Japan: Fujitsu Frontiers down Obic in final regular season game to secure 2nd place heading into playoffs

The Fujitsu Frontiers finished Japan’s XLeague regular season with a much-needed come-from-behind win after beating the Obic Seagulls 14-13 on their home field, Fujitsu Stadium Kawasaki.

With the win, the Frontiers finish in second place behind the Panasonic Impulse, with a 6-1 record, dropping Obic into third at 5-2.

The two teams will face each other in the semifinals in two weeks’ time.

Fujitsu quarterback Tsubasa Takagi completed 17 of 34 passes for 176 yards and one touchdown (Matsui Riki) while rushing for a total of two yards and another touchdown. Riki led the team with seven catches for 75 yards and the one score. Running back Trashawn Nixon led all rushers with 91 yards on 18 carries.

For Obic, quarterback Yuyuki Kobayashi completed 12 of 21 passes for 155 yards but was picked off twice. Running back Maki Mochizuki had 10 carries for 37 yards and a touchdown while Tarkeru Yamasaki kicked two field goals and one extra point.

It was the Seagulls who struck first as Kobayashi found wide receiver Yuto Nishimura for a 57-yard gain on the second play of the first drive and then the Mochizuki pounded the ball in two plays later to give the Seagulls a 7-0 lead.

Photo: XLeague

Then Obic’s special teams stepped in, blocking a punt to give the offense the ball on the Frontiers’ 34 yard line. Fujitsu’s defense held and Yamazaki kicked a 48-yard field goal to increase the lead to 10-0 at the half. Yamazaki had only been added to the roster the week before after his brief sojourn in the Canadian Football League with the BC Lions.

Trailing 10-0 entering the second half, the Frontiers, with Takagi looking sharp, moved the ball down to the 10 yard line following completions to Matsui Riki, Kokaji Kyohei and Yimoto Junpei. Then Takagi took the ball in himself to narrow the lead to 10-7.

Photo: XLeague

Neither team could get much of an advantage after that until late in the third quarter when Yamazaki connected on a 20 yard field goal to increase the Seagulls‘ lead to 13-7.

Early in the final quarter, the Fujitsu defense picked off Kobayashi, returning the ball 55 yards down to the Obic 20-yard line. Takagi wasted no time finding Riki for the go-ahead touchdown, making the score 14-13 with seven minutes left in the game.

The Seagulls could get no closer however with Kobayashi’s final pass being intercepted with almost no time left.

These two teams will face each other again in the semifinals on December 12.

Source: XLeague.

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