富士通フロンティアーズ IBM BigBlue アサヒビールシルバースター オール三菱ライオンズ 明治安田PentaOceanパイレーツ 電通キャタピラーズ
ノジマ相模原ライズ LIXIL DEERS オービックシーガルズ 富士ゼロックスミネルヴァAFC 東京ガスクリエイターズ 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 サイドワインダーズ
TOP > Game Report > Around the League: Playoff Pairings and Wrapup of Week 6 Action

Game Report

Around the League: Playoff Pairings and Wrapup of Week 6 Action


Elecom Kobe Finies defensive back Yoshiro Takai recovers a fumble in the first quarter against the Lixil Deers on Sunday as Osaka’s Expo Flash Field.




With a typhoon keeping scores low but never dampening enthusiasm, the Japan X Bowl Tournament picture was completed with the conclusion of the regular season over the weekend. The Panasonic Impulse finished as the lone unbeaten team, while the defending champion Fujitsu Frontiers earned the No. 2 seed by ending with a 5-1 record.


Of the two playoff spots that were undecided going into the weekend, the Asahi Beer Silver Star filled the No. 8 place from the Super 9, and the As One Black Eagles earned the second wild card berth from the Battle 9. Asahi Beer advanced at the expense of the Asahi Soft Drinks Challengers based on the strength-of-schedule tiebreaker after both finished 2-4. As One came out on top in a similar tiebreaker with four other 3-3 teams.


Asahi Beer, which beat the All Mitsubishi Lions on Sunday to advance, will face them again in the wild card playoff on Nov. 5. The winner will take on Panasonic in the quarterfinals, to be held the weekend of Nov. 11-12.


The Nojima Sagamihara Rise, Lixil Deers and IBM BigBlue all finished 4-2, but they were ranked in that order (Nos. 3, 4, 5, respectively) based on the fact that Nojima beat the other two, and Lixil defeated IBM. That has produced two intriguing quarterfinals—the Rise will face the 3-3 Obic Seagulls, who defeated them 14-0 in a rain-hit Week 2 game, while IBM will get a chance to avenge its 27-26 loss to Lixil from Week 5.


Japan X Bowl Tournament schedule

Wild-card playoffs

Nov. 5

8. Asahi Beer Silver Star vs B1. All Mitsubishi Lions, at Yokohama Stadium, 11 a.m.

7. Elecom Kobe Finies vs B2. As One Black Eagles, at Expo Flash Field, Osaka, 11:10 a.m.


Nov. 11

3. Nojima Sagamihara Rise vs 6. Obic Seagulls, at Yokohama Stadium, 11 a.m.,

2. Fujitsu Frontiers vs Elecom or As One, at Yokohama Stadium, 2 p.m.

4. Lixil Deers vs 5. IBM BigBlue, at Yokohama Stadium, 5 p.m.

Nov. 12

1. Panasonic Impulse vs Asahi Beer or All Mitsubishi, at Yanmar Stadium, Osaka, noon.


Semifinals on Nov. 26 at Kincho Stadium, Osaka, and Fujitsu Stadium Kawasaki, 1 p.m.

Japan X Bowl on Dec. 18 at Tokyo Dome, 7 p.m.


Wrapup of Week 6 Games

Oct. 28

Tokyo Metropolitan Police Dept. Eagles 21, Bulls Football Club 11: Masaru Nakayama threw two touchdown passes and rookie running back Ryota Miyahara—whose main role is as the Tokyo MPD kicker—ran 22 yards for his first career touchdown as the Eagles (2-4) beat the Bulls (0-6) in the rain at Yokohama Stadium. Nakayama, who completed 7 of 15 passes for 92 yards, lost a fumble on the second play from scrimmage of the game, and the Bulls, who will finish as the lone winless team in the league, converted the turnover into a 25-yard field goal by Seiji Hataki. The Eagles got on the scoreboard in the second quarter after Yasuhisa Iwashita returned a punt 26 yards to the Bulls 18, and three plays later, Nakayama threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Takeshi Hirabayashi. Nakayama’s 6-yard TD toss to Masayuki Okana capped a 70-yard drive in the third quarter, and Miyahara’s touchdown run, set up by a short punt, made it 21-3 midway through the fourth quarter. The Bulls got a 1-yard touchdown run by Shun Enomoto and a 2-point conversion with 1:19 left to cap a 13-play, 73-yard drive.

Meiji Yasuda PentaOcean Pirates 21, Tokyo Gas Creators 6: Burly tight end Hiroyuki Akatsu and Shinpei Wakashima each scored a rushing touchdown, and linebacker Shunsuke Nagura picked up his own blocked punt and took it into the end zone as Meiji Yasuda (3-3) kept alive its slim hopes of a wild-card berth by defeating Tokyo Gas (2-4) at Yokohama Stadium. The Pirates were outgained 247-209, but the defense intercepted two passes, stopped the Creators on 9 of 10 third-down plays, held them twice in the second half on downs inside the 10, and limited them to a pair of second-quarter field goals by veteran Yosuke Kaneoya. Kaneoya, an All X-League selection in 2007 and 2008 for the Obic Seagulls, booted a 47-yarder with :04 left in the first half to cut the Pirates lead to 14-6 at halftime. Wakashima scored on a 4-yard run in the third quarter. Pirates QB Ryoo Murota completed 13 of 17 passes for 168 yards with one interception.

Fuji Xerox Minerva AFC 10, Nagoya Cyclones 0: Aruto Masumoto kicked a 20-yard field goal in the first quarter and Tatsuya Hirosawa scored on an 11-yard run with 1:37 left in the game, and that was all Fuji Xerox (3-3) needed to deny Nagoya (3-3) a wild-card berth in the playoffs. The Cyclones, who would have secured a wild card spot with a victory, had two chances to tie the game, but Ringen Masaki missed a 30-yard field goal attempt in the second quarter and a 35-yard try in the fourth. Nagoya’s hopes all but ended when Shinya Mizuno lost a fumble with 2:29 left, and Fuji Xerox converted that into Hirosawa’s score, which was set up by a 44-yard run by quarterback Kento Sasa. Hirosawa, who rushed for 106 yards on 23 carries, also had a 47-yard kickoff return, but his 52-yard punt return was negated by offsetting penalties. The three victories was the most ever for both teams in X1.


Oct. 29

Panasonic Impulse 28, Nojima Sagamihara Rise 26: Ben Anderson ran for two touchdowns and threw for two against his former team as Panasonic (6-0) finished the regular season as the lone undefeated team by edging Nojima (4-2) amid a typhoon at Yokohama Stadium. The Rise, who missed an extra point after their third touchdown, went for the potential game-tying 2-point conversion after Devin Gardner scored on a 36-yard run on a 4th-down play with 1:43 left, but defensive lineman Makoto Kajiwara batted down a Gardner pass. The Rise had one final chance to win the game when they drove to the Panasonic 30 in the final minute, but an offensive pass interference penalty knocked them out of field goal range with :19 left. Anderson, who played for the Rise in 2015, ran for 111 yards on 19 carries, while completing 9 of 13 passes for 96 yards, including TD passes to Takuya Tonka and Shohei Kishimoto. Nojima’s bruising fullback Sione Houma scored on runs of 11 and 3 yards, while Gardner completed 12 of 29 passes for 161 yards and one touchdown with one interception. He also ran for 125 yards on 15 carries, and lost a fumble.

IBM BigBlue 10, Asahi Soft Drinks Challengers 0: Toshiki Sato kicked a 22-yard field goal in the second quarter and Tomokazu Sueyoshi scored on a 1-yard run early in the fourth as IBM (4-2) won a rain-lashed battle at Osaka’s Expo Flash Field that helped knock Asahi Soft Drinks (2-4) out of the playoffs. Shoko Nakatani had two of IBM’s three interceptions off Challengers QB Alex Niznak, who completed 15 of 26 passes for 135 yards. IBM, which was outgained 226-205, stuck mainly to the ground, as quarterbacks Kevin Craft and Yuki Masamoto both completed 3 of 6 passes for a combined 90 yards. IBM lost a fumble deep in Asahi Soft Drinks territory in the first quarter, while the Challengers missed a field goal early in the second. IBM, which also had a missed field goal, put on a goal line stand to stop the Challengers on downs in the fourth quarter.

