Things Just Dont Seem 2 Be In Reach 4 The Austrians =(
Canada mjoined Japan at the top of Group B after a 36-14 win over Austria, but were made to fight for every yard against a determined host nation spurred on by a 4,500-strong crowd at the UPC Arena in Graz.
Canada will face two-time champion and 2007 runner up Japan in Graz on Wednesday and the winner will play for the 2011 IFAF Senior World Championship Gold Medal.
Running back Matt Walters claimed two rushing touchdowns and 74 yards on 9 carries and the MVP award for Canada, while receiver Jakob Dieplinger and running back Mario Nerad delighted the home crowd by breaching the end zone. Canadian quarterback Mike Faulds put in an impressive performance, completing 17 of 24 pass attempts for 233 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Heuter took the Autrian MVO honors, leading the team with 6.5 tackles including one for a loss, while offensively Dieplinger had 87 receiving yards and Florian Grein gained 65 on the ground.
With one safe pair of hands and better tackling, Austria might have gone into the locker room level at halftime and would have been frustrated to reach the break without points on the board.
Austria punted away their opening possession and then helped Canada to reach advantageous field position with a personal foul on the return. Running back David Stevens looked tohave made significant yardage on a rush over left tackle, but fumbled and Christoph Schreiner recovered for the host nation.
Austria was unable to move the chains and in reply, Canada moved 7-0 ahead. Quarterback Mike Faulds dropped a 52-yard bomb beyond the Austrian secondary and having beaten the coverage with his speed, Scott Valberg reeled the ball in for a touchdown.
The Austrian offense showed glimpses of being able to move the ball as Armondo Ponce de Leon picked up a first down and a screen pass to Dieplinger and came up just short of moving the chains, forcing the hosts to punt.
When Austria had the ball again, Grien’s gain was tempered by a sack of Christian Gross for a loss of eight yards by Jake Thomas, and when Ponce de Leon made headway on a crossing route a dead ball personal foul proved costly.
Canada’s rushing attack was stopped on fourth and inches, but Austria was also unable to move the ball in three downs.
The Austrian defense looked to be stifling Canada’s passing attack, but could not prevent Faulds from rushing for first down yardage on third down, even as he fumbled and Alexandre Poirier recovered at the 32.
Running back Matt Walters then rode a tackle by Philip Stojaspal, who failed to wrap him up on a screen pass and weaved his way 32 yards to the end zone, opening a 14-point lead that was rough justice on Austria.
The hosts should have halved the deficit by halftime. Dieplinger made a significant gain down the left sideline with less than a minute remaining and only Shane Hall’s desperate tackle prevented him from racing to the end zone.
With the clock ticking, Gross marginally overthrew Maximilian Herdey on a corner route from 12 yards out and the ball then bounced agonizingly off the hands of Andreas Proeller on a similar play.On third down while under pressure, Gross was intercepted by Joel Lipinski in the end zone to end the Austrian challenge.
Sammy Okpro came up with an interception to end Austria’s opening second half drive as Gross and Proeller’s timing was off and although a 15-yard penalty after the play moved ball back to midfield, Canada pounded down to the five –yard mark on a steady drive.David Stevens bruised his way up the middle, and was stopped only inches from crossing the plain, but then a string of five consecutive penalty flags shared between the two teams moved the ball back and forth.
Faulds eventually went high to the end zone aiming for Shamawd Chambers where a flurry of flags signaled pass interference. After Valberg had been denied a catch in the end zone as Michael Suess legally held him up inches from the plain, Stevens breached the end zone for a 21-0 lead.
After Austria went three and out, holding penalties backed Canada to their own six, but then a late hit on Faulds earned some breathing space and 15 yards. Only a relentless sack of Faulds by Simon Blach after another flurry of yellow flags forced Canada to punt.
Austria finally and deservedly put points on the board when going for broke on fourth and ten. Gross hit has favorite target Deiplinger on a 27-yard connection to delight the home crowd. But Faulds went 20 yards better to stamp out any faint hopes of a home comeback with a 47-yard pass beyond the secondary to Chambers for his first scoring catch of the night making it 28-7.
Austria refused to go down without a fight and Nerad of the hometown Graz Giants found his way behind good blocks to score from a yard out and reduce the deficit to 14 points with 4:18 still to play. But the drive might have cost Austria as starting running back Grein limped out injured.The resulting onside kick flew out of bounds.
Still eager to put the game away, Faulds scrambled for a first down and then Walters took advantage of a series of missed tackles to race through the middle to the five-yard mark and then took the ball to within a yard of the end zone.. The relentless. Austrian defense and a penalty moved Canada backwards but that opened up the field for a misdirection play and Walters jogged in unopposed from six yards out to make it 34-14. A bad snap led to holder Jedd Gardiner running in an unexpected two point conversion for the final score of 36-14.