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TOP > What’s New > Takata named MVP; 8 Impulse make All X-League team

What’s New

Takata named MVP; 8 Impulse make All X-League team

’16.02.02

Panasonic quarterback Tetsuo Takata

 

 

 

What a difference a year makes.

 

Last season, the Panasonic Impulse failed to make the final stage, and, for the first time ever, had no player named to the All X-League team. Fast forward to this season and, after winning both the league and national titles, the Impulse dominated the postseason selections, and took home the MVP award as well.

 

Veteran quarterback Tetsuo Takata, who led the Impulse to comeback victories in both the Japan X Bowl and Rice Bowl, was named the most valuable player for the second time in a career that he has brought to a triumphant end.

 

Asahi Beer quarterback Mason Mills, who led a resurgence for the once-powerful Silver Star, was chosen as the Rookie of the Year after completing 146 of 232 passes for a league-high 2,037 yards and 22 touchdowns.

 

Takata was also one of eight Impulse selected to the All X-League team, with the 34-year-old making it for the fourth time overall and first in five years.

 

Part of Panasonic’s new-found success can be directly linked to its recruitment for the first time of foreign players out of American colleges, and two of the newcomers—running back Benjamin Dupree, the league’s rushing leader with 752 yards, and center Edmond Davis—were honored in their debut seasons.

 

Not that the American players who came of Japanese colleges had any less of an impact. Guard Scott Duffy and defensive end David Motu both were selected for the first time—even after changing positions in 2015. Motu, in his third year out of Nihon University, switched from linebacker, while Waseda grad Duffy became an offensive lineman after years on the defensive side of the ball.

 

Takata’s case for MVP and All X-league got a boost from his performance in the Japan X Bowl, where he threw two fourth-quarter touchdown passes to lift the Impulse a dramatic 24-21 victory over the defending champion Fujitsu Frontiers, giving Panasonic its first league title since 2008. That may have given him the nod over Fujitsu counterpart and 2014 selection Colby Cameron, who threw for 1,990 yards and 25 touchdowns.

 

Takata completed 73 of 101 passes for 991 yards in the first two stages, but most noticeably had no interceptions in league play. His only interceptions came when he had two in the Rice Bowl against his alma mater Ritsumeikan University, but he made up for it by leading the Impulse to a 22-19 victory.

 

Along with its four foreign players, two others from Panasonic were among the 13 first-time selections to the All X-League team. Tatsuya Tonka, Takata’s favorite target at wide receiver, and punter Shintaro Saeki, whose brother and teammate Eita was selected as the kicker on the 2013 team, both made it for the first time. The other Impulse chosen was defensive back Atsushi Tsuji, who had previously been a 2010 selection.

 

Defeated finalist Fujitsu had five players selected, including first-timer tight end Yuji Mizuno, who became a key Cameron target when top wide receiver Teruaki Clark Nakamura was injured. Offensive tackle Yutaro Kobayashi and kicker Hidetetsu Nishimura were both chosen for the fourth time, while guard Shun Mochizuki and defensive back Al-Rilwan Adeyami, the co-leader in interceptions with four, became two-time selections.

 

The IBM BigBlue had the next most members on the squad with three, as running back Tomokzau Sueyoshi and defensive end James Brooks were chosen for the second time each, and speedster Takashi Kurihara made it for the first time as the kick returner.

 

Rounding out the offensive team are Asahi Beer wide receiver Roman Wilson, Mills’ main target who led all receivers in catches (52), yards (975) and touchdowns (14), and the Asahi Soft Drinks Challengers’ Haruhisa Kurokawa, a three-time pick at tackle.

 

On the defensive line, Lixil’s Shuhei Suzuki was chosen for the fourth time and the Obic Seagulls’ Shota Tomita for the third time. All three linebackers are first-time winners—the Nojima Sagimahara Rise’s Yoshiki Tanaka, Lixil’s Kensuke Amaya and Asahi Soft Drinks’ Akira Ando. In the secondary, Asahi Beer’s Yuto Omori, who tied Adeyami with four interceptions, became a first-time pick, while Obic’s Masashi Fujimoto made it for the third time.

 

The most noticeable absence from the list was Obic defensive end Kevin Jackson, whose streak of selections ended at 10 straight years—marking every year since he entered the league in 2005.

 

 

Most Valuable Player

Tetsuo Takata, QB, Panasonic Impulse

 

Rookie of the Year

Mason Mills, QB, Asahi Beer Silver Star

 

All X-League Class of 2015

 

OFFENSE

Center: Edmond Davis, Panasonic (1)

Guards: Scott Duffy, Panasonic (1); Shun Mochizuki, Fujitsu (2)

Tackles: Yutaro Kobayashi, Fujitsu (4); Haruhisa Kurokawa, Asahi Soft Drinks (3)

Tight End: Yuji Mizuno, Fujitsu (1)

Wide Receivers: Tatsuya Tonka, Panasonic (1); Roman Wilson, Asahi Beer (1)

Running Backs: Tomokazu Sueyoshi, IBM (2); Benjamin Dupree, Panasonic (1)

Quarterback: Tetsuo Takata, Panasonic (4)

DEFENSE

Defensive Line: James Brooks, IBM (2); Shuhei Suzuki, Lixil (4); David Motu, Panasonic (1); Shota Tomita, Obic (3)

Linebackers: Yoshiki Tanaka, Nojima (1); Kensuke Amaya, Lixil (1); Akira Ando, Asahi Soft Drinks (1)

Defensive Backs: Yuto Omori, Asahi Beer (1); Atsushi Tsuji, Panasonic (2); Al-Rilwan Adeyami, Fujitsu (3); Masashi Fujimoto, Obic (3)

SPECIAL TEAMS

Kicker: Hidetetsu Nishimura, Fujitsu (4)

Punter: Shintaro Saeki, Panasonic (1)

Returner: Takashi Kurihara, IBM (1)

 

Note: Number in parenthese indicates times selected.

 

Fair Play Award: Hurricanes

Cheerleaders of the Year: Panasonic Impulse

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