A first-half inability to finish drives was rectified at halftime as No. 2 seed Canada scored five second-half touchdowns on its way to a 43-0 win over Sweden on Saturday in Game 3 of the 2012 IFAF U19 World Championship.
Canada went into the locker room with a 243-6 advantage in total offense but led only, 10-0. Four penalties, including a holding call that nullified a 96-yard touchdown return on the opening kickoff, a lost fumble and a Sweden defensive stop on fourth down inside the 5-yard line kept Sweden in the game.
Canada finished with 538 yards of total offense, the second highest single-game total in IFAF U-19 championship history and will now face Japan in a semifinal July 4 for a place in the gold medal game. Sweden plays France on July 3.
“I think we started out slow, but we regrouped,” Canada head coach Noel Thorpe said. “That’s not how we wanted to start the game. The players realized this is team football and that it takes 11 on the field and 45 on the team to make this thing happen. We regrouped at halftime, and I think you saw the results when we came out.
Canadian quarterback Will Finch completed 4-of-5 passes for 59 yards in Canada’s opening two series. But despite a total offense advantage of 140-7 at the end of the opening quarter, Canada found itself in a scoreless tie entering period two.
Quarterback Hugo Richard, who relieved Finch, led an 80-yard scoring drive that he ended with a 3-yard plunge into the end zone to give Canada a 7-0 lead with 11:03 to go in the second quarter.
Sweden tried to hold Canada to a single touchdown heading into halftime, but Canada made use of all three of its timeouts on Sweden’s final first-half drive to force a punt. A low snap forced Sweden punter Linus Carlbom to a knee as he fielded the ball, ending the play and giving Canada a first down at Sweden’s 11-yard line with seven seconds left in the half.
Canada immediately brought on kicker Louis-Philippe Simoneau, who connected on a 27-yard field goal to give the Canadians a 10-0 halftime cushion.
Canada wasted no time finding the end zone on its first series of the second half. Mercer Timmis broke loose on a 63-yard touchdown run to extend the lead to 17-0.
Sweden put together its first sustained drive of the game as Kevin Dillman led a 12-play drive that reached Canada’s 14-yard line, but a sack and a penalty forced Sweden into a 34-yard field goal attempt that was pushed wide.
“It was a great game despite the fact we lost,” Dillman said. “We’ve just got to have confidence in our playbook and make plays. I think we’ll be ready for the next game on Tuesday.”
Canada took over at its own 20 following the miss, and three plays later Finch found Doug Corby for a 78-yard scoring strike that stretched the lead to 23-0. The touchdown pass is the longest in IFAF U19 Championship history.
Richard then returned to the game and led Canada on an 80-scoring drive that again ended with the quarterback finding the end zone on a 1-yard run to give Canada a 30-0 lead with 8:33 to play.
Canada added another score with 7:02 to go when A’dre Frazer blocked a Carlbom punt and Kevin McGee returned it 4 yards for a touchdown and a 37-0 lead.
Corby earned MVP honors for Canada, finishing with four catches for 131 yards and a touchdown. Defensive back Anton Bengtsson earned MVP honors for Sweden as he posted eight tackles, including five solo stops.