Team USA gets three TDs from defense en route to berth in gold medal game


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

The United States defense stepped up when its offense sputtered in a
55-0 rout of Mexico in the second round of the Junior World
Championships Wednesday night at Canton’s Fawcett Stadium. Playing in front of 11,218 fans, the United States scored three
defensive touchdowns while Virginia Tech signee David Wilson continued
his assault on the FieldTurf at Fawcett.

Usually a reserved player, dominating in his physical stature, not his shy demeanor, Ohio State signee Jack Mewhort didn’t know how to react when he was sitting silently in the United State’s lockerroom prior to playing Mexico Wednesday night and head coach Chuck Kyle of St. Ignatius handed him something.

It was an American flag.

The 6-foot-6, 280-pound Toledo St. John’s graduate couldn’t contain himself.

“I was just in the locker room getting ready for the game and coach Kyle came over with the flag and said, ‘You’re taking it,’” Mewhort, a starting offensive lineman for the U.S., said. “I walked to the front, and I’m not normally a real emotional guy, I usually go out there pretty calm but carrying that flag, in front of all these people, on our way to the gold medal round, it just got to me. I went nuts. It was awesome.”

Mewhort and his teammates were awesome for the second-straight game as they dominated Mexico 55-0 in front of 11,128 fans at Canton’s Fawcett Stadium to earn a spot in Sunday’s Gold Medal game against top-seeded Canada, which narrowly edged Japan 38-35 in the game preceding the U.S. victory.

Defensively, the United States held Mexico to just 43 yards on 35 plays with a bone-crushing minus-28 yard rushing total. The only thing standing in the way of the U.S. team for the second-straight game were penalties. After racking up 11 penalties for 110 yards in a 78-0 win over France in the first round, they had 15 for 160 yards on Wednesday, including several personal fouls.

“I’ve gotta look at the film and I want to talk to some of the officials and I just want to straighten out what’s the difference between high school and international,” said Kyle. “Maybe I’m misinterpreting something there.

“I think there was some frustration, you started feeling like, ‘What’s going on here?’ And that was a big distraction. We lost focus on playing football and other things.”

Virginia Tech signee David Wilson continued his assault on the FieldTurf at Fawcett.

Wilson, who had four scores and 180 yards in the team’s win over France, tallied 146 yards and touchdowns of 50, 36 and 25 yards in this win. He seemingly could have scored everytime he touched the ball.

“You can mess up and he’ll still make you look good,” said Kent State signee and Hudson graduate Brian Winters of the Danville (Virginia) George Washington graduate. “He’s a great athlete. He’s a freak. He’s a freak. That’s all there is to say about it.”

Wilson talked about his work ethic.

“It may appear easy, but I put in a lot of hard work on and off the field,” he said. “There are a lot of things that I go through that people don’t see, the sweat and the struggle. Each time I step on the field, I want to be that much better.”

Kyle gave credit to the team’s offensive line, which features starting Ohioans Winters and Mewhort and Walsh Jesuit’s Brian Smith, a Northwestern signee.

“The kids are really gelling together as a unit pretty nicely and with the full belief that you have David Wilson behind you, you get that seam and the kid is gone,” said Kyle.

Smith said Wilson is unbelievable.

“I don’t think he’s human, to be honest,” Smith said of Wilson. “Blocking for him, you don’t even have to do anything. You get a hand on a guy and it’s like, ‘Bye David, see ya.’ You watch highlight films of (New Orleans Saints running back) Reggie Bush and (West Virginia running back) Noel Devine on YouTube and I’ve never seen anyone do any of the things David can do. Maybe that’s overstated but he’s incredible. He’s going to be something special.”

The United States also scored three times defensively as Robert Bell was Mr. Everything. The Michigan native and Toledo signee scored on a 53-yard touchdown pass from Baylor signee Bryce Petty in the first quarter and added a 10-yard fumble recovery at linebacker in the second quarter as the United States led 41-0 at halftime. Wilson turned in all of his touchdowns in the first half.

“The defense putting up points on the board tonight was nice to see,” said Kyle. “Mexico came out throwing and putting the pressure on and the ball may not be as sharp as typical timing they have and that ended up being a factor.”

In the third quarter, the United States got a 27-yard interception return for a score by Jordan Poyer of Oregon State while in the fourth frame, Petty tossed a 27-yard scoring pass to Aaron Yobson, who is headed to Marshall out of South Charleston, West Virginia.

Kyle said he was proud of the effort put forth by his 45 players after playing their second game in five days.

“Our kids are not used to coming back three days later and we had to come right back,” said the veteran St. Ignatius coach. “I was a little worried how the emotion would be but by the time we got out on the field they were ready to play.”

The U.S. tallied 433 total yards of offense as Petty and Arkansas State signee Phillip Butterfield combined to complete 13 of 19 passes for 212 yards. The U.S. defense held Mexico to just four first downs while totaling 17 themselves and also had two interceptions and two forced fumbles. The U.S. also had eight sacks totaling 46 yards of loss and 10 tackles for loss for 50 yards.

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