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FOOTBALL: Team USA defeats Japan in two OTs

The United States Senior National Football Team (3-0) defeated Japan (2-1) 23-20 in double-overtime Sunday evening in Kawasaki, Japan, to win the 2007 International Federation of American Football (IFAF) World Championship.

The United States Senior National Football Team (3-0) defeated Japan (2-1) 23-20 in double-overtime Sunday evening in Kawasaki, Japan, to win the 2007 International Federation of American Football (IFAF) World Championship.

For Team USA, the country's first American Football national team, the win earns America an IFAF World Championship in its tournament debut. Japan won each of the previous two tournaments in 1999 and 2003.

Playing on the Team USA is Greg Aker, a native of Superior. Aker also played college football at the University of Minnesota-Duluth.

Trailing 10-7 at halftime, U.S. quarterback Adam Austin engineered a 17-yard scoring drive, culminating in a 35-yard Craig Coffin field goal to tie the score at 10-10. Team Japan responded with a 46-yard TD drive to take a 17-10 lead with 7:07 left in regulation. Austin rallied his teammates again for an 11-play, 80-yard drive capped by a five-yard Kyle Kasperbauer touchdown run to tie the game at 17-17 with 2:51 remaining. The Japanese team concluded regulation with a three-and-out possession, thanks in large part to a five-yard loss on first down at the hands of U.S. defensive tackle Shelton Bynum.

Both teams scored field goals in their first overtime possessions. Defensive tackle Chris Thorner deflected Japan's second-overtime field goal attempt, which opened the door for Coffin's game-winning kick.

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"It's really hard to express how I feel right now," said Japanese coach Toshiaki Abe, whose team suffered its first loss in nine IFAF World Championship games, dating back to 1999. "We've had our target set on the United States since March."

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