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US Under-17 Select Team defeats Team Saskatchewan, 42-15

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A brilliant second-half defensive effort and the potent combination of Joshua Raskin and A.J. Brown powered the U.S. Under-17 Select Team over Team Saskatchewan, 42-15, on Monday evening at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Raskin caught seven passes for 229 yards and three touchdowns, including the final score with less than 4 minutes to play on a 56-yard touchdown grab. Brown rushed 15 times for 139 yards and two touchdowns including a beautiful 59-yard gallop.

Head coach Tyree Spinner was very pleased with the result.

“I’ve been humbled to coach these great young men with a special coaching staff,” he said. “We really wanted to assert ourselves defensively tonight and although they beat us early on a pair of blown coverages, we did a great job tackling all night and really held them in check. And as far as No. 80 (Raskin) goes, well, no one on this field can run with him.”

SEE MORE: Full box score

After being contained somewhat in the first half, Raskin was spectacular throughout the third quarter and his 49-yard touchdown catch with 4:06 to play gave his U.S. Select squad a 20-13 lead. He broke open down the sideline and was hit in stride by Alexander Roush. Raskin then raced to the front pylon for the score.

“Tonight was special not only for the win but just playing with these guys,” said Raskin after receiving MVP honors. “This was a team effort from the opening kick and I’m proud to be part of it.”

Saskatchewan barely moved in the third quarter as quarterback Matthew Wilson struggled to find his rhythm. His interception near the end of the quarter led to another Raskin sprinting exhibition – as in sprinting untouched down the sideline with the football in hand after another long pass.

Brown punched it in to give the U.S. a 28-15 lead entering the fourth quarter. From there, the U.S. pulled away with two additional scores.

Saskatchewan drew first blood when Wilson rolled to his right and found Dominique Dheilly for a 39-yard score midway through the first quarter. The missed point after gave Saskatchewan the early 6-0 lead.

The U.S. Select team jumped on the board following a tough defensive stand when Brown (Grovetown, Ga.) took the handoff and dashed down the sideline for a 59-yard touchdown run thanks to several well-placed blocks. A beautiful touchdown hook up between Stephen Woit and Adam LaBrash pushed the visitors to a 13-7 lead midway through the second quarter.

From there the U.S. put together an impressive drive behind the physical running of Malik Ross (Evanston, Ill.) and Brown and some timely crossing patterns by Noah Page (Eagle Point, Ore.). Page’s reception with less than a minute remaining in the half put the ball at the 2-yard line; his spectacular grab on a Roush (Kansas City, Mo.) bullet on the next play tied the game at 13. The front-on, Tom Dempsey-esque extra point by 290-pound Isaak Gutierrez (Eureka, Calif.) gave the U.S. a lead it would never relinquish.