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 6 Action and Playoff Picture

Game Report

Around the League: Wrapup of Week 6 Action and Playoff Picture


IBM quarterback Kevin Craft scores on a 7-yard run in the fourth quarter against Asahi Soft Drinks in Osaka. (photo by MI Planning)






With the conclusion of a thrilling regular season under the new format that produced nail-biting games weekly, the stage for the Japan X Bowl tournament has been set with the top eight teams from Super 9 and the top two from Battle 9.

The Fujitsu Frontiers and Obic Seagulls, who both finished 6-0, head the eight Super 9 teams that made the playoffs. Missing the cut was the Nojima Sagamihara Rise after finishing with a 1-5 record. The tournament begins with the wild card playoffs on Nov. 5, followed by the quarterfinal round on Nov. 12-13.


Wild card playoffs

(Nov. 5 at Oji Stadium, Kobe)

7. Elecom Kobe Finies (2-4) vs 11. As One Black Eagles (B4-2), 10:30 a.m.

8. Asahi Soft Drinks Challengers (2-4) vs 10. All Mitsubishi Lions (B5-1), 13:10 p.m.

Quarterfinal pairings

(Nov. 12 at Yokohama Stadium)

2. Obic Seagulls (6-0) vs Finies or Black Eagles, 11 a.m.

1. Fujitsu Frontiers (6-0) vs Challengers or Lions, 2 p.m.

4. Lixil Deers (4-2) vs 5. IBM BigBlue (3-3), 5 p.m.

(Nov. 13 at Banpaku Stadium, Osaka)

3. Panasonic Impulse (5-1) vs 6. Asahi Beer Silver Star (3-3), noon


Here is the wrapup of the final round of games in Week 6:


Bulls Football Club 13, Bullseyes Tokyo 3: Keita Saruwatari scored on a 6-yard run early in the third quarter and Keita Fujiwara threw a 27-yard touchdown pass to Shoichiro Mori with :27 left in the game as the Bulls (1-5) rallied to beat the Bulleyes (1-5) at Yokohama Stadium for their first win of the season. Tokyo took a 3-0 lead on the opening drive of the game when Koichiro Fujino kicked a 25-yard field goal, and that’s the way it stayed up to halftime as the Bulls’ Seiji Hataki missed a 47-yard field attempt and the Bulleyes had a long drive stopped on a 4th-down gamble at the Bulls 25. Saruwatari’s score capped a 9-play, 68-yard drive to start the second half that included a 16-yard Fujiwara pass on 4th-and-4 at the 49. Fujiwara completed 20 of 34 passes for 206 yards and two interceptions. The Bulls defense also had two interceptions, the second of which led to the clinching touchdown.


All Mitsubishi Lions 23, Meiji Yasuda PentaOcean Pirates 18: Yasuhiro Suzuki’s 4-yard touchdown run with 2:37 left gave All Mitsubishi (5-1) a victory over Meiji Yasuda (3-3) at Yokohama Stadium and a place in the wildcard playoff as the top finisher in Battle 9.  Makoto Hagihara rushed for two first-half touchdowns, including a 66-yarder, for the Lions, who squandered a 17-3 lead going into the fourth quarter when the Pirates converted two interceptions into touchdowns. Meiji Yasuda got a 25-yard field goal from Hiroyuki Akatsu, a 1-yard touchdown run by Shimpei Wakashima and a 15-yard touchdown pass from Ryosuke Nishizawa to Takumi Takahashi in a 5:34 span to take an 18-17 lead with 6 1/2 minutes left in the game. Hagihara finished with 123 yards rushing on nine carries, while Shoma Taniguchi completed 11 of 19 passes for 146 yards but had three interceptions. The Lions also lost a fumble.


