U.S. defend home turf to open 2016 International Bowl series against Canada
Football Canada – ARLINGTON, TX (February 1, 2016) – To open the 2016 International Bowl series on Sunday January 31, Canada’s U19 national team fell to their U.S. counterparts by a final score of 33-0 at AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys.
Canada’s U19 opponent in the Lone Star State featured a roster of blue chip prospects including undeclared 5-star recruit MECOLE HARDMAN Jr., and four-star Ohio State quarterback commit DWAYNE HASKINS Jr.
The first half of play was a feeling out process as Team USA went into the halftime break with a slim 6-0 advantage. Throughout the contest, Canada was unable to find its offensive rhythm, totaling 53 offensive yards while the U.S. accumulated over 300 yards.
“Offensively, we moved the ball in spurts,” said head coach, WARREN CRANEY (York Lions). “Definitely, it was tough to come away at the end of the half without any points. In the second half their skill players really came out.”
“It’s two years in a row [at the International Bowl] that we haven’t scored a point. We need to rectify that going into the [World Championship] tournament year in China. I think we got some good tape and we’re going to fix it.”
It looked as if the United States would score at the end of the first quarter when VOSEAN JOSEPH (Miami, Fla.) recovered a muffed punt at the Canada 5 yard line. However, after a short run and an incompletion, UBC defensive back STAVROS KATSANTONIS (Vancouver, B.C.) stepped in front of Ohio State commit Haskins Jr’s pass and returned it to midfield.
“He’s just a great football player,” said Canada’s head coach of the UBC freshman. “Coach MacNeill made a good call on defense and Stavros made a great play.”
“I’m proud of the way our defense played throughout the game,” said Canada defensive coordinator KEVIN MACNEILL (Guelph Gryphons). “They’ve got some explosive firepower on that sideline and we did what we needed to in the first half to keep them quiet.”
Inspired to start the second half, DWAYNE HASKINS Jr. connected with MECOLE HARDMAN Jr. on a quick 26-yard touchdown strike. Building momentum, Texas A&M quarterback commit NICK STARKEL found N’KEAL HARRY, for their second touchdown connection on the day, to make the score 20-0.
With a minute left to play, Canada’s PAYTON HALL (Caronport, Sask.) stripped and recovered a fumble at the U.S. 25-yard line. However, Canada was unable to capitalize as their field goal was blocked and returned to the end zone by Oregon commit SHUROD THOMPSON to make the final score 33-0.
Graduating from last year’s U18 national team, DESHAWN STEVENS (Toronto, Ont.) was another leader on Canada’s defense, tallying 6 total tackles.
“Deshawn Stevens had a great day and he really anchored that defense,” Craney said. “I think our defensive line, especially the front did a really, really good job.”
Statistically, Oklahoma State commit AMEN OGBONGMIGA (Calgary, Alta.) led Canada’s defense with 9 total including 5 solo tackles.
The Junior National Team coaching staff, which led the U19 national team at the 2016 International Bowl, will now turn their attention towards assembling Canada’s Junior National Team for the 2016 IFAF U19 World Championship.
“We’re going to get on the tape right away and we’re going to watch these U18s play tonight and play Wednesday and we’re going to rank these kids and take the best 45 we can to China,” explained Craney.
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