富士通フロンティアーズ LIXIL DEERS アサヒビールシルバースター 東京ガスクリエイターズ 警視庁イーグルス 富士ゼロックスミネルヴァAFC
オービックシーガルズ IBM BigBlue ノジマ相模原ライズ オール三菱ライオンズ 明治安田PentaOceanパイレーツ BULLSフットボールクラブ
パナソニック インパルス エレコム神戸ファイニーズ アサヒ飲料チャレンジャーズ アズワンブラックイーグルス 名古屋サイクロンズ クラブホークアイ
TOP > Game Report > Around the League: Wrapup of Week 5 Action

Game Report

Around the League: Wrapup of Week 5 Action


Meiji Yasuda PentaOcean Pirates wide receiver Kenichi Onuki dives for a 21-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter against the Bulls Football Club in Fukushima. (Photo by MIPLanning)





With the completion of the fifth week of games, four teams—the Fujitsu Frontiers, Obic Seagulls, Lixil Deers and Panasonic Impulse—have clinched one of the eight spots from the Super 9 in the Japan X Bowl tournament. The other four places, and two wild-card berths from the Battle 9, will be decided in the sixth and final round of games on Oct. 29-30.


Fujitsu Frontiers 34, Elecom Kobe Finies 0: Backup quarterback Keiya Hiramoto completed just 6 of 14 passes, but two were for touchdowns as Fujitsu (5-0) had little trouble blanking Elecom (2-3) at Fujitsu Kawasaki Stadium to remain unbeaten. Gino Gordon and rookie Kazuki Takaguchi each rushed for a touchdown and Hidetetsu Nishimura kicked a pair of field goals for Fujitsu, which had just 271 total yards of offense but got another stellar performance from its defense. Elecom quarterbacks Keijiro Kasuya (2 of 11) and Masato Kinoshita (7 of 12) combined for just 65 passing yards and each had an interception on consecutive series in the first half as the Frontiers took a 27-0 lead into halftime. The Finies only made it into Fujitsu territory once in the first half, and that was on Hirotoshi Kayama’s interception of a Hiramoto pass at the Frontiers 35 with 1:20 left in the half. Pushed back by consecutive sacks, Kasuya’s Hail Mary pass on 4th-and-14 on the final play was knocked down at the goal line by Adeyami Al-Rilwan, who earlier returned an interception 36 yards to the Finies 5 to set up a touchdown.


All Mitsubishi Lions 44, Tokyo Gas Creators 17: Yasuhiro Suzuki rushed for 122 yards and three touchdowns, including a 56-yarder on the third play of the game, as All Mitsubishi (4-1) moved closer to a wild-card spot by beating Tokyo Gas (3-2) in a key Battle 9 clash. Burly quarterback Shoma Taniguchi completed 14 of 21 passes for 151 yards and a touchdown, and also had an 11-yard touchdown run, for the Lions, who went into halftime with a tenuous 24-17 lead. But the All Mitsubishi defense stepped up and held the Creators scoreless the rest of the way. All Mitsubishi, which was outgained in total yards 388 to 330 and had only 38 percent time of possession, went ahead 30-17 early in the fourth quarter on Hayato Tanizawa’s second field goal of the second half and third of the game. Trying desperately to get back into the game, a failed 4th-down gamble and an interception set up a pair of late Lions touchdowns that provided the final margin of victory. Hidehito Tokushima, one of three quarterbacks regularly rotated by Tokyo Gas, threw for a touchdown and ran for another.


