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TOP > What’s New > Silver Star storm to victory in intra-Asahi clash

What’s New

Silver Star storm to victory in intra-Asahi clash

’13.11.12

KAWASAKI (Nov. 10) —  There would be no overtime needed this time for the Asahi Beer Silver Star. They had this year’s intra-Asahi clash well under control.

 

Quarterback Kaoru Furukawa and Shingo Hamada each ran for two touchdowns and Asahi Beer handily defeated the Asahi Soft Drinks Challengers 34-10 in a second-stage clash between corporate cousins at Kawasaki Stadium.

 

Hamada rushed for 113 yards on 18 carries on a day in which swirling wind gusts severely hampered the passing game. The Challengers, forced to take to the air as they played catch-up, completed just 7 of 27 passes for 37 yards with two interceptions.

 

Asahi Soft Drinks (4-2) fared little better on the ground, rushing for just 88 yards on 35 carries. Yuta Sadakata recorded two of the Silver Star defense’s three sacks, including one for a safety in the fourth quarter. Asahi Beer also put up a goal-line stand in the third quarter after the Challengers had 1st-and-goal at the .

 

The Silver Star (4-3), who finished third in the East Division, were eliminated from contention for a berth in the final stage when they lost a surprisingly close second-stage opener 21-7 to the Central Division champion Obic Seagulls.

 

“This year our objective was to play harder than last year and we fought well against the Seagulls,” Hamada said. “If we didn’t keep that up against Inryo (Soft Drinks), then nothing would change. So we went all out.”

 

It marked the second year in a row that the Silver Star helped dim the West Division runner-up Challengers’ chances to make the final four for the first time since 2008. Last year’s clash went into overtime, with Asahi Beer winning 26-20 on a Hamada touchdown after the two teams each kicked two field goals.

 

The Challengers must now defeat the three-time defending champion Seagulls in their final second-stage game on Nov. 17 in Osaka, and even then whether or not they advance will be determined by factors out of their control.

 

Asahi Beer took control of Sunday’s game from the opening kickoff, when Furukawa engineered a seven-play, 78-yard drive that he capped with a 5-yard keeper for a touchdown.

 

A 64-yard return on the ensuing kickoff by wide receiver Tatsuya Kureta, who was the Challengers’ top weapon all afternoon (185 yards on five returns, 33 yards rushing on three carries and 15 yards receiving on two catches—all team highs), set up a 37-yard field goal by Shinji Kageyama.

 

Early in the second quarter, Hamada, who had been held to a combined minus-one yard on his previous five carries, took a pitchout and broke free on a 33-yard touchdown run to make it 14-3.

 

“If I can get a good start, we feel we can definitely get a touchdown on that play,” Hamada said. “We did that in practice.”

 

Asahi Beer padded the lead with the help of a long return of its own, as Kenta Osawa’s 57-yard punt return set up a 31-yard field goal by Yutaka Yamaguchi. Unfortunately, Osawa was injured on the play and had to leave the game.

 

Trailing 17-3 entering the second half, Asahi Soft Drinks look like it might close the gap when Kureta returned the opening kickoff 58 yards to the Silver Star 22. After advancing only three yards, the Challengers tried a fake field goal, but it failed when Takuya Yamamoto was stopped after a four-yard gain.

 

The Challengers threatened again on their next drive. Led by a 28-yard run by Kureta, they advanced to the Silver Star 6, where they had first-and-goal. Bulky quarterback Tetsuya Haraguchi gained five yards, was stopped for no gain, then watched in dismay when Kotaro Tagawa dropped a sure touchdown pass in the end zone. Going for it on fourth down, Yuki Shirakami was stuffed for a two-yard loss.

 

Asahi Soft Drinks finally cut the gap to one touchdown, but it took one of the few mistakes by the Silver Star. Asahi Beer opted for a quick kick on 3rd-and-6 from its own 7, and Furukawa’s impromptu punt hit off one of his own lineman, giving the Challengers the ball back on the 3.

 

After a pass interference penalty moved the ball up a yard, Shirakami went over to make it 17-10 with 5:47 left in the third quarter.

 

But Hamada’s second touchdown run, a similar 25-yard scamper off a pitch, early in the fourth quarter and a missed extra point put Asahi Beer ahead 23-10. Koken Shuno’s interception of a Masayoshi Hayashi pass set the stage for the Silver Star’s final touchdown, with Furukawa taking it in himself from the 13. An unsuccessful 2-point conversion left it 29-10 with 9:20 left.

 

The Challengers brought in Tomotsuna Inoue to try to spark a comeback, but the one-time Arena Football League quarterback was less than effective. He was a dismal 3-for-12 for 18 yards with one interception, and was sacked in the end zone by Sadakata for a safety.

 

Asahi Beer completed the scoring when Yugo Inoguchi kicked a 44-yard field with 3:17 left in the game.

 

 

 

 

 

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