Team Canada’s U19 squad showed grit, composure and consistency on the gridiron to secure the International Federation of American Football World Championship in Mexico City on July 22.
The victory also earned Canada the honour of being the first nation in IFAF history to win back-to-back championships and the winningest country in the tournament’s history.
Neither the partisan home crowd nor the renowned elevation of Mexico City seemed to affect Team Canada as the team was able to grind out a 13-7 victory over Mexico.
An early field goal by Montreal’s Antoine Couture and a touchdown by Seaquam Secondary grad Tyson Philpot seemed to cement Team Canada’s lead, but a controversial targeting penalty on Jalen Philpot, called during his brother’s play, saw one of the team’s brightest stars ejected from the game and Tyson’s touchdown taken off the board.
“To everyone on the sidelines, it looked clean. Apparently on the Canadian livestream, even the commentators were saying how it was a clean hit,” Tyson Philpot told the North Delta Reporter.
Sensing a shift in momentum, the imposing Mexican team used their physicality to stifle the work of Canadian running back Freud Jean Ernst César, making him earn every yard.
But with five minutes left before the end of the first half, Team Canada’s quarterback, Andreas Dueck of Hamilton, Ont., found his opening and passed to César for the touchdown.
Thanks to a PAT (Point After Touchdown) by Couture, Canada took a 10-0 lead just before halftime.
Team Mexico rallied to start the second half, earning consecutive sacks on their adversaries, and two big passes by quarterback Sebastian Hernandez brought the team within spitting distance of the end zone.
Running back Alan Reyes scored the first Mexican touchdown, but another field goal by Couture in the fourth quarter gave Canada a little breathing room and brought the score to 13-7.
Feeling the pressure, the Mexican team played with tenacity, but with 79 yards to cover and only seconds left on the clock they were unsuccessful at tying the game up.
“We were faced with many obstacles, from my brother being ejected and the penalties, but I think over the two weeks that we were there we became like a family and we were able to overcome everything and win the gold,” Tyson Philpot said.
“As a group that came together in a short time, the bonding and ability to come together as a team was amazing to watch,” said Team Canada head coach Steve Sumarah. “The players were very committed and played their hearts out, especially in the final against the home team from Mexico with almost 30,000 fans at the game. A lot of great work by the coaches and staff to get the team together and ready to play.”
Sumarah praised the Philpot brothers for their passion, energy and performance on the world stage, describing Tyson and Jalen as “unstoppable in the tournament.”
“Both played significant roles in helping us win. Their contributions on offense and special teams separated them from the other players throughout the world.”
Philpot added that working with Team Canada’s coaches helped to improve his football IQ and has set him up for a successful season with the University of Calgary Dinos.
Tyson and Jalen Philpot will be returning to the Lower Mainland for a game against the UBC Thunderbirds on Sept. 22, 2018.