try after a ruck, solidified the Old Devils' win 19-12, allowing them to win the Fiesta 7’s tournament and bring their overall summer record to 11-0.

While the 7’s season for the Old Devils isn’t over just yet, they do have a lot to be proud of especially as they learn to grow as a team and bond more as brothers. Having a lineup consisting of players who recently joined the club and former veterans, they learned to play with each other's strengths and weaknesses, and it might soon lead them to a state championship later on down the line.


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