The U.S. Under-19 National Team is one step away from a gold medal in the 2012 International Federation of American Football Under-19 World Championship after defeating Austria, 70-7, on Wednesday night in Austin, Texas.
The No. 1-seeded Americans will face No. 2 seed Canada at 8 p.m. CT on Saturday, July 7, for the World Championship’s gold medal. Japan will play Austria at 5 p.m. CT Saturday for the bronze medal. All IFAF Under-19 World Championship games are played in Austin’s Burger Stadium and may be viewed free of charge at www.youtube.com/usafootballeducation.
“I think our kids are getting more comfortable with what we do,” Team USA head coach Steve Specht of Cincinnati St. Xavier High School said. “Early in the game, Austria came out and played hard. They played tough to start. I think our team speed wore them down.
“We’ve got to get ready right away for Canada.”
Austria attempted to catch Team USA off-guard with an on-side kick to start the game, but USA linebacker Samuel Douglas fell on the kick at the Austria 42. Four plays later Tarean Folston weaved his way 25 yards through the Austria defense to give the Americans a 7-0 lead 44 seconds into the game.
Austria tied the game late in the first quarter on a 1-yard plunge by Felix Stadler. The drive covered 53 yards in five plays with the big blow being a 36-yard end around by Thomas Torta.
“The fact that the first quarter was tied at 7-7 was quite an achievement,” Austria coach Horst Obermayer said. “At the end of the third quarter it got quite painful, but we felt we had nothing to lose. We had tried to be tricky with the onside kick at the start of the game – we tried everything we could to beat the U.S.”
Team USA retook the lead at 14-7 with just less than seven minutes left in the half on a 1-yard sneak by quarterback Brayden Scott. Running back Lorenzo Woodley did the heavy lifting on the drive, rushing for 36 yards on four carries.
“Austria was a very good opponent,” said Scott, who earned MVP honors for Team USA by completing10-of-17 passes for 129 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for another score.“Give them the respect they deserve. They came out with more intensity than we did. Once we got clicking and knew that they came to play, too, we came out and did our duty and did well.
“We want that gold medal, and we know we won’t get it if we don’t win.”
Austria went deep into the playbook on the next series with receiver Philipp Kern throwing a pass off of a jet sweep, but USA safety Darius Mosely intercepted the pass and returned it 28 yards to the Austria 45. Following a 40-yard run by Conor Hundley, Scott found Folston from five yards out and the USA lead stood at 21-7.
Dashon Hunt intercepted a Christoph Gubisch pass at midfield on the next series and returned it to the Austria 21. Two plays later, Scott hit Rodney Adams with a 19-yard scoring strike for a 28-7 lead with 2:47 left in the half.
Austria looked to run out the clock on the next series but Gubisch fumbled on a sack by Kight Dallas. Lance Duran picked up the loose ball at the Austria 19 and returned it to the 5. Woodley scored one play later for a 35-7 lead going into the break.
Team USA extended the lead to 42-7 on a 39-yard touchdown pass from Scott to Adams on the American’s first series of the third quarter.
Cameron Birse replaced Scott at quarterback on the next series and threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Desmond Wyatt to up the lead to 49-7 with 2:55 left in the third quarter.
Khari Harding picked off Gubisch on the first play of the next series and returned it 18 yards to extend the lead to 56-7. Austria went three-and-out on its next series and Woodley rumbled 47 yards for a score on the first play of the ensuing USA possession for a 63-7 lead with 47 seconds left in the third quarter.
Following another USA interception by Douglas, Birse threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Adams for the final points of the game.
Andreas Hofbauer was Austria’s MVP with 48 yards on 14 carries.