Meiji Yasuda PentaOcean Pirates 27, Bulls Football Club 0: Rookie quarterback Ryosuke Nishizawa ran for a touchdown and passed for two more—all in the fourth quarter—as Meiji Yasuda (3-2) left it late before putting away the gutsy Bulls (0-5) at Shinobugaoka Stadium in Fukushima, part of the league’s program to bring football to the disaster-hit Tohoku region. The Pirates, keeping alive their hopes of a wild-card spot, were limited to a 23-yard field goal by Hiroyuki Akatsu in the first half, which was set up by a fumbled punt return. Earlier, the Bulls drove to the Pirates 25, but lost the ball on Hikaru Ota’s fumble after a pass reception. Akatsu added a 45-yarder in the third quarter, then Nishizawa scored the game’s first touchdown with a 43-yard run on the second play of the fourth quarter. A long punt return set the stage for Nishizawa’s 21-yard touchdown pass to Kenichi Onuki, and then he added a 10-yard TD toss to Takumi Takahashi following a failed 4th-down gamble. Nishizawa completed 15 of 22 passes for 171 yards as the Pirates had 335 total yards and nearly 30 minutes time of possession.


Sidewinders 10, Nagoya Cyclones 7:  Defensive back Goshi Tokunaga returned an interception 32 yards for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter to lift the Sidewinders over Nagoya at Osaka’s Expo Flash Field and avenge a 17-7 loss earlier in the season with their first X1 win since 2006. Nagoya had a chance to tie the game, but Atsuhisa Yamaguchi missed a 34-yard field goal attempt with :42 left. Shun Fujii scored on a 5-yard run on the opening drive of the game for Nagoya, while Keita Sakamoto kicked an 18-yard field for the Sidewinders early in the second quarter in a drive helped by a roughing-the-kicker penalty when the Sidewinders punted near midfield. Both teams had chances to score before halftime. Shinya Ishizaki intercepted a Ryuji Maeda pass to give Nagoya the ball on the Sidewinders 36, but Yamaguchi ended up missing a 25-yard field goal attempt. The Sidewinders proceeded to drive 62 yards to the Nagoya 18, but that drive ended with Takuya Taguchi picking off a Soya Kamiya pass at the 4-yard line.


Lixil Deers 51, As One Black Eagles 0: Shohei Kato completed 15 of 22 passes for 209 yards and two touchdowns before calling it a day, and the Lixil defense held Battle 9 club As One (3-2) to 99 total yards and scored a touchdown in a blowout at Osaka’s Kincho Stadium. Tatsuya Kurata caught 33-yard touchdown passes from both Kato and backup Shotaro Owada as Lixil (4-1), which led 24-0 at halftime, scored 50-plus points for the third time this season. Shinichi Maekawa’s 2-yard touchdown run capped Lixil’s opening drive of the game, one of four scoring drives of 66 yards or more, and Yasushi Nakagawa broke away on a 49-yard run in the third quarter. Masashi Onozato returned a fumble on a muffed punt snap 6 yards for a third-quarter touchdown, while Yukai Takagi had two of Lixil’s five sacks. Daisuke Aoki was a perfect 3 for 3 on field goal attempts, ranging from 36 to 44 yards. As One advanced inside the Lixil 45 only once, but was stopped on a 4th-and-1 at the 26 on the first play of the second quarter.


Panasonic Impulse 24, Nojima Sagamihara Rise 17: Tetsuo Takata scored on a 5-yard run for the go-ahead score with 4:41 remaining and Ren Takeuchi secured the win with Panasonic’s third interception of the game off Devin Gardner as the Impulse (4-1) rallied at Osaka’s Kincho Stadium to hand Nojima (1-4) its fourth close loss of the season. Emory Polley returned the opening kickoff of the second half 100 yards for a touchdown, and defensive back Atsushi Tsuji’s second interception of the game set up the winning drive for the Impulse, who trailed 17-6 at halftime and 17-13 in the fourth quarter. Eita Saeki, who missed an extra point and had twoo field goals blocked, kicked a 42-yard field goal with 1:59 left for the Impulse. Panasonic struck first when Takata connected with Shohei Kishimoto for a 16-yard touchdown pass. Gardner, who completed 25 of 38 passes for 196 yards, responded on the next two drives by throwing short touchdown passes to Hideaki Shimizu and Jeremy Gallon, the second set up by a fumble recovery. Kohei Mochizuki booted a 32-yard field as time expired in the second quarter for the Rise, whose four losses have been by a combined 14 points.


