France 31, Brazil 6
By Brad Bournival
CANTON, Ohio – France was playing in its fourth consecutive International Federation of American Football World Championship on Thursday. It also was the country’s 10th overall game, as the seasoned team took on Brazil.
The Brazilians were brand new to IFAF action and France made sure that point hit home.
With 10 veterans returning to Tom Benson Stadium, the French jumped out early in a resounding 31-6 win.
CLICK HERE: Final Box Score: France 31, Brazil 6
CLICK HERE: To see a photo gallery from the game.
CLICK HERE: To see all the photos from the game.
“Having guys like Guillaume (Rioux) and Anthony (Dable) that have been in big tournaments helps,” French coach Patrick Esume said. “They’re veteran guys. They bring experience to the table. They’re not going to shy away from competition when the lights are on.”
For all intents and purposes, France got all it needed in the first quarter.
Dable introduced Brazil to World Championship action by returning the opening kickoff 102 yards and team MVP Rioux (photo above) drove the point deep when the wide receiver scored two touchdowns in the first quarter to help France forge a 21-0 lead entering the second period.
The return by Dable was the longest play in IFAF World Championship history and the French continued their dominance. By the time halftime rolled around, they were staring at a 24-point lead and already looking ahead to the Australians on Sunday.
“For sure, it’s always important to take the lead like that,” Rioux said. “It takes off all the pressure of the tournament, but at the same time it was a dangerous lead because we slacked off. We have to come out strong, but keep the pace going the whole game.”
That was especially true in the second half as Brazil shook off some first-half jitters and hung with France.
Quarterback Rhudson Fonseca scored Brazil’s first touchdown in IFAF World Championship annals when he scored from 2 yards out in the fourth quarter to trim the lead to 24-6.
But French running back Stephan Yepmo (13 carries, 106 yards) answered from 53 yards out to close the scoring.
French quarterback Paul Durand was 13-of-23 for 157 yards and two touchdowns, while Rioux’s six catches and 79 yards receiving led the way.
“I’m proud of the way the guys fought in the second half,” Brazil coach Danillo Muller Ribeiro said. “I think we made a couple mistakes in the first half. We did a good job in the second half, I’m very proud of the guys.”
Lost in the big-play offense was a French defense led by linebacker Matthieu Fayard (6 tackles, 2 sacks) that allowed 9 yards rushing and 116 yards total offense.
“We said from the get-go, we wanted to have the most physical defense,” Esume said. “If you want to have a physical defense, you have to stop the run.”