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TOP > Game Report > Fujitsu pounds Panasonic, advances as lone unbeaten team

Game Report

Fujitsu pounds Panasonic, advances as lone unbeaten team


Fujitsu wide receiver Teruaki Clark Nakamura breaks freefor his third touchdown reception of the game, a 23-yarder in the second quarter.





























OSAKA (Nov. 16)—Heading into the final game of the second stage, the Fujitsu Frontiers were the lone team among the six still in playoff contention that was assured of a spot in the semifinals. That didn’t stop them from showing their dominance anyway.


Colby Cameron launched one of the most devastating aerial barrages in league history, throwing for 445 yards and four touchdowns as the Frontiers remained the only unbeaten team by crushing the Panasonic Impulse 48-24 at Osaka’s Kincho Stadium.


Teruaki Clark Nakamura was Cameron’s main target, latching onto nine passes for 253 yards and three touchdowns before the crowd of 2,600 as the Frontiers knocked the Impulse out of title contention by beating them for the third time in four years.


Austin Flynn had two sacks and three tackles for losses as the defense limited the high-powered Impulse offense to 288 total yards. Quarterback Tetsuo Takata completed less than half of his passes, finishing 17 of 39 for 253 yards with one interception and no touchdowns.


Hidetetsu Nishimura kicked a pair of field goals in the first half and Keita Takanohashi rushed for two touchdowns in the third quarter for Fujitsu, last year’s losing finalist in the Japan X Bowl to the four-time champion Obic Seagulls—the team they will face in the semifinals on Nov. 30.


“It doesn’t always go so well like this, and against such a strong opponent, it was big that our offense could score so fast and often from the start,” Fujitsu head coach Satoshi Fujita said. “The defense also really played well.”


The Impulse were in a must-win situation, as they were one of five teams with a 5-1 record battling for the three remaining semifinal spots heading into Sunday’s games. The Impulse had suffered a stunning season-opening loss to the Elecom Kobe Finies, but rebounded to reel off five straight wins in which they allowed just three points.


Panasonic, which was hit with 18 penalties for 123 yards, twice tied the game in the first half at 10-10 and 17-17. But Cameron & Co pulled away with a 17-point spree in the last five minutes of the second quarter. The Frontier put the game away with two unanswered touchdowns in the third quarter.


The Impulse appeared to get the first break of the game when the Frontiers fumbled a punt on the first series, but the West Division runner-ups failed to take advantage and, after a trick play on the punt failed, Fujitsu got the ball back near midfield. The Frontiers advanced as far as the Impulse 13, where Nishimura kicked a 30-yard field goal.


After holding the Impulse to 3-and-out, the Frontiers regained possession at their own 37. On first down, Cameron took to the air and found Nakamura, who took it all the way for a 63-yard touchdown and a 10-0 lead 5:28 into the game.


The Impulse offense finally got some traction and advanced far enough for Eita Saeki to kick a 45-yard field goal. After Cameron, who completed 24 of 33 passes, had three straight incompletions, Fujitsu punted and Ryohei Imanishi brought it all the way back for a 66-yard touchdown return to suddenly tie the game.


The local team’s celebrations lasted for as long as it took for Cameron’s pass on first down to sail into the hands of Nakamura, who outsprinted the secondary for an 84-yard touchdown.


Takata, who led Panasonic to back-to-back league championships in 2007-08, then engineered a 7-play, 65-yard drive that he capped with a 7-yard touchdown run on the second play of the second quarter, tying the game at 17-all.


After Cameron lost a fumble at the Fujitsu 36, the defense held, but Saeki’s punt gave the Frontiers the ball back on their own 5. They then held onto it for the next 7:20 with a combination of Gino Gordon runs and Cameron passes. The Frontiers made it as far as the Impulse 8, where Nishimura kicked a 25-yard field goal to regain the lead.


The Frontiers’ next drive went 65 yards and lasted just over a minute, ending on the fifth play with Cameron throwing a 23-yard touchdown pass to Nakamura, who led the league in divisional play with 28 receptions and 10 touchdowns.


Fujitsu got the ball back on its own 47 with 1:17 left in the half, but needed only 42 seconds before Cameron connected on a 2-yard touchdown pass to Gordon, who made an acrobatic catch in the back of the end zone. A pass interference penalty on the previous play put the ball on the 2.


“The quarterback managed the clock just like we practiced,” Fujita said. “That was a big boost to score in the last minute.”


Fujitsu padded the lead on its first drive of the second half, which included a 45-yard pass to Nakamura and ended with Takanohashi cutting up the middle during a sweep and scoring a 9-yard touchdown. On his second touchdown later in the quarter, he lowered his shoulder and bulled in from the 8.


Panasonic completed the scoring in the fourth quarter when running back Hiroaki Suga threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Naohiko Shibata.


“We put everything we had into this game, but the difference in power was too much,” Panasonic head coach Nobuyoshi Araki said. “We prepared as well as we could, but in the end, the opponent had no holes.”