Canada’s depth and talent to take centre stage in Texas at 2019 International Bowl
By Ameeta Vohra
Canada is on a mission to show they are a force to be reckoned with in Arlington, Texas this week.
As the U18 National Team is only days away from their annual showdown against rival United States at the 2019 International Bowl, the amount of experience, depth and talent bodes well for Canada to win the battle on the gridiron.
On offense, receiver Keelan White brings his experience from having played last year in the victory against the United States. The British Columbia native is one of the most explosive playmakers and will lead the in production on the field, mainly on the scoreboard. His speed and athleticism is rivalled and unmatched and he will provide many challenges for the United States’ defense, especially in man to man coverage. The difference between White’s game in the past year is the level of maturity and ability to handle pressure on the field.
Adley Mayala poses a threat not only on offense but on special teams as well he showed the nation at the 2018 Football Canada Cup. One of the most memorable moments of the tournament was when the Special Teams MVP and Albertan returned a 90 yard kickoff punt and converted it into a touchdown in the gold medal game against Saskatchewan. The receiver has a knack for scoring on long catches and like White, he is explosive on the field while possessing a continual ability to make big things happen.
A Quebec duo that will try to recreate some magic at Cowboys Stadium is quarterback Xavier Tremblay and receiver Nicolas Cenacle who were at most times untouchable during the Football Canada Cup by sticking to their rhythm and tempo to create big scoring plays. Likewise, Saskatchewan pivot and offensive MVP in Calgary Keegan Kaytor as well as receivers Mason Novik and Emmett Steadman can be dangerous when together on the field.
One of the up and coming standouts is running back Ryker Frank. The offensive player from Saskatchewan represented Canada as a member of the under-16 West team that participated in last year’s International Bowl jamboree against United States and Mexico. At a young age, he has already shown tremendous upside and poise matched by his passion – all which translates to success on the field. He could be an “X” factor in this week’s game.
Overall, Canada has a good offensive balance with the run and pass game which could make it for a long day for their opponents.
Anchoring the defense is two dependable players from the 2018 International Bowl. Quebec’s Yshad-Shane Benjamin brings great size – a towering 6’4, 320 pound frame and athleticism to stop offenses stone cold while single handily dictate the battle at the line of scrimmage. On the secondary, Lucas Cormier from New Brunswick has proven to be an efficient protector and making an impact when it comes to containing the top players on opposing offenses using his physical play to guide the way.
On a whole, the defense will play aggressively and show lots of physicality through their size and athleticism.
Nova Scotia kicker Ben Hadley is consistent at making field goals and putting up points on the board. If the game should end up close, it could come down to Hadley and if so, Canada is in good hands because of his success at the high school level.
For more on the roster, schedule, releases and all things 2019 International Bowl, visit Football Canada’s website.
This post is also available in: French