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TOP > Game Report > Impulse roll over Finies for 3rd straight Green Bowl crown

Game Report

Impulse roll over Finies for 3rd straight Green Bowl crown


Panasonic wide receiver Tatsuya Tonka hauls in a pass for a 59-yard touchdown in the third quarter against Elecom Kobe.




KOBE (May 15)—In a display of superior speed, power and stamina, the Panasonic Impulse left little doubt they would be the team to beat in the West again when they begin defense of their X-League title in the fall.


The Impulse scored four touchdowns of 31 yards or longer—including a 57-yard interception return by defensive end David Motu—in rolling to a 34-3 victory over the Elecom Kobe Finies in the final of the Green Bowl, the spring tournament for the league’s Kansai teams, at Kobe’s Oji Stadium.


Benjamin Dupree and Shun Yokota both had long touchdown runs, while Takashi Ohara threw a 59-yard touchdown pass to Tatsuya Tonka as the Impulse won the title for the third straight year and 18th overall.


Despite the one-sided score, Panasonic head coach Nobuyoshi Araki was critical of his team’s play, which included two interceptions by Ohara, the annointed successor to veteran Tetsuo Takata, and an offense that was out-passed by Elecom and produced just 272 total yards.


“It’s no good to have a game in which you show nothing,” Araki said. “The result of not feeling a sense of urgency from practice, such as a lack of communication between the quarterbacks and wide receivers, showed in this game.


“Ohara was better in the last game,” Araki said, referring to the Impulse’s 62-0 rout of the AsOne Black Eagles in the semifinals. “He needs to be at the level where he does a little more. I want to be able to not rely on Takata [in the fall].”


Panasonic, coming off winning a first X-League title since 2008 in the fall, got off to shaky start, as Elecom defensive back Yoshiro Takai intercepted an Ohara pass on the first series and returned it to the Panasonic 17. The Finies got down to the 2, but got no further and had to settle for Hidetaka Nakano’s 23-yard field goal and a 3-0 lead.


“We were given a chance by the opponent’s mistake, so we wanted a touchdown,” said Elecom coach Ryota Kano.


The lead didn’t last long, as Dupree went up the middle, broke to the left side and scampered for a 43-yard touchdown run to put the Impulse up 7-3.


Elecom, which advanced to the final with a 21-18 win over the Asahi Soft Drinks Challengers, squadered a chance when wide receiver Hiroki Takao made a reception, but fumbled after being hit by defensive back Atsushi Tsuji and Ko Iwamoto made the recovery.


A short time later, Motu, who had moved onto the defensive line from linebacker last season and earned All X-League honors, picked off a shovel pass from quarterback Keijiro Kasuya and took it 57 yards for a score. Motu was named the game MVP.


The Impulse took a 17-3 lead into halftime when Eita Saeki booted a 38-yard field goal on the final play of the second quarter. The drive was helped by a face mask penalty.


In the third quarter, Ohara, who finished 5 for 12 for 89 yards, threw his second interception, but came back on the next series and connected on the long touchdown pass to Tonka.


Panasonic then sent in rookie QB Takuya Ishiuchi, out of Kansai University, whose practice time has been limited due to work commitments as a new employee. The team was content to have him mainly hand off, and on one, Yokota broke free for a 31-yard touchdown run for a 31-3 lead.


Ishiuchi ended up completing 2 of 5 passes for 31 yards and led a final drive that culminated with Shintaro Saeki—emulating older brother Eita—kicking a 46-yard field goal as time expires.


“Many times, chances came our way, but with little mistakes, we hurt ourselves,” Elecom’s Kano said. “Even though the opponent made similar errors, it’s our weakpoint that this was the result.”


“To close this 31-point gap in the fall, we have to get motivated in practice with the theme of knocking off Panasonic,” he added.


Panasonic will next face Ritsumeikan University in the Kobe Bowl on June 5.


—Translated from staff report