Panasonic Impulse 33, Lixil Deers 31: Eita Saeki kicked a 38-yard field goal as time expired, giving Panasonic (5-1) a dramatic win over Lixil (4-2) at Yokohama Stadium after the Deers rallied from a 30-3 halftime deficit to take the lead with :52 left. Tetsuo Takata threw two touchdown passes and Shun Yokota ran for two scores as Panasonic took advantage of three turnovers to take a big lead in the first half. Lixil cut the gap with Yasuhiro Maruta’s 1-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, then put on an amazing comeback in the fourth quarter, when Shohei Kato threw three touchdown passes — the last two sandwiched around a successful onside kick — over a 3:25 span to put the Deers ahead 31-30. But Takata, who completed 16 of 20 passes for 156 yards, drove the Impulse 47 yards in six plays to set up the winning field goal by Saeki, who also kicked a 26-yarder on the final play of the first half. Kato bounced back from a shaky first half, when he threw two interceptions, to finish 27 of 45 for 338 yards.


Nagoya Cyclones 14, Keishicho Eagles 13: Linebacker Takashi Sanso stopped running back Toshiaki Kaneko when Keishicho (2-4) went for the 2-point conversion and the win after scoring after time had expired, preserving a victory for Nagoya (2-4) at Yokohama Stadium. Trailing 14-7, Keishicho drove to the Cyclones 7 in the dying seconds when a pass interference penalty on fourth down and then an offsides penalty allowed the Eagles an extra play from the 1 with no time on the clock, and quarterback Masaru Nakayama dove over for the score. Nakayama gave Keishicho a 7-0 lead with a 3-yard touchdown pass to Kazuhiro Arima early the second quarter. Atsuhisa Yamaguchi, who had missed a first-quarter field goal, kicked two in the third quarter for the Cyclones, who went ahead for the first time on Naoki Ito’s 1-yard pass to Hiromitsu Morikawa with 3:53 left in the game. The drive was set up by Kiyohide Nakamura’s 49-yard punt return to the Eagles 26. Morikawa connected with Yasumasa Ido for the 2-point conversion to put the Cyclones up 14-7.


Asahi Beer Silver Star 38, Tokyo Gas Creators 8: Mason Mills threw for four touchdowns and 367 yards as Asahi Beer (3-3) overpowered Battle 9 side Tokyo Gas (3-3) at Yokohama Stadium to clinch the sixth seed and avoid having to play in the wildcard playoff. Yuichiro Yamada took a screen pass and rambled 52 yards to give the Silver Star a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter. Tokyo Gas threatened to pull within a touchdown, but Fumitaka Obana fumbled after a pass reception at the Asahi 35 and Asahi Beer’s Takashi Kobayashi returned it to the Tokyo Gas 35. After a 34-yard completion, Kochin Nakamura was in the right place to catch a 1-yard touchdown pass that had been tipped at the line with :21 left in the first half to put the Silver Star up 21-0. Tokyo Gas got on the scoreboard on Obana’s 1-yard run early in the fourth quarter and a 2-point conversion to cut the Silver Star’s lead to 16 points, but Mills, who completed 25 of 33 passes, responded with an 8-yard touchdown pass to Kenta Ozawa. Defensive back Yugo Imi’s 60-yard interception return for a touchdown capped the scoring. Yuta Hayashi caught 11 passes for 194 yards for the Silver Star.


Fujitsu Frontiers 17, Nojima Sagamihara Rise 10: Gino Gordon scored on a 13-yard run with :22 left in the game, lifting Fujitsu (6-0) to a tense victory over Nojima (1-5) at the Rise’s “home” stadium of Sagamihara Gion Stadium in Kanagawa Prefecture that knocked them out of the playoffs. Fujitsu scored on its first two drives, with Colby Cameron (15 of 28 for 167 yards) throwing a 4-yard touchdown pass to Shinpei Yoshimoto, and Hidetetsu Nishimura kicking a 25-yard field goal. Nishimura, however, missed the extra point, and later missed a 41-yard field goal attempt to leave Fujitsu with a 9-0 halftime lead. Nojima, needing a win to avoid a ninth-place finish in Super 9, began its comeback when Devin Gardner capped the opening drive of the second half with a 1-yard touchdown, and then went ahead on Shin Idezawa’s 32-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter after the Frontiers lost a fumble at the Rise 30. Fujitsu started the winning drive at its own 41 with 1:52 remaining after stopping the Rise on a 4th-down gamble, and took seven plays to get into the end zone. The Rise’s five losses were by a combined 20 points.


