Impressive second day for Canada at 2016 IFAF Flag Football World Championships in Miami
Men bounce back from loss to Mexico, women continue to impress
Canada’s women’s national team stayed undefeated following wins against Panama and the USA while Canada’s men’s national team bounced back from a morning loss against Mexico, recording victories against Italy and Great Britain on Friday September 9 at the 2016 IFAF Flag Football World Championships in the Miami-area.
Defending champs continue to impress
Canada’s women’s flag football national team remains unbeaten after two days of competition. The defending champions opened the day with 12-7 victory over Panama and followed it up with a 16-12 win against host USA in a rematch of the 2014 gold medal game.
On Friday, Canada’s head coach François Bougie was impressed with the improvement Panama has shown since the 2014 worlds.
“Panama are a much better team than they were two years ago. They actually gave us a better game than the USA did on Friday,” said Bougie.
“We won against Panama with only about two minutes left in the game. Whereas against the USA, we took a 16-point lead very quickly and they were never really able to come back after that.”
Canada look to keep their undefeated streak intact as they enter the final day of round-robin competition on Saturday.
“The first two days have been a good warmup as we come together and find our chemistry,” said Canada’s head coach. “We will start preparing for the finals on Saturday as we take on Japan and Guatemala.”
Canada’s men’s national team come on strong after opening loss to Mexico
On the men’s side of the draw, Canada began day two with a tough matchup against 2014 silver medalist, Mexico. A pair of turnovers including a Mexico pick-6 proved costly for Canada as they went down in defeat by a final score of 35-18.
With roughly an hour between morning games, Canada had little time to regroup.
“After we lost to Mexico, every game became a must win game in our minds,” said receiver Kit Hillis.
Just as they had done at the Senior Flag Football Invitational in Halifax to earn a berth in Miami, the team learned from an early loss. They got back on track with a 34-26 victory against Italy. The win avenged a pair of bronze medal game losses at the 2010 and 2014 worlds.
The team began to find their stride offensively as quarterback Chase Bradshaw threw four of the five Canadian touchdown passes including a pair to receiver Chris Bauman in the victory. Kit Hillis also had a strong game, hauling in two majors while Mitch Friesen recorded two interceptions including one late in the second half to seal the victory.
The Canadian contingent finished the day strong, defeating Great Britain 38-31 in their third game on day two of competition.
Quarterback Steve Bilan opened the scoring with one of his two touchdown passes to Kit Hillis. Bilan, who bounced back from an early morning loss behind centre, would go on to finish the game with six passing touchdowns.
“Everything began to click for us offensively in that third game – we were all finally on the same page. We were finding all the holes in the defense and it was a good balance to that game after we left points on the board against Italy,” said Hillis. “We should have put Italy away early but we didn’t. It was nice to finally have the performance like we know we can and should have on a game-to-game basis.”
Great Britain continued to match Canada’s scoring until another Mitch Friesen interception, his third on the day, stopped his opponent’s drive dead in its tracks. Canada rode the momentum created by the turnover, reeling off two majors before Great Britain was able to find the end zone again.
Playing three games on Friday in the Miami heat was a major challenge for Canada men’s national team which is made up of Saskatchewan-based players.
“It was tough,” said Saskatoon native Kit Hillis on playing three games in one day. “The humidity is something that we’re not used to, being from Saskatchewan. We’re used to a dry heat and not that much heat at that.”
As Canada jostles for position in their pool, they’ll play two final games against three-time silver medalist Denmark as well as Guatemala on Saturday.
“The Denmark game is going to be huge,” explained Hillis. “Unless Mexico falters, that will be a game for second or third place in our pool which is massive.”
“We want to set ourselves up well as we head into the playoffs (on Sunday). Denmark is as much of a must win as you can have it.”
Both male and female draws will culminate with gold medal finals on Sunday, September 11.
Canada’s revised schedule at the 2016 IFAF FFWC (all times local [ET], subject to change)
|Men’s national team||Women’s national team|
|Thursday Sept. 8||Thursday Sept. 8|
|9:30 a.m. – Canada 27 – Korea 7||6:30 p.m. – Canada 32 – France 7|
|Friday Sept. 9||Friday Sept. 9|
|8:00 a.m. – Mexico 35 – Canada 18||9:20 a.m. – Canada 12 – Panama 7|
|10:40 a.m. – Canada 34 – Italy 26||12:00 p.m. – Canada 16 – U.S. 12|
|1:20 p.m. – Canada 38 – Great Britain 31|
|Saturday Sept. 10||Saturday Sept. 10|
|12:40 p.m. – vs. Guatemala||11:20 a.m. – vs. Japan|
|3:20 p.m. – vs. Denmark||2:00 p.m. – vs. Guatemala|
|Sunday September 11||Sunday September 11|
|Playoff schedule to be determined||Playoff schedule to be determined|
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