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TOP > X League最新ニュース > Finies hand Impulse 1st opening-game loss since 1998

X League最新ニュース

Finies hand Impulse 1st opening-game loss since 1998


KOBE (Aug. 30)—The last time the Panasonic Impulse lost the opening game of a season was back in  1998. It was five years before that that they were last beaten by the Elecom Kobe Finies.


Both streaks came to an unexpected halt when the Finies pulled off a stunning 24-21 overtime victory over the Impulse at Kobe’s Oji Stadium to throw the West Division race wide open after just one game.


Adding intrigue to the shocker was that Jun Matsuoka, who kicked the winning 39-yard field goal in the third tiebreaker, is not even the Finies’ regular place-kicker. Head coach Ryota Kano opted to use Matsuoka after rookie Yoshiro Takai missed a 45-yarder with 40 seconds left in regulation time and a 35-yarder in the first tiebreaker.


“We planned to use Takai as a our kicker this season, but he said Matsuoka should get the final chance,” Kano said. “It was a tough game, and it was big that we came out with the win. Sometimes we trip ourselves up, so I want us to become a team that wins more decisively.”


The Finies, who last season finished in fourth place in the division with a 2-3 record that started with a 64-7 loss to Panasonic, tied the game with 3:18 left in the fourth quarter when Keijiro Kasuya threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to rookie wide receiver Masahiro Aso.


The Finies recovered the onside kick, then drove to the Panasonic 28. But Takai’s missed field goal left the score at 14-14 and sent the game to tiebreakers.


After the two teams both missed field goals in the first tiebreaker, Elecom started the second with Tomomi Hase’s 1-yard touchdown run. That drive was helped by an Impulse penalty on a fourth down and Kasuya’s 20-yard run to the 1-yard line on a quarterback draw. Panasonic responded with a 14-yard touchdown pass from veteran Tetsuo Takata to Koji Honda to keep the game going.


Panasonic had the ball first in the third tiebreaker, but opened the door for Elecom when Eita Saeki missed his second field goal of the extra session. Matsuoka, who caught four passes for 74 yards, then booted the game-winner.


Shun Yokota scored both of Panasonic’s touchdowns in regulation, on a 2-yard plunge on the Impulse’s first drive of the game and a 10-yard run in the third quarter. Elecom sent the game into halftime tied at 7-all on Inoki Funaki’s 11-yard touchdown pass to Masahiro Tonai.


Funaki and Kasuya combined to complete 18 of 38 passes for 235 yards with an interception each. Funaki also ran for 51 yards.


Takata went 17 for 30 for 164 yards, while Yokota rushed for 94 yards on 15 carries for Panasonic, which has won five straight West Division titles and 13 of the last 14.


“We had too many penalties,” Impulse head coach Nobuyoshi Araki said of the team being flagged 10 times for 47 yards. “To be moved back like that, nothing will go well no matter how well we play. But this is not the end of the season. We’ll put all of our efforts into practice and the rest of our games to the point where we can look back and say this loss was good for us.”





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