Canada blanks U.S. in U18 game, taking 2016 International Bowl series lead
Football Canada – ARLINGTON, TX (February 4, 2016) – Canada’s under-18 national team defeated the U.S. under-18 national team 24-0 on Wednesday February 3, propelling Canada to a two game to one lead over Team USA, at the 2016 International Bowl series at AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys.
With the win, Canada’s under-18 national team also extended their undefeated streak to four games, after defeating the U18 national team for the third straight year at the International Bowl series. On Sunday January 31, Canada’s U18 national team defeated the U.S. U19 Selects 31-13.
“When you put an all-star team together, this is the outcome,” Canada’s head coach, BRAD COLLINSON said. “I think our country plays some high-level football and this age group does a great job. It’s a matter of time before it takes off with the older [U19] kids. Down here [in the U.S.], they play a good style of football but you know what, I think we’re getting there slowly but surely.”
Canada’s lone loss thus far in the series was at the hands of the USA Football’s U19 national team which defeated their Football Canada counterparts to open the event on January 31.
Canada took an early 7-0 lead when receiver BRYAN OWUSU BEKOE (Mirabel, Que.) found the end zone on a 5-yard passing completion from quarterback, MASON NYHUS (Regina, Sask.). The major was sparked by the play of JEVANTE STANLEY (Brampton, Ont.).
“We put a package in for Jevante on offense, doing the wildcat with him, because we knew what he could bring to the table,” Collinson explained. “He’s got a chip on his shoulder and he wants to prove people wrong – it’s going to be fun to see him progress in the CIS.”
Canada added a 20-yard VINCENT BLANCHARD (St-Germain-de-Grantham, Que.) field goal, capitalizing on a muffed U.S. punt that saw Canada begin the drive at their opponent’s 38-yard line.
Following the score, Canada’s defense continued to disrupt the U.S. offense, as a PIERRE-GABRIEL GERMAIN (Candiac, Que.) third down sack, forced a 4th down punt heading into the break.
“That’s what he does, he’s a football player,” said Collinson who also coached Germain with Quebec’s provincial program. “He doesn’t look like much and you underestimate him. He’s been proving people wrong since last summer [at the Canada Cup] and showed it today, again, that he deserves and has the right to be here.”
The Vieux Montreal linebacker helped anchor a strong Canada defense on Wednesday night, earning Canada’s player of the game honors after tallying 8 total tackles, 1 sack and 1.5 tackles for loss.
“It’s feels great to win today’s award, we worked hard the whole week for today’s win and it’s really satisfying to see all our hard work pay off,” said Pierre-Gabriel. “Playing in this stadium is a bit stressful initially – in front of all these people, under all the lights and with 60-yard scoreboard overhead, but after a few drives it’s like you’re playing football anywhere.”
Starting at their own 35-yard line, Team USA backed the Canada defense up to their own 4-yard line, led by the tandem of quarterback LINDELL STONE (University Park, Va.) and running back ENO BENJAMIN (Wylie, TX). Canada’s defense bent but did not break, forcing a 21-yard field goal attempt that hit the right upright to keep the U.S. off the score board.
Canada extended its lead to 17, as JACOB IZQUIERDO (Calgary, Alta.) took a handoff 44-yards up the sideline for the major.
Last year’s U18 game MVP for Canada, JEVANTE STANLEY (Brampton, Ont.) capped off the game as he found a crease in the U.S. defense, weaving 27-yards into the end zone, to make the final score 24-0.
“It feels good [to score a touchdown] but it’s more about the team, we came together and we did a pretty amazing thing – we beat the U.S. again in their home and we jelled,” said the Brampton product.
Having represented Canada on the U18 national team for a third time on Wednesday at AT&T Stadium, Stanley enjoys the experience this tournament provides.
“The stadium’s great but it’s more than that, it’s the people that you play with and the coaches. Soaking in all the information is a great experience and I’d do it every year if I could.”
Canada’s defensive front played a large part in Wednesday night’s victory. DANIEL METCALFE (Kingsville, Ont.) added 10 total tackles and a half sack while J MIN PELLEY (Calgary, Alta.) notched 7 total tackles and 2 sacks.
In Canada’s first game, Pelley was unable to participate due to injury but helped lead his nation this time around against the home side.
“He did a great job,” Collinson said of J Min. “We lost [defensive lineman] Sidy Sow for this game and we needed someone to step in. We were very fortunate that J Min could come in and play. It was a pretty rough injury that he got last week and we were pretty happy to have him for this game.”
The 2016 International Bowl series continues on Friday February 5 with a three games between provincial teams from Ontario and Alberta which will play against U.S. competition.
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About Football Canada
Established in 1884, Football Canada is the national governing body of amateur football in Canada and a proud member of the International Federation of American Football (IFAF). Working closely with the provincial football associations, we develop programs and resources for players, coaches, officials in the three disciplines of Tackle, Flag and Touch Football. Football Canada’s vision statement is “from playground to stadium” where players can participate in the game of football throughout a lifetime recreationally, competitively and internationally.