Japan: Elecom Kobe Finies edge IBM Big Blue on last second TD for huge win

The X League wound up its first weekend of play in this COVID-19 delayed and shortened season as the Elecom Kobe Finies earned a thrilling last second 35-28 victory over IBM Big Blue.

This is the third win by Elecom over IBM since 2008. They defeated the Big Blue 45-38 to make the playoffs and once before by the same score on October 6, 2008.

Tied 7-7 at the half, the teams combined for 49 second half points with Kobe Finies quarterback Cody Sokol finding WR Takeshi Minamimoto in the deep far right corner of the end zone with  five seconds left for the game-winning touchdown.

Sokol threw five touchdown passes on the day with Alfonso Onunwor his main target with a whopping 12 catches for 251 yards and three of those touchdowns.

Elecom opened the scoring with Sokol connecting with Onunwor on a 44 yard touchdown reception.

However, IBM immediately responded as running back Daisuke Yamanaka picked up 28 yards taking the ball down to the 17 yard line. Then quarterback/head coach Kevin Craft hit wide receiver Suzuki Takaki to even the score at 7-7.

The Kobe Finies had a chance to take the lead but missed two field goal attempts.

And that’s how the first half ended. And where the dramatics started.

First IBM defensive back Kengo Teranaka picked off Sokol. Then Craft found Takaki on a slant for a score to break the tie and give the Big Blue a 14-7 lead.

This ignited the Elecom offense as Sokol and Onunwor struck twice more in the third quarter on touchdown passes for 25 and 75 yards. IBM answered with backup quarterback Yuki Masamoto finding Takaki  for his third score of the day, tying the game at 21-21.

The fourth quarter opened with Sokol first hitting Minamimoto for a 23 yard pass to bring the ball down to the IBM 27 yard line. He then found wide receiver Satoru Mori for a diving catch in the end zone giving Elecom a 28-21 lead.

With Masamoto still behind center, IBM mounted an 80 yard, three minutes and 34 second drive that ended with Masamoto hitting wide receiver Shirane Ko to tie the game with a minute and a half left.

Which set up the final, dramatic Sokol to Minamimoto deciding touchdown.

Elecom Kobe racked up 497 yards of offense while the Big Blue had 411 yards, but had 90 yards in penalties.

In other first round action, the Frontiers defeated Nojima Sagamihara 48-3 while Panasonic blanked the Tokyo Gas Creators 38-0. The Seagulls were idle this weekend.

IBM will take on the defending champion Fujitsu Frontiers on November 7 while Elecom faces the  Nojima Sagamihara Rise the following day, November 8.

Source: XLeague

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