Team USA defeats Poland to win bronze at 2017 World Games

The United States, represented by the United States Federation of American Football, defeated Team Poland 14-7 at the 2017 World Games in Wroclaw, Poland Monday to win the bronze medal.

Playing in front of a roaring home crowd at the Olympic Stadium in Wroclaw, Team USA overcame a stubborn Team Poland, and injuries on an already depleted roster, to earn the win.

American football was being played at the 2017 World Games as an invitational sport. The last time American football was included as an invitational sport at the World Games was in 2005 when Duisburg, Germany played host and the home team won it all. Germany beat Sweden 20–6 in the final game while France took third place, beating Australia 14–0 in the consolation final. The United States was not represented at the event.

Quarterback Dustin Hawke Willingham threw two touchdowns passes with Tyrell Blanks and Mario Brown catching one each. John Moorhead kicked both extra points.

Photo: PAP/Maciej Kulczyński

Polish quarterback Karol Zak threw a touchdown pass to Adam Nelip and Nelip added the extra point.

The Americans did not take the lead until late in the second quarter as Poland battled them toe to toe. Although American football is a relatively new sport in Poland, they have taken to it with a passion.

Neither team could gain any momentum until late in the half when Hawke Willingham found Blanks who scored with less than a minute left. Moorhead kicked the extra points and Team USA led 7-0 at the half.

But the Poles, with the support of the enthusiastic home crowd ,battled back in the second half. Late in the third quarter, Nelip hauled in a touchdown pass from Zak delighting the big home crowd.

With the score tied at 7-7 in the fourth quarter, the United States quarterback began turning to Brown who with his elusiveness in open space was causing problems for the Polish defenders. Finally, with six minutes left in the game he got loose, evading two defenders at the goal line to score the winning touchdown. Moorhead kicked the extra point and Team USA held on for the win. Poland did have a couple of chances and with less than two minutes left looked like they might score but the American defense withstood the pressure.


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