Fujitsu Frontiers 13, Obic Seagulls 10, OT: Colby Cameron threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Teruaki Clark Nakamura in the first tiebreaker, lifting Fujitsu (5-1) over Obic (3-3) at Yokohama Stadium in a rematch of last year’s Japan X Bowl. Obic, which went first in the extra session after the game ended regulation tied 7-7, had to settle for a 37-yard field goal by Takatoshi Hoshino. Both touchdowns in regulation came in the fourth quarter, with Fujitsu’s Kazuki Takaguchi scoring on a 4-yard run and Obic’s Shun Sugawara, who took over for starter Ikaika Woolsey, throwing a 2-yard touchdown pass to Yuki Ikei with 2:21 left. A driving rainstorm that hindered by offenses in the first half led to a 45-minute suspension of the game early in the second half due to warnings of lightning, after which the rain dissipated somewhat. Cameron completed 12 of 18 passes for 83 yards, but was intercepted twice and lost a fumble on a scramble. The Fujitsu defense held Obic to 121 total yards, and limited Woolsey to 4 of 13 passing for 29 yards with one interception.

Lixil Deers 14, Elecom Kobe Finies 0: Yuki Shirakami scored on a 6-yard run on the opening series of the game, and Shohei Kato threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Kengo Hasegawa in the fourth quarter as Lixil (4-2) splashed to victory over Elecom (3-3) at Osaka’s Expo Flash Field. Shirakami, returning to the Kansai region where he spent four years playing for Asahi Soft Drinks, rushed for 132 yards on 22 carries as both teams by necessity stuck mainly with the ground game. Elecom running back Jordan Canzeri ran for 95 yards on 23 carries. Lixil lost a fumble in the first quarter, and in the second, kicker Daisuke Aoki missed a 48-yard field goal attempt and Kato (11 of 15, 116 yards) was intercepted by defensive back Takayuki Kurata in Finies territory. Early in the fourth quarter, Elecom came up short on a 4th-down gamble for a touchdown.

Asahi Beer Silver Star 20, All Mitsubishi Lions 3: Atsushi Tanida and Takuya Yanagisawa both scored on 12-yard runs, and Yoshinori Iijima kicked a pair of field goals as Asahi Beer (2-4) clinched a spot in the playoffs with victory over top Battle 9 team All Mitsubishi (4-2) in the rain at Yokohama Stadium. Yanagisawa gained 147 yards on 27 carries as the Silver Star ran on 51 of 54 plays from scrimmage. The Silver Star defense limited the Lions to just 58 total yards and forced four turnovers. Lions quarterback Kei Saito completed just 2 of 15 passes for 19 yards with two interceptions. Tanida’s touchdown run in the second quarter was set up by a fumble recovery at the Lions 35 as the Silver Star took a 9-3 lead into halftime. The Silver Star added a safety late in the third quarter when Takashi Kobayashi tackled Saito in the end zone.

As One Black Eagles 14, Club Hawk Eye 10: Wide receiver Kazuki Kawabata and quarterback Ryota Yabe both scored on a long runs in the first quarter, and As One (3-3) secured the final wild-card spot in the playoffs by holding off Hawk Eye (1-5) at Expo Flash Field in Osaka. As One, who beat Hawk Eye 23-0 in the second week of the season, failed to pad its lead, while Hawk Eye gradually made it a one-score game when Daiki Suyama kicked a 41-yard field goal in the second quarter and Hiroki Endo threw a 41-yard touchdown pass to Yuma Nagayoshi midway through the third quarter. Hawk Eye, who outgained the Black Eagles 236-192, had a pass intercepted at the As One 6 in the third quarter, and was stopped on a 4th-down gamble at the As One 40 on its final drive of the fourth. In the first quarter, As One’s Kawabata broke free on a 62-yard run, and four minutes later, Yabe scampered 37 yards for a score.


—Compiled by Ken Marantz

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