IFAF U19 World Championships: Team Canada slips past Japan, advances to gold medal final

Team Canada advanced to the gold medal final of the 2018 IFAF U19 World Championships after beating Japan 28-22 in a game that was not decided until the last minute of the contest.

With the Japanese pressing and a minute remaining, Team Canada’s defense thwarted a fourth down conversion attempt in Canadian territory to seal the win.

This will be the fifth straight appearance in the championship final for the Canadians.

Team Canada opened the scoring when Tyson Philpot took the first Japanese punt of the game on the first series, and returned it 65 yards for a touchdown. Antoine Couture kicked the extra points and Canada led 7-0.

The Japanese tied the game seven minutes later as on a one yard plunge by running back Kento Shibata.

The Canadians pulled away in the second quarter as their big play offense kicked into gear. First Tyson Philpot hauled in a 14 yard touchdown pass from quarterback Andreas Dueck. Then Dueck connected with Glodin Mulali later in the quarter and Canada took a 21-7 lead into the break.

Japanese quarterback Ken Nowaza found wide receiver Otani Kuto from 20 yards out in the third quarter to pull Team Japan to within eight points, 21-13.

And then, on the next series, with Canada pinned deep in their own zone, a punt snap sailed over the head of Canadian punter Couture giving the Japanese a two-point safety, closing the gap to 21-15.

With Canada now nursing a precarious six point lead, running back Freud Jean Ernst César scored on a 12 yard pass from Dueck breaking tackles along the way, and Canada increased the lead to 28-15 heading into the final quarter.

However, Japan was not done as wide receiver Itokawa Mikitom, who was the star of the game for the Japanese, scored on a six yard pass from Nowaza and Japan was within six points again, 28-22. Japan drove down into Canadian territory but with one minute left in the game, the Canadian defense rose up and forced Nowaza into an incompletion on a fourth and 18 from midfield, sealing the win.

Canada advances to the gold medal final for the fifth time in as many tries.

 

 

AFI
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