Payton Hall and Canadian U18s rout Americans
On Feb. 6 it snowed in Dallas, Texas.
Then two days later the Canadian under-18 national football team beat their American counterparts 53-9 in Arlington, Texas.
It may have been two shocks to the system for Texans, but Canadian under-18 team defensive back Payton Hall felt their win on the gridiron was well-deserved.
"We had depth and size and speed at every position," said Hall, who was born in Caronport. "We just out-played them."
The under-18 game was part of a football jamboree that was held in Arlington.
The day before, the Canadian under-20 team lost 43-7 as the Americans avenged their 23-17 loss in the IFAF Under-19 World Championship final — a Canadian team that featured Moose Jaw's Keegan Arnyek.
The junior national team was preparing for this year's IFAF Under-19 World Championships which will be held in Kuwait in July.
Earlier in the week, the Canadian under-18s out-played the U.S. in a scrimmage at AT&T Stadium, the home of the Dallas Cowboys, before the teams played their actual game at the University of Texas-Arlington.
The teams played under American rules. Playing 11-a-side, Hall moved from his defensive back position to free safety.
"For a DB especially it's a lot different. At the first practice we hopped right into it and you just had to adjust," said Hall. "The football isn't that different, it's just the positioning and where you line up that changes."
Hall moved from Caronport to Regina at the age of 10 and is a Grade 11 student at Campbell Collegiate. This is his second time representing his country. Two years ago he played on an under-15 Team Canada that played in San Antonio, Texas.
"Everyone was a lot bigger and older, so there was a much faster pace," said Hall. "The football was a lot better."
It may not have been his first time going to Texas to wear the maple leaf, but Hall said it's always a huge honour to do so.
"It was a really good experience," said Hall who noted that playing at AT&T Stadium was one of the highlights. The lavish stadium cost $1.3 billion to build and has hosted the Super Bowl and the NBA All-Star game.
"It was unreal. Just walking in there and seeing how massive it is. You look up and the scoreboard is 60 yards long. It's a little different than playing here at Mosaic Stadium," said Hall.
Hall earned his spot on the under-18 national team thanks to his performance at the Football Canada Cup in Moncton this past summer. The annual tournament feature played from the Saskatchewan, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and the Maritime provinces. The 26 players selected for the all-tournament team earned an invite and 14 more players — including Hall — were also added to the roster based on their play at the Canada Cup.
The Under-18s featured six players from Saskatchewan, plus running backs coach Dwayne Masson from the University of Regina.