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 > Seagulls face stiff challenge to avoid just 2nd 3-2 season in their history

Game Report

Seagulls face stiff challenge to avoid just 2nd 3-2 season in their history



Quarterback Colby Cameron leads undefeated Fujitsu into the East Division showdown against Obic on Saturday.



Since the divisions were first realigned after last season, both teams have had this game marked on their calendars. But there is an aspect to the big East Division showdown with the Fujitsu Frontiers on Saturday that is very unfamiliar to the majority of Obic Seagulls players.


For the first time since 2007, the Seagulls are not undefeated going into the finale of divisional play. And a loss will leave the team with a 3-2 record for just the second time since the X-League was formed in 1996—the only other time came in 1997, when the team was known as the Recruit Seagulls.


“For me personally, I just take it one game at a time,” says Obic defensive end B.J. Beatty. “You lose, but there’s nothing you can do about it. All you can do and look off to what you have left. It kind of puts a little bit more on the line with this game than there already was prior to the season. It’s an interesting situation, that’s for sure.”


The situation arose when the Seagulls were handed a surprising 20-17 overtime loss by the Nojima Sagamihara Rise in the second week of the season. Fujitsu takes a 4-0 record into the clash after routing the Rise 37-10 in Week 4.


To finish on top of the division, Obic needs to beat Fujitsu by 15 or more points in the game that kicks off at 2 p.m. at Fujitsu Stadium Kawasaki. Fujitsu will finish first with a victory or a loss by less than 15, while a loss by Obic will relegate it to third place.


Obic will also be looking for a measure of revenge. The Frontiers ended the Seagulls’ four-year hold on the league title with a 27-14 victory in last year’s semifinals en route to their first-ever league championship.


The key for Obic will be stopping the explosive Fujitsu offense led by quarterback Colby Cameron and running back Gino Gordon. Cameron, despite seeing limited action in the Frontiers’ early routs over the weaker opponents of the division, has thrown for 17 touchdowns, completing 76 of 106 passes for 1,128 yards with just one interception.


Gordon leads the East with a modest 291 yards on 31 carries, but has shared the load with Kei Goto, who is second with 242 yards on 30 carries. Both have scored four touchdowns.


“It goes to Colby and Gino, it’s a deadly combination,” Beatty says. “When you can run the rock, and then you have a guy like Colby who can sit back there and sling it. He keeps his composure when guys get in his face, he makes throws, and he’s a good decision-maker. Just try our best to limit them. If we can take away Gino’s runs, that will go a long way for us.”


Obic will be led by quarterback Takushiro Hata, with veteran Shun Sugawara also expected to see action. Burly running back Asaki Mochizuki has been all but unstoppable in short-yardage situations and has rushed for six touchdowns.


Fujitsu cornerback Al-Rilwan Adeyami says the fact that Fujitsu has beaten a team that earlier defeated Obic is irrelevant in terms of preparing for the game.


“It doesn’t matter because Obic is a different team when they play us,” he says.”I think we match up very well against Obic, and I think Rise matched up well against Obic. Which Obic team is going to show up, I don’t know. But whenever they play the Frontiers, I always know they come to play.”


Cameron, in his second year with Fujitsu, revels in the rivalry that has developed between the two teams, and says the Frontiers are certainly not lacking in confidence.


“Obic’s always a good team, we know that. We’re like rivals, we’re like Ohio State-Michigan, or USC-UCLA. So for us, it’s just always going to be a good game, we’re excited,” Cameron says.


“Especially from last year, we’re much more confident. We just have to keep building on it. I feel pretty good that we’ve done a good job, but it’s so crazy, because we can get so much better. So that’s exciting.”


Both teams held their four previous opponents to a total of 34 points, although somewhat surprisingly, neither held any foe scoreless. Fujitsu has scored a league-high 280 points, while Obic has chalked up 197.


While Obic will go into the game as the underdog, Beatty says the team is also confident of its chances. And facing a tough opponent only adds to the anticipation.


“I like the game plan that we have put in. The build-up’s been almost too long for this, and for me, it’s exciting,” Beatty says. “These are the games I get excited for, when you play the better teams in the league.”


The last time Obic went into the final divisional game with a loss in 2007, it had been beaten by Fujitsu, but finished up with a 55-6 rout of previously unbeaten Asahi Beer that left all three teams at 4-1.


In the 1997 season that the Seagulls had their lone 3-2 record, the two losses came by a combined total of five points. The defending champions that year, they suffered a 28-27 loss to Nissan Prince Tokyo when they had a field goal blocked with five seconds left on a rainy day, then fell 17-13 to Kajima in a game that drew 11,200 at Tokyo Dome.


The current team knows it will take a mighty effort to knock off Fujitsu and avoid a second loss.


“Those guys are rolling, and it’s a challenge for us,” Beatty says. “They went out there and manhandled the Rise, so I’m just looking forward to a good game.”


—Ken Marantz for the X-League