The International Federation of American Football is currently holding its under-19 world championships in Mexico, and there was a surprising result in the semifinals.
Mexico beat the United States. And not just by a little bit: the final score was 33-6.
It’s the first time Mexico has beaten the American team at this competition – a rare loss for the U.S. in American football, as opposed to the sport the rest of the world calls football and we here in the U.S. call soccer.
U.S. down big at half and never recovered
Mexico built a 23-0 halftime lead behind quarterback Sebastian Hernandez, who threw a 33-yard touchdown to Ivan Gutierrez in the first quarter, was aided by a defensive interception of U.S. quarterback Alek Jacobs, and then got its second touchdown when Team USA went for it on fourth down inside its own 10 and didn’t convert.
Running back Julio Hurtado got a 5-yard touchdown after the turnover on downs.
Hurtado, who has been excellent for Mexico in the tournament, had two touchdowns in the game.
History for Mexico
Not only was it the first time Mexico has beaten the U.S. in the IFAF tournament, it’s also the first time the country has made it to the gold medal final. In two previous meetings, the U.S. had dominated Mexico, winning 55-0 and 49-14. No team has ever scored as many as 33 points on Team USA previously.
Mexico will play Canada for the championship on Sunday; Canada made it to the gold-medal round after beating Japan, 28-22. This is the fifth time the U-19 championships are being held, with the U.S. winning gold in the inaugural event in 2010, and also in 2014. Canada won in 2012 and 2016.
Team USA will play Sweden for the bronze medal.
Team is mix of college and prep players
The American team, coached by Matt Hennesy of Pawhuska High in Oklahoma, beat Australia 38-0 in its opener. The team had a 10-day training camp in Arizona before heading to Mexico for the weeklong tournament.
Jacobs, who plays at Division III Augustana College in Illinois, was chosen as the starter over Jake O’Donnell, who plays at James Madison. Other college players on the roster include University of Arizona linebacker Nathan Amico, Butler cornerback Cameron Browning and Oklahoma State kicker Grant Becker. There are also 22 high schoolers on the roster.
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