The Super 9 stage of Japan’s X League playoff format wound up on the weekend. Although two of the three games had no bearing on the semifinals, the game between the Fujitsu Frontiers and Lixil Deers was pivotal in deciding the final semifinal berth.
Fujitsu Frontiers 34 – Lixil Deers 24Colby Cameron completed 35 of 48 passes for 304 yards and two touchdown passes to Takeshi Akiyama and scored another on an eight yard run, leading the defending national champion Fujitsu Frontiers to a 34-24 victory over the Lixil Deers on Sunday at Yokohama Stadium.
The Frontiers finished the regular season with a perfect 7-0 record and earned the No. 1 seed in the four-team playoffs. With the loss, the Deers, were eliminated as they needed a win to advance to the postseason. They suffered their second loss of the season to finish 5-2. They were tied with the Obic Seagulls and the Nojima Sagamihara Rise at 5-2, but were knocked out of the playoffs because of the strength of schedule.
The Frontiers made the best use of their powerful offense yet again. Along with Cameron’s passing offense, Gino Gordon added 182 yards on 21 carries on the ground, helping the Frontiers gain 537 yards on total offense. Gordon had a 47-yard TD run in the third quarter
Impulse 36 – Nojima Sagamihara Rise 0
Although this game meant nothing as these two teams will face each other again on November 29, the Panasonic Impulse defeated the Rise 36-0 at Osaka’s Kincho Stadium on Sunday, to stay undefeated with a 7-0 record. The Impulse, who are seeded second because of the strength of the second stage, will play the No. 3 Rise again at Kincho Stadium on Nov. 29. The Frontiers take on the fourth-seeded Seagulls on the same day at Yokohama Stadium. The seeding between the Rise and Seagulls was decided by their head-to-head result during the season. The Rise beat the Seagulls 20-17.
IBM Big Blue 37 – Asahi Soft Drink Challengers 20
Big Blue quarterback Kevin Craft tossed three first half touchdowns and ran one in himself to give IBM a 28-14 halftime lead as they cruised to a 37-20 victory over the Asahi Soft Drinks Challengers. IBM’s defense led by James Brooks and Meech Eaton stymied the Challengers forcing two key turnovers and blocking a late field goal attempt returning it 97 yards for the two points. Craft added another touchdown pass in the fourth quarter after tight end John Stanton had thrown an option pass deep downfield to wide receiver Nakajima to set up the final touchdown.
The Fujitsu Frontiers enter the semifinals on November 29 as the number one seed and will face the number four team, the Obic Seagulls. The number two seed, the Panasonic Impulse who also finished undefeated, will play the Nojima Sagamihara Rise who finished third overall.