Waud and Finch’s big International Bowl adventure

Burlington's Will Finch

Hamilton’s Daryl Waud and Burlington’s Will Finch played key roles in helping World Team to a thrilling and first-time ever 35-29 victory in the International Federation of American Football’s International Bowl.

Finch, the World Team quarterback, completed 11-of-14 passes for 169 yards and a pair of scores to lead the World Team to the victory when a U.S. Under-19 National Team comeback fell just short in the fourth quarter. The game marked Team USA’s first loss in international competition at the senior or junior level, including the 2007 and 2011 IFAF Senior World championships, the 2009 U-19 IFAF World Championship and two previous International Bowls.

Finch found Waud, who moved from his defensive end position to tight end, in the left corner of the end zone for his second touchdown pass of the game, widening the lead to 28-9 with 2:47 to play in the third quarter.

Winnipeg native and current University of Manitoba running back Anthony Coombs rushed for a game-high 147 yards and two touchdowns.

The World Team got first half touchdown catches from Tevaun Smith (Toronto) and Jahlani Gilbert-Knorren (Edmonton) and a rushing touchdown from game MVP Coombs to take a 21-9 commanding halftime lead at Austin, Texas’ Kelly Reeves Sports Complex.

With his 75-yard touchdown reception from Will Finch, Gilbert-Knorren became the first player to score in two International Bowls.

A 12-yard scoring strike by Team USA cut the World lead to 28-16 with 17 seconds left in the third quarter.

Coombs opened the fourth quarter with 62-yard touchdown scamper to extend the lead to 35-16 with 11:48 left in the game.

The game appeared won with a little more than five minutes remaining until the hosts scored twice to move within touching distance of what would have been a dramatic comeback. The World Team recovered an onside kick and ran out the clock before treating second-year head coach Greg Marshall to a Gatorade bath on the sideline, sparking wild celebrations.

“I’m a little numb right now,” said Marshall, head coach of University of Western Ontario Mustangs of Ontario University Athletics.

“I’m just so proud of our coaches and our players. We had one week to come together and execute. We knew we put in a complicated game plan, because we knew we weren’t going to beat them playing straight up. It was a great team effort,” added Marshall, who also coached the OUA McMaster Marauders and the Canadian Football League’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

“This is huge,” Coombs said. “People don’t think anyone can play outside of the United States. This is going to make the US take this event more seriously and it’s also going to inspire tons of little kids around the world. It feels great that we did this.”

The International Bowl is part of Football Canada’s programs of excellence which provides opportunities for Canadian football players to develop and showcase their abilities nationally as well as internationally. Former Team World participants include top CFL prospect Ben Heenan (University of Saskatchewan), Tyler Crapigna (McMaster) who kicked the 2011 Vanier Cup winning field goal in double overtime and quarterback Jérémi Doyon-Roch (Université de Sherbrooke) who was named 2011 RSEQ Rookie of the Year.