Canada jumped out to a 10-0 first half lead it would never relinquish and went on to stun top-seeded United States 23-17 to capture the gold medal at the International Federation of American Football Under-19 Championship.
The York University Lions football team was proudly represented by head coach Warren Craney (left), who served as the defensive coordinator for Canada, while York’s offensive coordinator, Michael Faulds (below), was Canada’s quarterbacks coach.
“We had one goal and one goal only in mind, and that was to come back with a gold medal around our neck,” said Canada head coach Noel Thorpe after his nation’s victory in Burger Stadium in Austin, Texas, Saturday night. “These guys believed in it and they played 48 minutes of solid football. I couldn’t be prouder of these guys.
Louis-Philippe Simoneau, who opened the scoring with a 21-yard field goal, gave Canada a 3-0 lead late in the first quarter. The score was set up by an interception by Canada MVP Kevin McGee, who ended the night with two picks and five tackles, and gave Team Canada the ball at the US 40-yard line. The big play on the drive was a 22-yard pass from Will Finch to Doug Corby down to the US 7-yard line.
The interception was the first turnover by the US in six games of IFAF U19 Championship competition. The 3-0 lead also marked the first time the US trailed in two championship tournament appearances.
Canada upped the lead to 16-7 on the opening series of the third quarter as Finch moved the Canadians 81 yards on five plays with Christopher Amoah taking a screen pass and rumbling 26 yards for the score. A bad snap on the PAT left the lead at nine.
Canada extended the lead with a 64-yard drive midway through the fourth quarter, upping the score to 23-14 with 5:10 left in the game on a 10-yard run by Mercer Timmis.
“I think we did what we wanted to do running the football,” said Canada’s coach Thorpe. “We established ourselves at the line of scrimmage and they did a heck of a job – and our running backs as well. Our quarterbacks did a good job managing the football game and also running with the football.
“It’s exactly what we thought it would be. We had to control the tempo of the football game and we knew it had to happen up front with the offensive line and that was our game plan going into the tournament and we kept with it all the way through.”
The win marked Craney and Faulds’ second significant international victory this year, as they were also on the coaching staff helping Team World beat the US in the International Bowl in February. Lions defensive back Marcus Grandison also represented the Lions on Team World, as they beat the United States for the first time in International Bowl history.
With files from IFAF