Favorites advance to semifinals in Japan’s XLeague

The four top seeds performed as predicted and won their quarterfinal matchups in the 2018 XLeague playoffs this past weekend in Japan.

Defending champions, the Fujitsu Frontiers had no trouble getting past the All-Mitsubishi Lions, easily handling them 35-7. Quarterback Michael Birdsong threw four touchdowns passes to pace the Frontiers.

Obic Seagulls quarterback Skyler Howard matched his Frontiers counterpart, as he also threw four touchdown passes en route to a 42-25 win over the Nojima Sagamihara Rise. This game was billed as the premium matchup of the quarterfinals and for one half it lived up to its billing. But the Seagulls broke open a tight game with three second half touchdowns to win going away. Obic had lost to the Rise in the second week of the regular season.

These two teams will face each other in one semifinal on November 25.

Watch the game replays here.

The Panasonic Impulse roared out to a 35-0 halftime lead and then cruised to a 45-0 win over the Tokyo Gas Creators.This was the first-ever trip to the playoffs for the Tokyo squad and it showed.

Watch the game replay here.

Last year’s finalists, IBM Big Blue, had to come from behind in their quarterfinal game against the surprising Elecom Kobe Finies, to finally win 34-23. Trailing 20-17 going into the second half, IBM quarterback Yuki Masamoto threw a touchdown pass to Ryo Takagi and then ran another touchdown in himself to put the game away in the fourth.

Watch the game replay here.

So the 2017 X Bowl finalists, IBM Big Blue, will take on the 2015 champions, Panasonic Impulse in the other semifinal matchup on November 25.

All photos: Inside Sport: Japan

 

 

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