A brief history of the International Bowl games organized by Global Football
In 2011, the Marlins from Panama won the International Friendship Bowl gold medal with a thrilling 22-14 overtime victory over Team Ontario from Canada at the 55th annual Pop Warner Super Bowl.
In the Bronze Medal battle between two Mexican teams, Tec CEM came out on top against Tec Puebla with a 36-point shutout. The Team Ontario Midgets played in an uncategorized game against New England, losing 43-13 having won earlier in the week against Mid-America. Panama’s Marlins had defeated Tec Puebla 28-0 on Thursday and scored a combined 62 points and conceded only six on their way to the final. Their Canadian opposition saw off the challenge of Tec CEM by a score of 38-0 on Thursday.
In 2012 the Canadian all-star team selected from across Ontario triumphed, having been dominant throughout the event after surviving a brief scare in a 12-6 opening game win over the eventual second-placed Puebla from Mexico. Puebla recorded a 2-1 finish, with their athleticism proving too much for all but the Canadians.
FADEMAC produced an inspired performance against Canada, but had committed too many turnovers in an earlier loss to Puebla, so finished third with a 1-2 mark. Despite drawing from a squad of only 14 players, fellow Mexican team Xalapa fought hard in every game, finishing 0-3.
The championship remained north of the border in 2013 as Canada East had too much firepower for their Canada West rivals and stormed to a 36-point shutout victory in the final of the championship game.
Canada East (3-0) controlled the line of scrimmage against Canada West (2-1) and their dominant running game proved the difference after both teams had entered the final with a 2-0 record and 54 points scored.
The games featuring teams with a 1-1 record going into the finale saw Mexico 1 (2-1) edge a Toluca (1-2) team that was involved in three close games this week by a score of 18-14. Toluca, who won their opening game 26-20 in overtime and lost a heartbreaker in the second round in the dying minutes to a late touchdown were edged out again despite some impressive passing displays. Panama (2-1) won for the second straight game, beating Queretero (1-2) from Mexico 28-6 to tie for third overall in the final standings. Completing the final day of games, Puebla (1-2) beat the international section’s youngest team Mexico 2 (0-3) with 34 unanswered points against FEDEMAC.
In 2014, Mexican team Toluca emerged unbeaten to be crowned champions of the International Bowl Midget division. A record number of nine international teams traveled to Florida and for the first time, the United Arab Emirates was represented at the 58th prestigious annual event, alongside regular competitors from Canada and Mexico.
Toluca posted a 3-0 record with a 29-0 victory over Queretaro, adding to wins earlier in the week over the Emirates American Football League Falcons from UAE and fellow Mexicans Puebla. Mexico City posted a final record of 2-1 having blanked the previously unbeaten Team Canada 26-0 on Saturday, while Puebla also finished at 2-1 by beating the EAFL Falcons 26-0. In the Junior Midget division, Mexico City and Puebla were both unbeaten with 2-0 records, with EAFL finishing 0-2 on their first venture at the Pop Warner Super Bowl.
2015 saw a Canadian team retain the sixth annual International Bowl Midget Division title with a hard-fought 8-6 win over Mexico Azul. The Canadians, whose team has participated in every year of the international games, held an 8-0 halftime lead they managed to protect, while cheered on by large traveling support, despite a determined comeback attempt launched by Azul.
Mexico scored on an 80-yard touchdown run with 3:36 remaining, but the extra point kick, worth two points under Pop Warner rules, was blocked, denying overtime and sealing the win for Canada. Mexico City, winless before Saturday’s final games, secured victories in both the Midget and Junior Midget categories, beating Queretaro 6-0 in the Midget age group and then the EAFL Falcons 9-6 in the Junior Midget Division.
Mexico Azul’s younger team claimed the Junior Midget title in dramatic style with a 70-yard touchdown pass as time expired, having trailed the EAFL Falcons 7-0. Azul won the game and the division with a two-point kick, while the Falcons took the runners up spot over Mexico City.