USA dominates France; Americans advance at World Championships with convincing win


USA Football’s team captains come out for the coin flip before beating France on Saturday. (Photo by Mark Porter)

Team USA got off to a fine start in the 2009 Junior World Football
Championships with a 78-0 victory over France in a first-round game
played at Canton’s Fawcett Stadium on Saturday.

Yeah, it was that kind of night.

CANTON – As a Virginia Tech football recruit and a 2,000-yard, 35-touchdown back at Danville George Washington High School in Virginia, it would seem that David Wilson does everything at top speed on the gridiron.

After leading Team United States to a 78-0 win over France in the opening round of the 2009 Junior World Championships at Canton’s Fawcett Stadium, Wilson showed he was fast even off the field.

After accumulating a dominating 181 yards on 12 carries with four touchdowns against France, Wilson joined teammate Storm Klein, a Newark Licking Valley graduate and Ohio State recruit at linebacker, in the media room with Team USA head coach Chuck Kyle of Cleveland St. Ignatius. As Kyle and Klein scarfed down their giant hamburgers provided to the team after the game, Wilson simply sat quietly, sans sandwich.

“You’re eating too eh,” Kyle said as he looked down the table at Klein.

“Did you eat,” Kyle asked Wilson?

“Yeah,” Wilson said simply.

“How’d you get in so quick,” Kyle added?

To which a member of the media responded: “He does everything quick.”

Through laughter, Kyle said: “I noticed, yeah. He outran everybody to the lockerroom to get a burger. He outran everybody tonight, he might as well do that to right?”

Enter more laughter.

Team USA had one of those nights where the speed of sandwich eating was just as interesting as the game as the host country dominated at every angle. Offensively, there was the U.S. edge of 610-7 in total offensive yards that included a 405 to minus-31 rushing yards and 205-38 in passing yards.

And with Wilson wowing everyone in attendance, the nail was hammered in the coffin early as the hosts led 24-0 after one quarter, 37-0 at halftime and 50-0 after three quarters with Wilson scoring all of his touchdowns in the those frames.

“I was motivated to have a great game but nothing like this,” said Wilson. “You only dream about playing against another country and having four touchdowns.

“A lot of this came from having great coaches and also having great players on the defensive side of the ball in practice. They give us a lot of trouble in practice and when you get to the game you hope it works and the first play we ran, you see a big break and all the linemen executed and that was perfect and we got a first down on our first play. That gave me a good feeling for the whole rest of the game.”

The United States racked up 27 first downs (18 passing and nine rushing) while France had just five first downs, including two by way of penalty, two passing and one rushing.

The United States was 4 for 6 in third down conversions and held France to no third down conversions in 12 attempts. Although France did go 1 for 1 on fourth down conversions.

“I don’t like games getting like that but I don’t know how I can change that,” Kyle said of the final score. “If you only have 45 guys on your squad … and some of the first round games were higher scores … and certainly the second round games certainly will be closer ballgames.

“But everybody’s playing football and I think it was pretty friendly out there.”
Kyle said that other than his team’s 11 penalties for 110 yards, he was pleased with the performance.

“Overall, this is the first time in a week in a half, almost two weeks, that I could actually turn to these guys and I didn’t have the whistle on and that was fun,” said Kyle. “I didn’t have a whistle on to say, ‘Stop, don’t go, don’t hit him.’ I vowed I would get 45 kids in the ballgame and they would be healthy and they would play.”

Wilson said he enjoyed not only playing with Team USA but watching the other players perform.

“Being able to see other players get in and watch them do their thing, we have a team full of talent and we only have 45 guys on the team, but we have 45 great players on our team,” said Wilson.

Offensively, Wilson was joined by Northern Iowa recruit and West Des Moines Valley (Iowa) graduate Zach Cutkomp in leading the rushing attack with 77 yards and one score while New Castle (Delaware) William Penn graduate Brian Fields, a Western Michigan recruit, tallied two scores among his 42 yards. Las Cruces (New Mexico) graduate and New Mexico State recruit James Hall added 53 yards and a touchdown.

At quarterback, Arkansas State recruit Phillip Butterfield of Lake Hamilton (Arkansas) was 12 of 16 passing for 149 yards and a 9-yard scoring pass to Noel Grigsby, a graduate of Los Angeles Crenshaw (Calif.) High and a future San Jose State Spartan.

Butterfield also had a rushing score with his 60 yards on the ground.

Starting quarterback Bryce Petty, who is headed to Baylor out of Midlothian (Texas), threw for 56 yards, including a 15-yard touchdown to future Baylor teammate Tevin Reese out of Temple, Texas.

Helping to block for all of this talent offensively were three Ohioans in starters Brian Winters of Hudson, who is headed to Kent State and Jack Mewhort of Toledo St. John’s, who is headed to Ohio State as well as Brian Smith of Walsh Jesuit, a Northwestern recruit.

“We’ve had what seems like 100 practice the past two weeks so we’ve had a lot of time to come together and gel and mold up front and I think it showed tonight,” said Mewhort. “Obviously David Wilson’s a great running back, one of the best there is but I feel like we did our part tonight and showed up.”

Defensively, Team USA was led by South Carolina recruit and Columbia, South Carolina native Chris Payne at safety with three tackles for loss, a half sack and 5 ½ tackles.

Safety Corey Lillard of Bealeton (Va.) Liberty High, a Virginia recruit, had four tackles with two interceptions. Klein helped out at linebacker with three tackles (1 ½ for a loss) while fellow Ohioans David Herman of Cincinnati St. Xavier (Holy Cross) and Pat Hinkel of St. Ignatius (Miami of Ohio) tallied two tackles combined at linebacker and safety, respectively.

“We don’t want to be out there that much, that’s a good thing usually when we’re not out there,” Klein said when asked if he minded handing France 3-and-outs nearly everytime he played defense. “Getting in a groove, we came out strong and they didn’t get too many first downs in the first half, that was good. You just go out there and you play when you’re called upon and everybody does their part.”

Klein added that he didn’t take France lightly, despite them being the No. 7 seed.

“I treated France like they were the No. 1 seed, that’s how you have to do it when you go out there and play an underdog team,” said Klein. “They’re probably almost as dangerous as a team that is expected to beat you.”

Mewhort paused when asked if he felt bad for his opponents and then said with a smile: “They’re here to play football and we played football.”

Hard-nosed answer from a leader of a hard-nosed team.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *