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TOP > What’s New > Green Bowl:Panasonic rolls to 4th straight title with rout of Elecom

What’s New

Green Bowl:Panasonic rolls to 4th straight title with rout of Elecom



Panasonic running back Shun Yokota breaks away for a 45-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. (Photo by MI Planning)




KOBE (May 21)-The Panasonic Impulse reasserted their dominance of the west region with a one-sided victory in the final of the Green Bowl, but head coach Nobuyoshi Araki insisted there were still some kinks to be worked out heading into the fall season.


Takuya Fujimoto rushed for a pair of 9-yard touchdowns and quarterback Ben Anderson, beginning his second stint in Japan, ran for a score as the Impulse blew away the Elecom Kobe Finies 55-3 in the championship game of the four-team spring tournament.


Shun Yokota was named the game MVP after rushing for 102 yards on just four carries, including a 45-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter for the Impulse, who led just 17-3 at halftime before cruising to their fourth straight title and 29th overall.


“There was a big point difference, but that was more from the opponent’s mistakes at key points,” Araki said. “There is not much difference in level. We didn’t make the passes that we should, and the reaction of the defense was slow. If I had to grade how we are now in terms of completeness I give it a 50 (out of 100).”


Place-kicking brothers Shintaro and Eita Saeki each kicked a field goal, and Kei Ohara returned a short punt for a touchdown for Panasonic, which had advanced to the final with a 49-10 win over the As One Black Eagles on May 5. Elecom made the final by holding off the Asahi Soft Drinks Challengers 10-7.


Elecom’s first drive gave an indication of what a long afternoon it would be for the Finies at Oji Stadium in Kobe.


Behind a long pass by quarterback Keijiro Kasuya, the Finies drove from the 24 to the Impulse 25. But in succession they had an illegal substitution penalty, a quarterback sack and a false start penalty. Then their punter on fourth down was tackled from behind, giving Panasonic the ball on the 48, which led to Shintaro Saeki’s 29-yard field goal.


The Finies responded with their lone scoring drive of the day, marching to the Impulse 11, where they tied the game on Hidetaka Nakano’s 27-yard field goal 5:29 into the second quarter.


The Impulse regained the lead a little over three minutes later, when Yokota’s 33-yard run to the 1-yard line set up Anderson for his rushing touchdown.


Panasonic got a chance to pad the lead before halftime when defensive lineman Makoto Kajiwara blocked a punt, giving the Impulse the ball on the Elecom 33 with 22 seconds left in the half. That was enough time for Takashi Ohara to connect with Koji Takagi on a 28-yard touchdown pass on the final play of the second quarter.


Elecom, trying to change the momentum, attempted to surprise Panasonic with an onside kick to start the second half, but the Impulse recovered. In the end it worked in Panasonic’s favor as it started its second drive of the half on the Elecom 36.


An Ohara run took the ball to the 9-yard line, where Fujimoto scored on a draw play to put the Impulse up 24-3 midway through the third quarter.


Anderson, who played with the Nojima Sagamihara Rise two years ago, had his longest pass completion when he connected with wide receiver Takato Kido on a 40-yarder to put the ball on the Elecom 29. Yokota picked up 27 yards, and Shunichi Iwata went up the middle to score from the 2 with :27 left in the third quarter.


The fourth quarter was all Panasonic’s, as Eita Saeki kicked a 31-yard field goal, defensive back Ren Takeuchi’s interception set up Yokota’s 45-yard touchdown run, Kei Ohara had a 30-yard punt return for a touchdown and Fujimoto capped the scoring with his second 9-yard touchdown run with 1:48 to go.


Anderson completed 4 of 8 passes for 69 yards, while rushing for 47 yards on six carries. Elecom’s Kasuya was 13 for 16 for 82 yards, with Yuki Takao making six catches for 54 yards.


Elecom and Panasonic, which lost to the Obic Seagulls in a tiebreaker in a rain-swept semifinal of last fall’s playoffs, are scheduled to clash in the regular season-opening game next fall. Last season, Panasonic rolled to a 44-0 victory.


“Panasonic is our opponent in the first game in the fall,” Elecom head coach Ryta Kano said. “We have to figure out a way to close this 52-point gap. We can’t have a game like this in the fall.”


The Impulse will be back on the field for one more game this spring, in the Kobe Bowl against Kwansei Gakuin University Fighters, the defending national college champion, on June 4 at Oji Stadium.


—Translated from West staff report