Team World upset Team USA in the International Bowl 35-29 on Feb. 1, thanks in large part to the contributions of two Bison football players selected to represent the World in Houston, Texas.
Bison defensive end Evan Gill and running back Anthony Coombs both had outstanding games, playing against the top under-19 NCAA prospects from around the U.S. in a four-down football match up.
Gill led the Team World defence with three unassisted tackles (two for a loss), one quarterback sack and a fumble recovery. Meanwhile, Coombs earned World MVP honours for his performance, as he ran for a game high 147 yards on 14 carries and two touchdowns including a 62-yard touchdown scamper that put Team World up 35-16 early in the fourth quarter.
Coombs credited some of his success to Team World’s offensive plan, which was very similar to the offence he’s familiar with playing for Manitoba, but also gave credit to the offensive linemen who were able to open up the running lanes that he exploited.
“It was crazy,” Coombs said, “It took a while to sink in, to realize that we beat the kids that everybody talks about, these kids are all over the press.
“We’re just a bunch of kids from countries — who don’t even speak the same language — put together for four days and we were able to put together a pretty good offensive scoring machine and great defence. It felt incredible.”
The historic nature of the victory was not lost on the players. Football is huge in the United States, and Team USA came into the game never having lost in international competition. When Team World jumped out to a 21-9 lead heading into halftime, needless to say that many American observers were shocked.
“There are a lot of individuals on (Team USA). They’re all going to their big name schools,” said Gill, describing the reaction of the American players as the international team took control of the game, “Panic set in. Once they saw the score was 28-9, you could tell that they were kind of panicking a bit. They were in shock.”