Best receiver in Canadian high school football, indeed.
Can you imagine a better Canada Day than the one Laurier's Alex Anthony had in Canada's 38-35 shootout win over Japan today at the IFAF Junior World Championships in Canton, Ohio?
Anthony made big plays all day before making the last big one, hauling in a 33-yard TD pass from Jeremi Doyon-Roch with 16 seconds left to put the Glen Constantin-coached Canucks in Sunday's final vs. the U.S.-Mexico winner. He had to carry defenders over the goal line to do it, too.
From the sounds of it, it was a who-gets-the-ball-last-wins type of game, with a combined 837 yards offence, including more than 600 through the air. Jeremie Doyon-Roch authored a 74-yard drive in the final 90 seconds — after Japan had taken just 1:27 to drive 84 yards for a go-ahead score. Crazy. Let's see the Argonauts and Tiger-Cats match those fireworks.
Canada was nearly done in by Yuichiro Araki, who back in March led Japan to a win over an American team at something called the Global Challenge Bowl. Araki passed 32 times for 285 yards and four touchdowns, three of which covered more than 30 yards. Doyon-Roch, who threw 28 times for 257 yards (9.2 per attempt) and three TDs, was just as good.
Since this is a CIS blog, it's best to point out Anthony and incoming Calgary Dinos tailback Steven Lumbala were big contributors. Anthony, who had team highs with 98 yards on five receptions, kept Canada's first scoring drive going with a catch on a third-and-7 and hauled in a 44-yarder down to Japan's 4-yard line which set up a game-tying TD in the second quarter. Anthony's 31-yard kickoff return also set Canada up for a drive which produced a field goal. Lumbala had his second two-touchdown game in a row, rushing nine times for 52 yards and one score and also catching a 10-yard TD.
Julian Bailey of the Vanier College Cheetahs also put up numbers (82 yards on four receptions).
The Golden Hawks have a bit of a pipeline into B.C., between Anthony and linebacker Mitchell Bosch. There aren't enough hours in the day to keep tabs on every incoming recruit, but Anthony committing to Laurier was big enough to get on the news.
After today, it's a little more fun to picture Anthony lining up alongside Shamawd Chambers, who dazzled as a frosh receiver last fall. Now the Golden Hawks just need to find a QB to get them the ball.
Maybe they can talk to Yuichiro, extend that pipeline across the Pacific!
(Photo via Laurier Football Club, hope they do not mind.)