Football Canada looks back at highlights from 2018 summer events
Three national tournaments, four regional tournaments, three national teams and a summer full of incredible accomplishments and excitement. The summer of 2018 is in the books but far from being forgotten. Let us take a look back at some of this summer’s biggest moments.
Rewind to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in May. Senior Flag Nationals kicked off an eventful event season for Football Canada. The male division saw six teams competing in a two-day tournament, while the female division had four.
On the male side, an undefeated Team Canada succumbed to their first loss of the tournament in the gold medal game against Team Manitoba, falling 16-13. The Blackshirts claimed bronze with a 37-6 victory over the Goldminers.
The female side saw the Turf Tigers going undefeated, they capped their tournament run with a 21-0 shutout victory over Cougars in the gold medal game. The Eclipse captured the bronze as they cruised to a 39-6 victory over the Wolfpack.
Fast forward to July. The Under-16 Regional Challenges kicked off a jam-packed month of exciting football. This year Edmonton, Alberta played host to the U16 Western Challenge.
Alberta gave their fans something to cheer about by claiming gold for the second straight year. Three touchdowns by receiver Elic Ayonmanor helped Alberta cruise to a 47 – 21 win over Manitoba. In the bronze medal game, British Columbia saw the same fate as last year as they lost the bronze to North Saskatchewan, 17 – 9.
Over in Guelph, Ontario Team Québec shook things up by taking home the gold in their inaugural appearance at the U16 Eastern Challenge after defeating Saskatchewan South 38 – 8. Ontario edged out New Brunswick to claim bronze, while defending champions Nova Scotia came fifth.
The focus shifted back to Alberta as Calgary hosted the 2018 Football Canada Cup. The Football Canada Cup showcases the top under-18 football players from across the country. There was no shortage of excitement or talent at this year’s tournament.
Québec, who has won six of the past seven Canada Cups, were dethroned by Alberta 24 – 13 in an exciting semi-final matchup. The other semi-final saw Saskatchewan powering through Ontario 32 – 8.
Saskatchewan and Alberta battled it out in the gold medal game, with each team taking the lead several times throughout the game. Alberta was looking to win the gold in front of a hometown crowd while Saskatchewan hoped to avoid the same fate as last year when they lost in the final 18 seconds of the game. In the end, Saskatchewan came out on top, 31 – 26, and claimed the gold with impressive efforts by tournament MVP’s Keegan Kaytor (offensive) and Ramsey Derbas (defensive).
Québec powered through Ontario 33 – 8 to claim bronze. British Columbia finished fifth after defeating Manitoba 23 – 10, while an all Maritime battle saw New Brunswick edge Nova Scotia 14 – 9 to claim seventh place.
While all this was taking place in Calgary, our Junior National team, composed of 40 of our country’s best under-19 players, was in Mexico looking to defend their World Championship title. The team started the tournament strong with a dominant 49 – 6 victory over Sweden. In the semi-finals Japan gave Canada everything they had, but Canada prevailed 28 – 22.
All eyes were on the defending champions as they got set to face the host team, Mexico, in the gold medal game. Mexico put up a tremendous fight, but Canada prevailed 13 – 7 and became the first country to win back-to-back gold medals at the IFAF World Junior Championship. Canada now holds the most gold medals by any country with three.
Off the back of Canada’s gold medal game, our Regional and National Flag Football Championships kicked off. The West got things started in Regina, Saskatchewan where the Under-16 Western Flag Challenge took place.
The male division saw British Columbia going undefeated to capture gold, while Manitoba claimed the silver. Alberta took home the bronze after defeating Saskatchewan 40-29.
In the female division, Team West White edged out Team West Black 13 – 6 to earn their place in the gold medal game against Saskatchewan. Saskatchewan came out victorious, taking home the gold with a commanding 38 – 0 victory over Team West White.
The Under-16 Eastern Flag Challenge took place in Halifax, Nova Scotia alongside the Under-18 Flag Nationals Championship.
Québec swept up gold across the board in the U16 divisions. In the Male division, Québec battled hard to defeat Nova Scotia (2) 26 – 21 for the gold medal. The bronze went to Ontario after they powered through Nova Scotia (1) 42 – 0.
The female division, Québec (1) defeated Québec (2), in an all provincial final 18 – 13 to win gold. Nova Scotia (1) earned a 14 – 0 shutout victory over Québec (3) to capture bronze.
At the Under-18 Flag Football National Championship, Manitoba took home the gold in the male division after defeating British Columbia 20 – 19. The bronze went to Québec as they edged Ontario 20 – 14.
Saskatchewan picked up the gold in the female division after a hard fought 13 – 6 win over Québec. Manitoba claimed bronze after a 20 -7 win over Ontario.
The summer ended on a high with the National Women’s and Men’s Flag teams taking part in the 2018 IFAF World Flag Championship in Panama City, Panama.
Both teams came out of the round robin with three wins and two losses, earning them both a berth in the quarter-finals against Austria. The Men’s team came out strong but came out on the losing end 31 – 26 after a back and forth battle with Austria. After a win against Japan and a loss to Israel, the men placed sixth.
The Women’s team saw a different fate. After a hard-fought 18 – 13 quarter-final victory over Austria the women landed themselves a semi-final matchup with their rivals, the United States. Canada battled hard but came up short as the United States earned themselves a spot in the gold medal game with a 45 – 26 victory. Canada earned the bronze medal after edging out Mexico 19 – 14 in the bronze medal game.
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