July 3, 2016
Second-half rally spurs Canada to victory over Mexico
Football Canada – Canada to face U.S. on July 3 at 4 a.m. ET in China
Harbin, China (June 30, 2016) – Canada’s Junior National Team overcame a 16-3 first half deficit, defeating Mexico 30-16 to open action on Thursday June 30 at the 2016 IFAF U19 World Championship in Harbin, China. Canada will now play the U.S. on Sunday July 3 at 4 p.m. local time (4 a.m. ET). The U.S. defeated Austria 65-14 in Thursday’s late afternoon game.
When the game began, following a roughly 45-minute weather delay, Canada started out strong. They forced a Mexico three-and-out to open the first game between the two nations in junior men’s competition, and took over at their opponent’s 40-yard line.
They looked to have taken full advantage of excellent starting field position after a long Félix Lussier-Roy (Sherbrooke, QC) run gave Canada a first and goal opportunity. However, a third down Mexico interception stopped the red and white’s drive dead in it’s tracks.
Later in the opening quarter, Canada opened the scoring with a Vincent Blanchard (St-Germain-de-Grantham, QC) field goal from the 20-yard line. The opening score gave Canada an early 3-0.
Mexico’s defense continued to give Canada problems as they forced their second of four interceptions on the night, giving their offense the ball at the Canada 20-yard line. Mexico took full advantage, capitalizing with a rushing touchdown from their quarterback to take a 7-3 lead.
A pair of defensive plays gave Mexico a commanding 16-3 halftime advantage. Following a punt that was downed at the Canada 1-yard line, Mexico sacked quarterback Dimitri Morand in the end zone, making the score 9-3. Next a Mexico defender stepped in front of a Canada pass, returning it to the end zone for a major.
Canada returned from halftime looking to bounce back from a disappointing first half of play.
They did just that, narrowing the deficit 16-10 as quarterback Dimitri Morand (Gatineau, QC) connected with receiver Khalik “KJ” Johnson (Surrey, BC) on a 12-yard touchdown strike. The score was set-up by an interception near midfield, created when a pass glanced off the hands of a Mexico receiver and into those of linebacker Deshawn Stevens (Toronto, ON).
Canada continued to mount a comeback as Morand scrambled into the end zone, electing to keep the ball himself on a quarterback read-option, to tie the game up at 16 nearing the end of the third quarter.
Following a 29-yard Vincent Blanchard field goal attempt that was blocked by Mexico, Canada received new life as linebacker Nicolas Cross (Regina, SK), Canada’s player of the game recipient, blocked a punt that was downed inside the Mexico 15-yard line.
Canada wasted little time, as on the very next play, Félix Lussier-Roy (Sherbrooke, QC) ran the ball into the end zone to make the score 23-16, giving the red and white their first lead since the opening quarter.
Lussier-Roy would add a second rushing touchdown late in the fourth quarter to seal the Canada victory, 30-16.
2016 IFAF U19 World Championship Schedule:
(Note: All times are local to Harbin, and the schedule is subject to change.)
Wednesday, June 29
1 p.m. – No. 6 Australia vs. No. 7 China (B2)
4 p.m. – No. 5 Japan vs. No. 8 TBD (bye) (B1)
Thursday, June 30
1 p.m. – No. 2 Canada vs. No. 3 Mexico (A2)
4 p.m. – No. 1 USA vs. No. 4 Austria (A1)
Saturday, July 2
1 p.m. – Loser B2 (China) vs. Loser B1 (bye) (B3)
4 p.m. – Winner B1 (Japan) vs. Winner B2 (Australia) (B4)
Sunday, July 3
1 p.m. – Loser A2 (Mexico) vs. Loser A1 (Austria) (A3)
4 p.m. – Winner A1 (USA) vs. Winner A2 (Canada) (A4)
Wednesday, July 6
1 p.m. – Loser A3 vs. Loser B3 (B5)
4 p.m. – Loser B4 vs. Winner B3 (B6)
Thursday, July 7
1 p.m. – Winner A4 vs. Winner B4 (A5)
4 p.m. – Loser A4 vs. Winner A3 (A6)
Saturday, July 9
1 p.m. – Seventh-place game (Loser B6 vs. Loser B5)
4 p.m. – Fifth place game (Winner B5 vs. Winner B6)
Sunday, July 10-**
1 p.m. – Bronze Medal Game (Loser A6 vs. Loser A5)
4 p.m. – Gold Medal Game (Winner A5 vs. Winner A6)
**-Kickoff times for July 10 will be switched if Austria participates in the Gold Medal Game to accommodate travel schedules.
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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