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TOP > Game Report > Cameron, defense lift Frontiers to victory in East showdown

Game Report

Cameron, defense lift Frontiers to victory in East showdown

’14.10.05

Fujitsu quarterback Colby Cameron runs for a 1-run touchdown in the third quarter against IBM.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

KAWASAKI (Oct. 4)—While Fujitsu’s Colby Cameron lived up his billing in the big American QB match-up, the Frontiers defense stole the spotlight—and three passes and a fumble—from IBM counterpart Kevin Craft.

 

Cameron threw for three touchdowns and 243 yards and ran for another, and Motoyuki Hirai returned a Craft fumble 35 yards for a key second-half touchdown as the Frontiers pulled away for a 41-13 victory over the BigBlue before an overflow crowd of 2,238 at Kawasaki Fujimi Stadium.

 

Teruaki Clark Nakamura caught six passes for 104 yards and two touchdowns—including one with 10 seconds left in the first half—and Hidetetsu Nishimura kicked a pair of 40-yard field goals for Fujitsu, which takes a 4-0 record into its division finale against the Nojima Sagamihara Rise on Oct. 20.

 

“We were definitely clicking [on offense],” said Fujitsu running back Gino Gordon, who had 48 yards on nine carries. “We were able to run the ball and obviously Colby had a really good day.

 

“But I think the side of the ball that really did it for us was the defense. It held that prolific offense to 13 points. It’s huge. It’s take a lot of stress off our backs and allows us to not play tight.”

 

IBM, which dropped to 3-1, also had its moments on defense, twice stopping Fujitsu on 4th-and-1 gambles in the first half. Those missed opportunities, along with a missed field goal, allowed IBM to go into halftime trailing by just eight points.

 

“It just goes to show that they’re a good team, too,” Gordon said. “The punches that we give them, they’ll take them and give them right back. Give them credit where it’s due. They’re a really good team and obviously they’re going to win a lot of games.”

 

Craft, the league’s leading passer, completed 20 of 31 passes for 169 yards and one touchdown. But pressure from the Frontiers helped cause the three interceptions, which, although none resulted directly in Fujitsu points, were crucial in that they kept IBM from having a chance at scoring.

 

“The defensive line and linebackers put pressure on him and I think the quarterback was a little hasty,” said defensive back Shinya Miki, who had the first two interceptions. “These were everyone’s interceptions.”

 

In the end, the BigBlue were overwhelmed by a superior force that piled up 424 total yards.

 

“I think we had too many mistakes,” IBM defensive end James Brooks said. “At the end of the day, it was a hard-fought game. They seemed a little bit more prepared than us. And they pulled it out at the end.”

 

Fujitsu began to break the game open after forcing IBM to punt on the first series of the second half, with Yusuke Kamiyama returning the kick 37 yards to the IBM 18.  Gordon’s 12-yard run put the ball on the 1, where Cameron rolled right, then cut back and slashed into the end zone.

 

On IBM’s next drive, the first nail was driven into the coffin. Craft had led the BigBlue from the 16 to the Fujitsu 45, but during a sack by linebacker Shuhei Takeuchi, the ball popped loose and Hirai grabbed it in the air, then took it all the way for a score to make it 28-6.

 

After Nishimura added his first field goal, Craft led his first touchdown drive of the day. Completing 6 of 6 passes, the former UCLA starter marched the BigBlue 73 yards in nine plays, capped by a 2-yard touchdown toss to tight end John Stanton that made it 31-13 with 1:39 left in the third quarter. Stanton finished with a game-high seven catches for 73 yards.

 

But not only did Cameron lead two scoring drives on Fujitsu’s next possessions, the Frontiers used up 7:12 of the time remaining in the game in doing so. The first score was a 9-yard pass to Shuma Narita to cap a 73-yard drive, and the second Nishimura’s second field goal, which was the 10th play in that drive.

 

“For a hurry-up offense, sometimes it’s difficult to run a slow pace and get first downs, because you’re so used to just going,” Cameron said. “And I think our team did a great job. Our O-line, they’re the ones who really set the tempo the whole second half. The second half was so awesome to see.”

 

Craft threw his third interception on the second play after the Nishimura field goal, with rookie Yuki Ishii making the pick with 5:22 left. IBM never got the ball back, as backup QB Keiya Hiramoto and running backs Keita Takanohashi and Kei Goto kept moving the chains until time expired.

 

“It was a tough game, I expected that,” said Cameron, who has thrown for 15 touchdowns without an interception in four games. “But I believe in our defense, I believe in our special teams, I believe in our offense. I expect to win…How high the score was? Maybe I thought it would be a little closer.”

 

Cameron got Fujitsu off to a good start when he split the secondary and connected with Nakamura on a 35-yard touchdown pass on the opening drive of the game.

 

Miki’s first interception and a penalty during his return gave the Frontiers the ball back just outside the IBM 10. On 3rd-and-5, Nakamura was stopped at the 1, and Fujitsu opted to go for it. Gordon lost the ball as he went off left tackle, but recovered it himself, only to fall inches short of a first down.

 

“The ball was slipping out of my hand and they ran a fire blitz that way and I ran into a free guy,” Gordon said. “Once the ball came out, I jumped on [it].”

 

IBM took over with their backs to the end zone, but a 30-yard run by Ryo Takagi moved them out of danger. A combination of Craft passes and Tomokazu Sueyoshi runs moved the ball to the Fujitsu 9, where the drive stalled and Genki Odakura kicked a 27-yard field goal with :49 left in the first quarter.

 

The second quarter featured plenty of drama but little scoring, as Nishimura was wide left on a 45-yard field goal attempt, Craft threw his second interception, and Takanohashi was stopped on a 4th-and-1 at the IBM 21.

 

IBM broke the drought when Craft, using his legs as well as a his arm, engineered a drive to the Fujitsu 6. But the BigBlue could not breach the goal line and had to settle for Odakura’s 24-yard field goal to make it 7-6 with 1:15 left in the half.

 

Cameron, who starred at Louisiana Tech, then worked his magic, throwing two passes for 29 yards and running himself for 14 to move the ball to the IBM 37. With the clock ticking down, Cameron evaded the rush, stepped up and threw a rainbow to Nakamura in the back of the end zone with :10 on the clock.

 

“Obviously he’s a great quarterback,” Brooks said. “Not to take anything away from him, but we made some mistakes as well. Some things we need to tighten up. Obviously they played a great game. Their O-line is very good.”

 

“We’re going to come back even more motivated. This loss hurt us, it stings, I’m not too happy right now. But I think we’ll get back to work and we’ll be OK.”

 

Said IBM head coach Shinzo Yamada: “I think we held them in the first half and that was good. When the offense was in trouble, I thought the defense stepped up and made a lot of plays. So that’s good. But we came short. We just have to improve everyday and get ready for the second stage.”

 

—Ken Marantz for the X-League

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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