Keishicho Eagles 28, Bullseyes Tokyo 13: Versatile quarterback Masaru Nakayama accounted for all of Keishicho’s points, running for three touchdowns, throwing for another, and having a hand in two 2-point conversions as the Eagles (2-3) broke open a close game in the third quarter to beat the Bullseyes (1-4) at Fujitsu Stadium Kawasaki. Nakayama. Nakayama rushed for 93 yards on 17 carries, and completed 8 of 10 passes for 119 yards as Keishicho won two games in the same X1 season for the first time ever. Nakayama scored on a 35-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, but the extra point attempt failed, and the Bulleseyes took a 7-6 lead into halftime on Takaaki Mandokoro’s 3-yard run. Early in the third quarter, Nakayama threw a 65-yard touchdown pass to Masayuki Okano, then ran in the 2-point conversion to make it 14-7. Tokyo responded with a 16-yard touchdown pass from Yuki Kirihara to Naoki Shigematsu, but was left trailing by one point when the PAT failed. With :02 left in the third quarter, Nakayama scored on an 8-yard run and connected with Okano for the 2-point conversion. Nakayama capped the scoring with a 6-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.


Obic Seagulls 24, IBM BigBlue 23, OT: Jerry Neuheisel threw his third touchdown pass of the game and second to Ryoma Hagiyama in the first tiebreaker of overtime, and Obic (5-0) remained unbeaten when IBM’s bad snap on the extra point following a subsequent Kevin Craft touchdown pass went over the holder’s head in a thriller at Fujitsu Stadium Kawasaki. Neuheisel, who completed 32 of 47 passes for 350 yards with one interception, helped Obic take a 14-3 lead into halftime with touchdown passes to Arito Nishimura and Hagiyama. But IBM (2-3) came back behind Kevin Craft, who threw two short touchdown passes to John Stanton to give the BigBlue a 17-14 lead early in the fourth quarter. Obic tied the game on Takatoshi Hoshino’s 25-yard field goal with :32 left in the game, ending a drive that started with the recovery of a Craft fumble and advanced as far as the IBM 2, where Obic failed to score a potential winning touchdown. In the tiebreaker, Neuheisel connected with Hagiyama on a 14-yard touchdown after avoiding a sack on 3rd-and-11. Craft replied with an even more dramatic touchdown pass, finding Stanton on a 28-yarder on 4th-and-13, only to see the extra point attempt never get off the ground.


Asahi Soft Drinks Challengers 12, Asahi Beer Silver Star 10: Yuya Makino and Masaki Kawabuchi both scored on 1-yard runs in the second half and Asahi Soft Drinks (2-3), which had both extra points blocked, rallied to upset inter-company cousin Asahi Beer (2-3) before a “home” crowd of 1,195 at Baycom Athletics Stadium in Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture. The Challengers defense forced five turnovers to help overcome a 10-0 first-quarter deficit and notch a key win in their bid to earn a spot in the postseason playoffs. Asahi Beer had a chance to go back in front when it recovered a fumbled punt return at the Challengers 21 midway through the fourth quarter. But Subaru Nakajima, who had scored on a 37-yard touchdown run for the Silver Star, fumbled on option pitch and rookie defensive lineman Kentaro Taniguchi recovered for the Challengers, who then impressively ran out the final 4:37 on the clock. Asahi Beer QB Mason Mills, who had thrown only one interception in four previous, had two picked off by the Challengers while completing 12 of 22 passes for 145 yards. Yoshinori Ijima kicked a 21-yard field goal on Asahi Beer’s opening drive of the game and Yuta Hayashi caught seven passes for 111 yards.


—Compiled by Ken Marantz for the X-League