If he were texting the International Federation of American Football representatives in charge of seeding the first-ever Junior World Championships, United States linebacker and co-captain Storm Klein of Newark Licking Valley and Ohio State University would have sent his message in all caps to express his sentiments for the future: USA 41, CANADA 3.
CANTON – If he were texting the International Federation of American Football representatives in charge of seeding the first-ever Junior World Championships, United States linebacker and co-captain Storm Klein of Newark Licking Valley and Ohio State University would have sent his message in all caps to express his sentiments for the future: USA 41, CANADA 3.
“Whoever ranked us No. 2, hopefully next time they have something like this he thinks about that next time before he puts us down No. 2,” said Klein after his second-seeded U.S. team dominated top-seeded Canada 41-3 Sunday in the Gold Medal game at Canton’s Fawcett Stadium. “I think our game and what happened out on the field speaks for itself and we’re No. 1.
“We went out there and we had something to prove.”
Co-captain Bryce Petty, quarterback and Baylor freshman out of Midlothian, Texas agreed.
“I think that right there, that’s motivation, 41-3,” added Petty pointing towards the Fawcett Stadium scoreboard. “Coming into this, that was everybody’s motivation, Canada being No. 1 and us being No. 2. This is America’s sport, this is our sport and I think we showed that today.”
Head coach Chuck Kyle of St. Ignatius said his team was mentally prepared since beating Mexico 55-0 on Wednesday.
“After we won the second game all the players knew, game’s on, it’s Canada — they’re good, they’re players and they know what they’re doing,” said Kyle. “This was going to be a battle.
“And I have to give the kids credit. The next day after Mexico we were without equipment on but it was clearly saying, ‘We need to start a gameplan now and we need total focus on what we need to accomplish.”
Starting safety Pat Hinkel, a recent graduate of St. Ignatius and a Miami of Ohio recruit, said he can’t fully express the joy he had wearing the gold medal.
“It’s a great feeling,” he said. “All the hard work we put in, it just feels great to share this moment with all of my teammates. We all met three weeks ago and it could have been tough to get that team chemistry but it seemed to be no problem. I think we all came together for one goal and we accomplished that goal, we won the gold.”
The United States continued its dominance just as it did in its win over Mexico and in its 78-0 opening-round win over France. The hosts had 408 total yards of offense (318 passing, 90 rushing) to just 49 for Canada (57 passing, minus-8 rushing) while holding an 18-5 first down lead and holding the top seed to 0 for 10 on third-down conversions.
Petty was a perfect 14 for 14 in passing for 190 yards and three touchdowns while Phillip Butterfield, headed to Arkansas State, was 11 of 18 for 128 more yards and another score.
Asked if he had ever gone perfect in a game before, Petty just laughed.
“Negative, not even close,” said Petty with a smile. “The thing about 14-for-14 that goes unnoticed is about 12 of those were a five-yard hitch that they just turned and went up the field. What I’m saying is, we’ve got athletes, I have nothing to do with it. I’m just so blessed to be a part of this and have the athletes around me that can do that type of thing.”
Kyle said his team, which had previously dominated its opponents on the ground with more than 300 yards and seven touchdowns by the Virginia Tech-bound David Wilson, took what Canada gave them.
“For us offensively, Canada came and decided they were going to try and stop our running attack and they were clogging the paths with an eight-man front,” said Kyle. “And you know, you take what the defense gives you so Ok, we’re going to throw the short, little passes and let our athletes get something done with it. And 14-of-14, that’s ok, that works.”
The U.S. led 8-0 out the gates as Petty connected with Jamal Davis on a 17-yard pass at the 11:07 mark and Canada, pinned into its own endzone in a punting scenario, chose to take a safety.
After a Canada field goal made it 8-3, the U.S. got a 29-yard Wilson run on a nifty option pitch by Petty to close out the first up 15-3.
A Mike Loftus field goal to end the half put the hosts up 18-3 at the intermission.
In the third quarter, the United States tacked on with touchdown passes of 47 and 34 yards by Petty to Kevin Cummings and Erik Lora, respectively. In the fourth quarter, Canada took another safety and Butterfield hit Northwestern-bound John Plasencia.
In the end, it was another easy win for the U.S. team.
Starting offensive lineman Brian Winters of Hudson also felt pride in wearing the gold medal not only for the United States but as one of six players from Ohio as well.
“Everyone traveled from far distances but me, just sitting here, being able to walk out my back door basically and coming out here to play and represent my country, it’s been an honor,” said Winters.
Kyle said he was proud of how his team came together.
“What you saw here, this was not an all-star team,” said Kyle. “I’m going to look you in the eye and I’ll tell you that til the day I die, this was not an all-star team, not at all. This was a team that had about a week and a half to two weeks to get ready for a first game. And kids came from all over America with a couple things that bind you together. The love for the game of football and the love of your country. That was a team you saw out there today.”