The Canadians made a statement last night in Arlington, Texas, as the U18 squad defeated their American counterparts 44-26. Canada executed in all three facets, registering four turnovers – including a pick-six – while also adding four offensive majors and three field goals. Below are five quick thoughts from the contest.
The Philpot twins from Seaquam Secondary in Surrey B.C. were the standouts offensively for Canada. Running back Jalen churned out big gains on the ground all night and also added a four yard score en route to being named Canada’s MVP. Tyson was just as good, adding a 46-yard touchdown reception on a play where he demonstrated his breakaway speed.
The sons of former BC Lions standout running back Cory Philpot were also a terror in the return game, setting up Canada near midfield on more than one occasion.
Kind of a Biggs deal
Looking at the score, it wouldn’t appear initially that this contest started out as a defensive battle, however that’s exactly how things played out in the first half. The Americans drove 85 yards for a touchdown on their first drive of the game, but were stymied for the most part afterwards. The same could be said for Canada, as the U.S.A’s frequent pressure forced a number of quick throws.
The score was just 11-6 with less than a minute to play in the first half, before defensive back Jacob Biggs of Calgary, Alberta made the play of the game. He was sitting back in zone coverage, and jumped in front of an overthrown pass, taking it all the way into the USA red zone. Canada would score a major a few plays later to take a 13-11 lead – one that they wouldn’t relinquish the rest of the way.
Biggs was also a dangerous kick returner, setting his team up near the 40-yard line on one occasion.
JLP pulls an OBJ
It’s hard not to take notice of receiver Jahsiah Lewis-Pennicooke. The native of Saint-Hubert, Quebec stands at six-foot-five, and he used every bit of his reach in this contest, including making a tremendous diving grab while falling backwards in double coverage. The big gainer set Canada up in the red zone and they would capitalize with a touchdown a few plays later.
I have to give a quick shout out to Montreal, Quebec kicker Logan Couture, who was on his a-game all night long. He converted three field goals, including an impressive 40-yarder to keep his team in the contest early on. It’s worth noting that in American football, the goalposts are at the back of the endzone, making the attempted kick 10 yards further than an average field goal attempt in a Canadian contest.
Making Manitoba proud
Canada’s roster included two Manitobans, in linebacker Eryk Bujalski and defensive end Tyrece Viner-Cox. Both players had an impact on defence, as Viner-Cox demonstrated his motor with a second half sack, while Bujalski stood out in coverage, including a play where he got his inside arm over an American athlete to break up an intended pass in the flats.