The world’s flag football audition to include the sport in The Olympic Games finished with the United States having to share the gold.
The United States men’s team outlasted Italy, 46-36, to capture the gold medal on Thursday night. However, the U.S. fell short of taking home a pair of gold medals as Mexico’s women’s team blitzed the Americans, 39-6, in the nightcap.
Both winners finished the tournament unbeaten.
U.S. quarterback Darrell Doucette threw four touchdown passes and ran for another. Three of his scoring passes went to Bruce Mapp, who had a team-high seven receiving touchdowns during the tournament.
The teams were tied at 24 at halftime. Doucette’s rushing touchdown with just over 11 minutes remaining gave the U.S. the lead for good. The U.S. led, 32-24 after the two-point conversion touchdown was successful.
Mapp’s touchdown reception from Ladderrick Smith and subsequent two-point pass to Johnny Rembert with just over seven minutes left sealed the game.
“At the end of the day, we just figured we’d have to win the game however we need to,” Doucette told USAfootball.com. “No matter if it was me throwing, (Smith) throwing, if it was me running, (Smith) running, we just said, ‘Let’s play our hardest and play our best’ – and that’s what we did.”
On the women’s side, quarterback Vanita Krouch threw a pick-six interception early in the game to set the tone. The interception came one play after a U.S. touchdown pass from Krouch to Crystal Daniels was wiped out because of a penalty.
Krouch, who has come up with clutch throws all tournament, didn’t throw a touchdown pass until late in the final half when she found Nadia Bibbs for a score. By then, Mexico was well in control.
“I’m taking away (from Birmingham) the time we shared as a team, our chemistry, and the victories that we did get,” Krouch said to USAfootball.com. “This (the loss to Mexico) is something that we’ll have to learn from and I will never take for granted the blessing to even be on this stage and have the support of the NFL and The World Games in Birmingham and the people here for letting women play flag football.”
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