IFAF Americas Flag Football Championships: United States pulls out narrow win over Mexico in Men’s Gold Medal game

Only four points out of 76 scored in a thrilling men’s gold medal game at the IFAF Americas Flag Football Championships separated the United States and Mexico, with the Americans narrowly coming out on top.

The lead changed hands ten times and it was ultimately the most spectacular play of the game that settled the contest by a score of 40-36 as Laderrick Smith threw a bullet pass almost the length of the field to find Laval Davis deep in the end zone.

“It’s what we expected from Mexico,” said USA quarterback Darrell ‘Housh’ Doucette. “We knew they could score a lot of points and we felt like our defense should be able to at least stop them a few times. The captain of the defensive team just said try to score more points than them. They stopped them at the end of the game and we were able to nail it out and we got a gold medal.”

Bruce Mapp opened the scoring on their first drive with a touchdown catch for the Americans, but Jorge Olivera caught a touchdown in reply for Mexico and executed the two-point try to lead 8-6. Velton Brown Jr scored on a run after a catch, but Mexico responded immediately and drew led 16-14 as Christopher Cardona came up with a spectacular scoring grab that was fitting for a championship game and Mexico moved back in front 16-14.

Housh danced his way down the left sideline with an elusive run to pave the way for a second touchdown from Brown Jr, but Mexico hit back with a touchdown from Guillermo Villalobos. They might have expected to lead at halftime given there were only 22 seconds on the clock, but Brown Jr threw a bomb to Aamir Brown for a 26-24 USA interval lead.

Mexico regained the momentum when Cardona reeled in another catch in the corner of the end zone to open the second half, but the US started moving the ball on the ground before Housh threaded a precision pass to Mapp for a 34-30 lead after the two-point attempt.

The end-to-end scoring continued as Mexico refused to succumb and took one in on the ground when some American players had stopped for what turned out to be a non-call flag thrown by the officials. The US reply was deserving of a game-winner as Smith’s bomb breached the end zone and then the American defense held firm.

Panama claimed third place in the overall standings with a 38-22 victory over Canada in the Bronze Medal game. The All-South American battle for fifth place could hardly have been closer. A round-robin style format between Argentina, Brazil and Chile saw each team record a win, so the tied fifth through seventh placement had to be decided by points differential.  Argentina came out on top in fifth place with Chile sixth and Brazil seventh by the slightest of margins.

All games scores can be found at the IFAF Game Centre. http://americanfootball.sport/game-centre/

Michael Preston (@PRMikePreston) is currently working with IFAF in a PR capacity. He recently covered Super Bowl LVII as a member of the NFL PR team as he has done for 20+ years. He has held communications positions with NFL Europe, the North