USA, Canada Win To Move On To Gold Medal Final In 2016 IFAF Under-19 World Championship

Team USA and Canada have advanced to the gold medal final of the IFAF Under-19 World Championship for the fourth time in four tournaments. The United States downed Japan after a second half explosion while Canada battled Mexico coming away with a hard-fought victory.

Team USA 50 – Team Japan 20

IFAF - Under 19 - USA-Japan - action 2016.4 - Walter Lewis

As in their first two games in Harbin, the U.S. offense started off slow against a Japanese team who had only played one game in the tournament. Team USA took a 9-6 lead into halftime. But the team exploded for 41 points in the second half making one big play after another in marching to the win.

And it started with the passing game.

On the opening possession of the third quarter, U.S. wide receiver Eddie Lewis hauled in pass from quarterback Lindell Stone for 45 yards. On the very next snap, Stone rolled to his left and delivered a perfect pass to Ezekiel Ennis for a 23-yard touchdown.

The drive is just what the U.S. offense needed to get going and Team Japan had no answer for the American offensive second half onslaught.

Running back Walter Lewis scored three touchdowns and the United States defense picked off Japan three times to help seal the win.

“For some reason, we struggle to get things going offensively but once we do, we have great success,” U.S. offensive coordinator Fred Biletnikoff Jr. said. “Our mentality on offense is to have multiple weapons and establish ourselves as versatile team. Today I think we did that.”

Team Canada 28 – Team Mexico 21

IFAF - Under 19 - Canada-Mexico - semifinal action.2

Canada took a 13-0 halftime lead against Team Mexico and then held on the second half to advance to the Under-19 final for the fourth straight time.

Running back Félix Lussier-Roy scored two touchdowns for Canada, one on a spectacular 80 yard run to pace the Canadians. Vincent Blanchard kicked two field goals and Team Canada’s special teams played a huge role.

Late in the opening quarter, Blanchard who also punted, pulled the ball down and took off running giving Canada a first down deep in Mexico’s territory.

When Canada  set up for a field goal on the same possession, Canadian holder Dimitri Morand, who also started at quarterback, pitched the ball forward to Nick Cross who scored giving Canada a 10-0 lead.

After Canada had taken a 28-14 lead in the second half, Mexico scored again with little time left on the clock. However, Canada recovered the onside kick to put away Mexico for the second time in the tournament.

Team Canada now plays the United States in the gold medal final Sunday. This is the fourth time these two teams have met to decide the Under-19 world championship title with Team USA having a 2-1 advantage.

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