2015 International Bowl: U.S. too strong for Canada in U-19 game
Photo credit: Ron Jenkins / USA Football
Football Canada’s Under-19 National Team were unable to overcome an early deficit to Team USA, falling to their hosts by a final score of 35-0 on Saturday afternoon at Maverick Stadium on the campus of the University of Texas-Arlington. Canada won the 2015 International Bowl series three games to two.
Canada stalled the U.S.’s opening drive, forcing an early turnover as pressure by linebacker DANIEL NESBITT (Regina, SK) caused an errant U.S. throw into the hands of defensive back COLE CHRISTIANSON (Androssan, AB).
Canada was unable to take advantage of the early turnover as the U.S. defense stood strong, forcing a 3-and-out.
The U.S. would come alive on their second offensive series, converting a pair of critical forth downs. First facing fourth and 9 at the Canada 31-yard line, quarterback RYAN BOYLE scrambled for a fresh set of downs. Backed up inside their own red zone, Canada’s defense next forced a U.S. forth and 7. Iowa QB commit BOYLE eluded the Canadian pressure, finding Baylor commit DEVONTRE STRICKLIN in the end zone to give Team USA a 7-0 advantage.
A pair of touchdown passes from backup quarterback RILEY NEAL (Ball St. commit) to BEN GLINES (Boston College commit) and JALEN GUYTON (Notre Dame commit) would give Team USA a 21-0 advantage heading into halftime.
Canada did not get off to the quick start they were hoping for in order to neutralize a powerful American squad loaded with prospects headed big time U.S. programs such as USC, Baylor, Oklahoma and Oregon. Despite the outcome, Canada was happy with the effort put forth in Texas.
“I felt that the kids played well, they really battled,” said head coach WARREN CRANEY. “Defensively we did a really good job – I’m really proud of them. Offensively we moved the ball up and down the field but we were just unable to find the end zone.”
“In the end we played against the dream team and I think these kids fought really hard and never gave up.”
Canada continued to battle in the second half. PRENTICE MCKINNEY gave Team USA a 28 point advantage, following a pick-6. Team Canada replied on the proceeding kickoff. KAYDEN JOHNSON (Kerrobert, SK) fielded the kick in the end zone, returning the ball 65-yards to give Canada great field position at the American 35-yard line.
Unable to capitalize on the field position following the return, Canada’s defense continued to battle on the next American offensive possession as TYLER SIEFFERT (Saskatoon, SK) intercepted a U.S. pass.
An interception on the following play by Oklahoma commit PRENTICE MCKINNEY stopped Canada’s momentum dead in its tracks.
The U.S. added its final score as starting quarterback BRIAN BOYLE connected with future USC tight end TYLER PETITE in the end zone.
Canada would get one final drive with 35 seconds remaining after Regina’s DANIEL NESBITT came up with an interception on a deflected U.S. pass.
Facing second down and 19 at the U.S. 35-yard line, Canada nearly broke the U.S. shutout as quarterback LIAM PUTT (Caledonia, ON) looked to St. Mary’s receiver RICK LEMOIGNAN in the end zone however the Edmonton native was unable to haul in the pass which was broken up by the defender.
LOGAN FISCHER was named Canada’s Player of the Game rushing 12 times for 56 yards. It was retribution for the Saskatoon Hilltop running back who was part of the U-19 team a year ago but unable to play due to an injury sustained in practice.
A member of Canada’ U-18 squad last year in addition to Canada’s silver medal winning Junior National Team at the 2014 IFAF U-19 World Championship in Kuwait, DANIEL NESBITT also had an excellent day tallying a game high 8 tackles and an interception.
The experience for the young linebacker was a memorable one that will last a lifetime.
“Everybody here is like a brother to me now, we came together so much from the start of the week until today – our team really meshed and I think it started to show on the field,” said Nesbitt.
A veteran of both the International Bowl as well as Canada’s Junior National Team program WARREN CRANEY thinks games like the International Bowl will continue to fuel the Canada-U.S. rivalry.
“It’s always exciting,” explained Craney. “In Canada, even though we’ve been playing football for a long time, it’s still an up and coming sport in terms of trying to catch where the U.S. is and what they are doing south of the border.”
“We’re catching up and we’re catching up in a hurry. It’s not going to take too long before these games are a heck of a lot closer.”
Canada’s Junior National Team head coach and his coaching staff are looking towards next year as they build towards the 2016 World Championship.
“I’m excited about next year, we’re always trying to find the best kids we can. It’s now my job and my coaching staffs job to make sure we field the best team that Canada’s ever seen – that we find those kids and make sure they come out and represent their country,” said Craney.
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