Sweden running back Oscar Nevermann
Oscar Nevermann scored a tournament record five touchdowns and finished with 184 all-purpose yards to lead Sweden to a 54-20 win over Panama in the 7th place game of the International Federation of American Football Under-19 Championship at Burger Stadium in Austin, Texas on Friday.
Nevermann earned team MVP honors as he rushed for 50 yards and four scores, caught two passes for 29 yards and a touchdown, returned two punts for 67 yards and one kickoff for 38 yards. Defensively, Nevermann also forced a fumble on the opening kick of the second half.
"Our offense produced very well all day and I managed to get the ball a lot of different ways," said Nevermann. "Our plan was to just win and see that our fans saw what they came to see. Our offensive line played aggressive and hard. That's all you can ask.
"I just hope someone sees me. I would very much like to play in college in the United States.
"This has been a great experience and everything you would want it to be.
Sweden Head Coach Mats Hagsten said of Nevermann: "Oscar had a great day today. We are happy for him and happy he had so many opportunities. We were trying to be as balanced as possible on offense but we know that if we can get the ball to Oscar things are going to happen.
"This was a really good way for things to end for the kids. I'm happy for them. We've got a 27-hour flight home but they'll be happy."
Sweden got on the board on its opening drive, marching 48 yards in five plays and reaching the end zone on a 25-yard run by Carl Nielsen for a 7-0 lead.
Panama took an 8-7 lead late in the first quarter on a 69-yard touchdown pass from Rodrigo Hernandez to Anthony Evans and a two-point conversion rush by Manuel Gil.
Sweden answered on its next drive, moving 54 yards in seven plays to take a 14-8 lead on a four-yard run by Nevermann with 9:34 left in the first half.
Nevermann set Sweden up at the Panama 35 with a 27-yard punt return and three plays later caught a 26-yard touchdown pass from Christopher Guillen. Samuel Lehto's two-point conversion rush failed and the lead stood at 20-8 midway through the second quarter.
After a Panama three-and-out Nevermann returned the next punt 54 yards to the Panama one then dove into the end zone on first down. The point after was blocked by Gilberto Cano to keep the score at 26-8 with 4:30 left in the half.
Quarterback Rodrigo Henriquez drove Panama 74 yards on nine plays, completing 4 of 6 passes for 62 yards on the drive and sneaking in from a yard out to cut the lead to 26-14 after a failed two-point conversion attempt.
"Especially for the older guys, those of us who are 19, this is our last game, and I wanted to enjoy it," said Henriquez who was named his team's MVP of the game as he completed 17 of 34 passes for 310 yards and two touchdowns. "We love football. We have a lot of heart to the end. I'm proud of our guys.
"It is a privilege to be here, from the organization to the teams to the coaches. It is the best experience I've had in my life."
Panama's Manuel Gil returned the opening kickoff of the second half 64 yards to the Sweden 34 but had the ball stripped away by Nevermann and it was recovered by Erik Silijeholm at the Sweden 30.
"Turnovers killed us, and we had to open things up," said Panama head coach Raul Arosemena. "We had to get out of our game plan. We had planned to run the ball more but ended up throwing.
"No doubt about it. This was a great opportunity. They now know what it takes to come out and play these teams, to get better. It is a learning experience for all of us, even the coaches."
Kevin Dillman entered the game at quarterback for Sweden to start the half and directed a 10-play 70-yard drive that ended with a 22-yard touchdown run by Carl Nielsen for a 33-14 lead with 6:12 left in the third quarter.
Sweden forced a Panama fumble on its next series and it was recovered at the Panama 20 by Tobias Asp. Nevermann rumbled 20 yards for his fourth touchdown of the day on the next play to extend the lead to 40-14.
Following another short Panama punt, Sweden again began a drive in Panama territory, this time at the 43. Sweden used 4:38 to move those 43 yards to the end zone. The final three coming a on three-yard run by Dillman to give Sweden a 47-14 lead early in the fourth quarter.
Panama cut the lead to 47-20 on a 36-yard touchdown pass from Henriquez to Roberto Porteus with 6:53 left in the game.
Nevermann scored his final touchdown of the day on a six-yard run with 3:34 left in the game. The score was set up by an interception by linebacker Marcus Grip.