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 > Playoff Wrapup: Same faces, different pairings for semifinals of JXB Tournament

Game Report

Playoff Wrapup: Same faces, different pairings for semifinals of JXB Tournament


IBM defensive end James Brooks sacks Lixil quarterback Shohei Kato for a safety in the fourth quarter of their quarterfinal game on Saturday at Yokohama Stadium. (photo by MI Planning)







Playoff Wrapup: Same faces, different pairings for semifinals of JXB Tournament

By Ken Marantz



The teams are the same, but their partners for the big dance are different.


The four teams that made it to the semifinals of the Japan X Bowl Tournament last year made it back with victories in the quarterfinals over the weekend. But different pairings ensure that only one of the finalists from 2016 will be back in the championship game at Tokyo Dome on Dec. 18.


The defending champion Fujitsu Frontiers, who defeated the Obic Seagulls in the 2016 Japan X Bowl, will clash with Obic for a place in this year’s game on Nov. 26 at Fujitsu Stadium Kawasaki. That will also be a rematch of their regular-season finale, which Fujitsu won 13-10 in overtime.


The other semifinal will pit the Panasonic Impulse against the IBM BigBlue on Nov. 26 at Osaka’s Kincho Stadium.


Fujitsu, Obic, Panasonic and IBM are among the elite group of only five teams—Lixil (Kashima) Deers is the other—that have made it to the championship game since 2005. By making the semifinals, they have assured that that streak will continue.


Here is a wrapup of the quarterfinals:


Nov. 11 at Yokohama Stadium

Obic Seagulls 41, Nojima Sagahimara Rise 22: The Obic defense picked off six Devin Gardner passes among nine total turnovers and the Seagulls rode the miscues to a decisive victory over Nojima to make the semifinals for the eighth straight season. Shun Sugawara threw two touchdown pass while two non-quarterbacks had one each, Taku Lee had a 54-yard touchdown run and Takatoshi Hoshino kicked a pair of short field goals. Five of the Rise’s turnovers—three intereceptions and two fumbles—came on consecutive series in the first half as Obic took a 27-7 lead into halftime. Defensive end Kevin Jackson had two of Obic’s five sacks and had the first interception. Gardner, who completed 27 of 52 passes for 378 yards, ran for one touchdown and threw for another as the Rise pulled with 14 points midway through the third quarter. But after Aruto Nishimura’s second touchdown reception, Rise fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and Obic went ahead 41-13 when wide receiver Noriaki Kinoshita threw a 20-yard touchdown pass to Ryoma Hagiyama. Obic’s first touchdown came when running back Tomoki Chimura crossed up the Rise and connected with Nishimura on a 70-yard pass. Kinoshita also caught a TD pass from Sugawara. The game wasa  rematch of their Week 2 meeting in the regular season, which Obic won 14-0 in the rain.

Fujitsu Frontiers 34, Elecom Kobe Finies 7: Kosuke Kamiyama rushed for two touchdowns and Colby Cameron threw for 202 yards and two scores as Fujitsu rolled past Elecom Kobe to keep alive its bid for a third league title in four years. Trashaun Nixon had three sacks and the Fujitsu defense forced three turnovers, while limiting Elecom to 186 total yards and allowing the Finies to convert on just one of 12 third downs. Kamiyama, seeing extensive action in the absence of injured Gino Gordon, scored Fujitsu’s first touchdown on a 2-yard run in the first quarter on a drive set up by defensive back Atsushi Fujita’s interception of a Keijiro Kasuya pass. In the second quarter, Hidetetsu Nishimura kicked field goals of 30 and 31 yards before Cameron threw a 38-yard touchdown pass to Teruaki Clark Nakamura to put Fujitsu up 20-0 at halftime. Cameron, who completed 16 of 21 passes with one interception, connected with Sei Kyo on a 7-yard touchdown pass, and Kamiyama scored his second TD on a 10-yard run in the third quarter. Elecom avoided a shutout when Jordan Canzeri, who rushed for 80 yards on 19 carries but had his longest run of the day brought back by one of the Finies’ nine penalties, scored on a 3-yard run midway through the fourth quarter.

IBM BigBlue 51, Lixil Deers 31: Tomokazu Sueyoshi broke free on an 80-yard touchdown run to start the second half and IBM, which trailed 21-20 at halftime, broke open a close game to defeat Lixil and advance to the semifinals for the second straight year. Kevin Craft threw three of his four touchdown passes in the second half as the BigBlue amassed 500 total yards and avenged a 27-26 loss to the Deers in Week 5 of the regular season. In a wild start, the score was 7-7 after just 31 seconds after IBM’s Kevin Coghlan intercepted Shohei Kato’s pass on the opening play of the game and took it 32 yards for a touchdown, and Lixil’s Naoki Maeda returned the ensuing kickoff 96 yards for a score. Toshiki Sato kicked two field goals in the first half for IBM, but missed a chance to put the BigBlue ahead at halftime when he was wide right on a 42-yard attempt. IBM defensive end James Brooks had two sacks, the second one resulting in a safety that capped the scoring. Craft completed 29 of 40 passes for 272 yards with one interception, which was returned 42 yards for a touchdown by Tadanari Sano, while John Stanton had a game-high nine receptions for 67 yards and a touchdown.


Nov. 12 at Yanmar Stadium, Osaka

Panasonic Impulse 20, All Mitsubishi Lions 3: Ben Anderson threw for one touchdown and ran for another, and Eita Saeki kicked a pair of field goals as unbeaten Panasonic overcame a surprisingly staunch All Mitsubishi to gain a final four place for the third straight year. In a game dominated by the defenses, the Battle 9′s Lions, who upset Super 9 side Asahi Beer in the wild-card playoff, struck first when Kazuki Danguri recovered David Motu’s fumble on a punt return at the Impulse 23, setting up a 41-yard field goal by Hayato Tanizawa. The top-seeded Impulse got on the scoreboard late in the second quarter when Anderson threw a 47-yard touchdown pass to Koji Takagi, two plays after Shun Yokota had a 42-yard touchdown run called back for an illegal block. The touchdown toss was Anderson’s second completion to Takagi in a 3rd-and-long situation during the drive, which started at the 6. Anderson made it 14-3 on Panasonic’s first series of the second half when, facing 4th-and-2 at the Lions 7, he ran it in himself. Later, Lions quarterback Kei Saito, lining up in the shotgun on a fourth down, punted, but the kick was blocked by defensive lineman Takuya Kuramoto, leading to a 26-yard Saeki field goal. Saeki added a 48-yarder early in the fourth quarter. Anderson completed 12 of 16 passes for 174 yards, and rushed for a game-high 48 yards on eight carries. Saito was held to 10 of 30 passing for 105 yards, and was intercepted on the Lions’ final two possessions.



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