IBM BigBlue 13, Asahi Soft Drinks Challengers 7: Kevin Craft threw a 64-yard touchdown pass to John Stanton and scored on a 7-yard run on consecutive series to start the fourth quarter as IBM (3-3) rallied to defeat a defiant Asahi Soft Drinks (2-4) in a defensive struggle at Osaka’s Expo Flash Field. The Challengers struck first when Yuki Shirakami broke free on a 42-yard touchdown run just 1:08 into the game. Shinji Kageyama missed a 46-yard field goal attempt on Asahi Soft Drinks next drive, and from there both defenses dug in and scoring chances were few and far between. In the third quarter, defensive back Ryota Ikeda picked off a Craft pass at the Challengers 12, and the BigBlue’s Toshiki Sato missed a 48-yard field goal attempt. After IBM went ahead, Asahi Soft Drinks got the ball with 7:20 left at its own 32 and drove as far as the IBM 28, but James Brooks made the stop on a 4th-and-16 gamble. IBM, which was hit with 12 penalties for 85 yards, then ran out the final 3:09. Craft completed 16 of 22 passes for 250 yards, while Takeshi Kuriyama had seven receptions for 118 yards.


Obic Seagulls 20, Elecom Kobe Finies 14: Shun Sugawara threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Yuki Ikei and Takatoshi Hoshino kicked a pair of field goals in the second half as Obic (6-0) pulled away to defeat Elecom (2-4) at Osaka’s Expo Flash Field and end the regular season undefeated. Elecom opened the scoring when Masato Kinoshita threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Kazuki Sakamoto to cap a 64-yard, 11-play drive late in the first quarter. Obic’s Jerry Neuseisel replied with a 7-yard TD toss to Noriaki Kinoshita, and Elecom’s Hidetaka Nakano missed a 35-yard field goal attempt with :09 left in the second quarter to send the game into halftime tied 7-7.  With Sugawara taking over at QB, Obic scored on its opening drive of the second half, with Hoshino booting a 26-yard field goal. Elecom drove to the Obic 26, but lost a fumble that the Seagulls turned into Sugawara’s touchdown pass to cap a drive that went into the fourth quarter. Another turnover, this time an interception by linebacker Hitoshi Sakata, led to Hoshino’s second field goal, a 49-yarder. Elecom cut the gap on Keijiro Kasuya’s 9-yard touchdown run with 4:38 left, but their final drive ended with an interception by Kento Tojo.


As One Black Eagles 24, Sidewinders 21: Quarterback Kohei Tahara’s 56-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter proved to be the game-winner as As One (4-2), needing a victory to earn a spot in the wild card playoffs, were pushed to the end by the Sidewinders (1-5) at Osaka’s Expo Flash Field. As One, which beat the Sidewinders 28-7 to Sept. 10, took a 17-0 lead into halftime on Hiroshi Yamagami’s 24-yard touchdown, Takayuki Nakanishi’s 21-yard field goal and Tahara’s 14-yard touchdown pass to Masanori Yamamoto. The Sidewinders, sparked by linebacker Keita Sakamoto’s interception that gave them the ball on the Eagles 19, got on the scoreboard on Ryuji Maeda’s 5-yard touchdown pass to Takeshi Hashimoto, then cut the gap to 17-14 when Kodai Hirai scored on a 2-yard run to cap a drive helped by several As One penalties. Tahara, who completed 20 of 29 passes for 207 yards with two interceptions, made it a two-possession game with his long TD run in the fourth quarter, and that made the difference when the Sidewinders’ Maeda connected with Keisuke Kimura on a 33-yard touchdown pass with 3:13 left. The Sidewinders’ last two drives ended with interceptions.


—Compiled by Ken Marantz for the X-League