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 > Impulse hold off Silver Star to book berth in semifinals

Game Report

Impulse hold off Silver Star to book berth in semifinals


Panasonic wide receiver Tatsuya Tonka catches a 13-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the second quarter. (photo by MI Planning)





OSAKA (Nov. 13)—Tatsuya Tonka caught a touchdown pass, but made his biggest play when he returned a somewhat oddly timed onside kick to the 2-yard line to set up what proved to be Panasonic’s winning score.


Tonka’s flashy return led to Shun Yokota’s 1-yard touchdown plunge in the fourth quarter, and the defending league champion Impulse held on to defeat the Asahi Beer Silver Star 21-14 in the Japan X Bowl tournament quarterfinals at Osaka’s Banpaku Stadium.


Backup quarterback Takashi Ohara scored on an 11-yard run and Yokota rushed for 101 yards on 20 carries as the Impulse advanced to a semifinal clash with the unbeaten Obic Seagulls on Nov. 27 at Osaka’s Yanmar Stadium. Obic defeated the Elecom Kobe Finies on Saturday in Yokohama.


“The defense really stepped up,” Panasonic head coach Nobuyoshi Araki said. “The team came together and for us to win a game like this, it took all of our strength.”


With Panasonic leading 14-0 in the third quarter before the crowd of 1,177, the Silver Star defense stopped the Impulse at the 1-yard line, then quarterback Mason Mills and the offense embarked on a long, arduous drive that extended into the fourth quarter and cut the lead to one touchdown.


The drive, which started with Yuichiro Yamada’s 20-yard run, covered 99 yards, took 23 plays and lasted 8:50, and ended with Mills throwing the first of two touchdown passes to Kazuya Togura. Along the way, Asahi Beer twice went for it in 4th-down situations, getting out of the first with a pass interference penalty, and converting the second on Mills’ 19-yard pass to Yuta Hayashi, who finished with seven receptions for 93 yards.


Things got really interesting when Asahi Beer advanced to the Panasonic 5. Mills was sacked for a 16-yard loss by Carlton Jones, and a false start penalty left the Silver Star facing 3rd-and-goal from the 26. But another pass interference penalty gave them a first down and new life at the 11, and after a 5-yard completion, Mills connected with Togura on a 6-yard touchdown pass to make it 14-7 with 8:39 left in the game.


“Mills was the top quarterback in the league this season,” Araki said. “I always had to be thinking of what to do against him.”


The Silver Star opted to try an onside kick, and it could hardly have backfired in a worse way. The speedy Tonka caught the ball in full stride, and zipped down the sideline 46 yards before being finally hauled down at the Silver Star 2.


Yokota needed two tries before plunging into the end zone from the 1 to restore the Impulse’s 14-point lead. That became significant as the Silver Star were only able to score on one of their next two drives.


In the first, Mills, who completed 18 of 29 passes for 198 yards, marched the Silver Star down to the Panasonic 25, but the drive fizzled out with an incomplete pass on a 4th-and-17 gamble.


Asahi Beer got the ball back with 2:39 left and drove 50 yards in seven plays, with Togura notching his second touchdown reception when he hauled in a deflected Mills pass in the end zone for an 11-yard score.


But only :59 remained on the clock, and when Tonka grabbed the ensuing onside kick—he didn’t bother trying to run this time—the Impulse easily finished up the victory.


The Impulse, who finished 5-1 in the regular season, had a chance to score on their opening drive of the game, when Yokota gained 56 yards on four consecutive runs to put the ball on the Silver Star 1. But a blocking-below-the-waist penalty sent them back to the 16, and they came up empty when Eita Saeki missed a 31-yard field goal attempt.


After defensive back Atsushi Tsuji picked off a Mills pass, the Impulse got on the scoreboard when Tetsuo Takata threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Tonka on the first play of the second quarter to cap a 10-play, 69-yard drive.


On Panasonic’s next drive, Yokoto ripped off runs of 20 and 25 yards as the Impulse went 76 yards in eight plays to go ahead 14-0 on Ohara’s touchdown run.


The Impulse moved into position to pad the lead before halftime when they advanced into Silver Star territory, but the drive ended when defensive back Masato Mogi interecepted a Takata pass at the 3-yard line with :25 left.


The Silver Star defense came up big again on the opening drive of the second half. Panasonic advanced to the Asahi Beer 8, but Takata was sacked by Naoto Yoshihara for a 6-yard loss. After a 5-yard pass, Hayato Araki gained 8 yards, but was then stopped on 4th down at the 1.


—Translated from West Division report