The World Team, chosen from participants at the IFAF U19 World Development Team Camp held in Arlington, Texas, fell 20-15 in the final minute at AT&T Stadium, home to the NFL Dallas Cowboys. In a dramatic finish, following a World Team punt past midfield with two minutes to go Trent Green Jr. drove the USA Select team from its own 48-yard line to the World Team 8 where he eluded the rush and found Brian Nichols who fought through a tackle at the 2-yard line with :39 seconds to go to score the winning points for the US. It was a tough setback for the World Team who played the USA squad competitively and valiantly.
“Our guys worked so hard and selflessly all week. As it came down the stretch I really wanted this for them,” commented World Team coach Jim Barnes from American Football Worldwide. “The international players this week learned how to compete at the highest level in taking on a US-representative team at their game and on their turf. The next step is to learn how to get over that final hump to secure the victory. These players are clearly ‘knocking on the door’.”
The stage was set for the exciting finish when with less than 8-minutes to play, World Team quarterback and team MVP Carlos Alberto Farias Fernandez from Mexico hit Nikolaus Knehs from Austria on a 72-yard strike down the boundary to give the World Team a 15-14 lead. Following the touchdown, the World Team went for two and was denied, but a penalty on the US gave the World Team another opportunity. The next play converted, but an infraction took the points off the board and a subsequent 2-point attempt from the 16-yard line failed with a pass broken up in the corner of the end zone.
Earlier in the game after a scoreless and evenly fought 1st quarter, the World Team put together a strong drive with runs from Jack Marton from Australia and some crafty passing from Fernandez which was capped off with an eight yard touchdown run by Anton Wengen from Austria.
The USA Select team responded with a drive later in the 2nd quarter and on 4th and one converted when USA MVP Scotty Forbes bounced off the pile and got outside the scrum to fall across the goal line for the tying score.
The only turnover of the well-played game was created with a strip and fumble recovery by the World Team defense near midfield with less than a minute to play in the 1st half. A pass put the ball inside the USA 30 yard line. Moments later the World Team just missed connecting in the end zone with 4 seconds to play and on the last play of the half their 36-yard field goal attempt was wide right.
In the 3rd quarter after a well placed punt by Koki Norita of Japan, the World Team defense stiffened and on the ensuing USA punt attempt a snap went over the head of their punter eventually through the end zone putting the World Team in the lead at 9-7. However, later in the quarter a 29 -yard pass from Forbes to Quez Henson gave the US a 14-9 lead. That is when the final drama of the exciting game played out in the 4th quarter.
After the World Team took back the lead 15-14, their defense turned back two subsequent US drives into their territory before the final, decisive US drive and score.
“Our play on Saturday reflected that we accomplished so much with these young men this past week. We did not have a major breakdown in any phase. There were no turnovers on offense, we were not victimized by big plays for points on defense and our special team play was really sound. Of importance, we played with great cohesion. These boys played fundamentally sound, together football that would make any coach proud. I know they will return home with some valuable lessons for their countrymen and teammates elevating American football around the world,” stated Coach Barnes.
The IFAF World Team was comprised of players from a remarkable 25 different countries including France, Denmark, England, Spain, Serbia, Slovakia, Poland, Sweden, Italy, Netherlands, Mexico, Switzerland, Austria, Japan, Brazil, Norway, Belgium, Czech Republic, Kuwait, New Zealand, Portugal, South Korea, Canada, Croatia and China.