Canada falls to U.S., setting up rematch with Mexico
Semi-final rematch set for Thursday July 7 at 5 p.m. local time
Photo credit: USA Football
Canada was unable to overcome an 18-14 halftime deficit, falling to the U.S. 32-14 on Sunday July 3 at the 2016 IFAF U19 World Championship in Harbin, China. With a trip to the gold medal game on the line, Canada will now face Mexico, for the second time in the tournament, on Thursday July 7 at 5 p.m. local time (5 a.m. ET). In Sunday’s earlier game, Mexico defeated Austria, 46-7 to setup the rematch.
Tournament statistics can be found at http://www.ifaf2016u19.com/u19officialscoringsummary/300.htm.
Canada came out of the gate strong on both sides of the ball. On the game’s opening series they forced a U.S. three-and-out. Unfortunately, incidental contact by Canada on the ensuing punt, opened the door for the Americans who recovered the ball, giving them a fresh set of downs at midfield.
The mistake would not come back to haunt Canada as their defense held the U.S. offense at bay, forcing another three-and-out.
On a drive that started at their own 26-yard line, Canada marched down to the U.S. 3-yard line where Samuel Makwanda would run off-tackle, finding the end zone to give Canada an early 7-0 advantage.
Later in the opening quarter, Canada was unable to build momentum following a third down sack by linebacker Deshawn Stevens (Toronto, ON). They did however continue to win the field position battle as the drive ended with a terrific Vincent Blanchard (St-Germain-de-Grantham, QC) punt, which was downed by the Canada cover team at the U.S. 5-yard line.
On the ensuing American drive, Canada continued to press defensively as lineman Riley Pickett (Saskatoon, SK) recovered a U.S. fumble, giving the red and white a fresh set of downs inside their opponent’s 20-yard line. Canada was unable to capitalize as Blanchard’s 20-yard field goal attempt was blocked to keep the Canada advantage to 7.
With the U.S. trailing 7-6, the end of the second quarter was a back-and-forth affair that saw the lead change on three consecutive drives. First, the U.S. took its first advantage, following a short touchdown pass from quarterback Lindell Stone to put the stars and stripes ahead, 12-7.
Canada responded immediately as quarterback Dimitri Morand (Gatineau, QC) found a wide-open Félix Lussier-Roy (Sherbrooke, QC) along the sideline for the 63-yard major, placing the red and white ahead 14-12. Lussier-Roy would go on to claim Canada’s player of the game honours.
The lead was short-lived for Canada as seven plays later the U.S. pulled ahead, 18-14, heading into halftime when Stone connected with a U.S. receiver in the end zone.
The U.S. added to its lead to begin the final quarter as a fourth Lindell Stone touchdown pass and a Tre Bugg pick-six made the score 32-14.
Canada continued to work to close the gap but was unable to build on their first half offensive success. A golden opportunity came midway through the fourth quarter as Bruno Lagacé (Boucherville, QC) recovered a fumble forced by Ben Whiting (Saskatoon, SK). The turnover set-up a first and goal inside the 10-yard line, however, the red and white attack was unable to find the end zone.
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