A group of Canadian teenagers upset defending champion USA to win Gold at the 2012 IFAF U-19 World Championship in Austin, Texas.
The Canadian team, composed largely of CJFL, OVFL Quebec CEGEP and first-year CIS players, jumped out to a 10-0 first half lead and went on to stun top-seeded USA 23-17 to capture the Gold Medal at the International Federation of American Football Under-19 Championship.
“We had one goal and one goal in mind and that was to come back with a Gold Medal around our neck,” said Canada head coach Noel Thorpe after his nation’s victory in Burger Stadium in Austin, Texas. “These guys believed in it and they played 48 minutes of solid football. I couldn’t be prouder of these guys.
“It was a hell of a game. It came down to an onside kick. It doesn’t get any closer than that.”
The International Federation of American Football Under-19 World Championship, hosted by USA Football, is an eight-day tournament that brings together eight teams (USA, Canada, Japan, Panama, Austria, France, Sweden and American Samoa) of high school-age players.
Canada jumped to a 10-0 lead in the Gold Medal game when Alexandre Huard (Taft School, CT) returned a punt 59 yards for a score and Louis-Philippe Simoneau (F-X Garneau) kicked a 21-yard field goal. Simoneau’s field goal was set up by one of two interceptions by Canadian MVP Kevin McGee (volontaire de Sherbrooke). McGee ended the night with two picks and five tackles.
“I’m happy for the team,” said McGee. “It’s an honor to be named MVP but this was a team victory. We worked really hard for two weeks. We’re really happy right now. This week has been the best experience of my life. I met some new people, I worked really hard and I think I’m a better football player after this.”
The interception was the first turnover by the United States in six games of IFAF U19 Championship competition. The 3-0 lead also marked the first time the United States trailed in two championship tournament appearances.
Canada upped the lead to 16-7 on the opening series of the third quarter as QB Will Finch (Burlington Stampeders) moved the Canadians 81 yards on five plays with running back Christopher Amoah (Dalbé-Viau) taking a screen pass and rumbling 26 yards for the score. A bad snap on the PAT left the lead at nine.
Team USA answered on its next drive, moving 78 yards in 11 plays to trim the Canada lead to 16-14 with 4:08 left in the third quarter.
Canada extended the lead with a 64-yard drive midway through the fourth quarter, upping the score to 23-14 with 5:10 left in the game on a 10-yard run by Mercer Timmis (Canisius prep, NY).
“I think we did what we wanted to do running the football,” said Canada’s coach Thorpe. “We established ourselves at the line of scrimmage and they did a heck of a job – and our running backs as well. Our quarterbacks did a good job managing the football game and also running with the football.
“It’s exactly what we thought it would be. We had to control the tempo of the football game and we knew it had to happen up front with the offensive line and that was our game plan going into the tournament and we kept with it all the way through.”
Japan defeated Austria 7-0 in the Bronze medal game.
Win the victory, Canada avenged a 2009 41-3 finals loss at the hands of the Americans at the inaugural IFAF U19 World Championship in Canton, Ohio.