The Fujitsu Frontiers, winners of the past three X League championships, were pushed to the limit this past weekend by the Obic Seagulls and needed a blocked field goal on the final play of the game to defeat Obic 16-14 and finish the regular season in first place.
With the win, Fujitsu finished first in the standings and will face the fourth place Elecom Kobe Finies in the semifinals while Obic wound up second and will take on the third place Panasonic Impulse.
Trailing 16-14 with just over two minutes left in the game, Obic quarterback Skyler Howard drove his team from his own 35 down to the Fujitsu nine yard line but stalled. Kicker Takatoshi Hoshino trotted out for what looked like a chip shot from the 26 yard line. But Fujitsu defensive back Shoichi Hida managed to get a hand on the ball to preserve the win and give the Frontiers the regular season title.
Fujitsu quarterback Michael Birdsong completed four of five passes for 37 yards, and one touchdown while backup Tsubasa Takagi was good on nine of 14 for 71 yards. Running back Samergy Grant was a workhorse for Fujitsu carrying the ball 14 times for 102 yards while Birdsong had six carries for 64 yards and a touchdown. Grant also caught six passes for 64 yards and the other touchdown. Hidetetsu Nishimura kicked a field goal and an extra point.
For Obic, Howard threw for 160 yards on 13 of 21 passing while Noriaki Kinoshita caught four for 67. Howard also rushed for 61 yards and one touchdown while Tomoki Chimura had 10 carries for 63 yards and one touchdown.
After Fjutsu’s opening drive stalled, the Seagulls got on the scoreboard first as Howard marched his team on an eight minute drive, capping it with a six yard scamper into the end zone giving Obic a 7-0 lead.
The Frontiers responded early in the second with Birdsong finding the end zone himself from eight yards out. The extra point attempt failed and Fujitsu trailed 7-6.
A crucial turnover by the Seagulls led to another Frontiers touchdown. Chimura lost control of the ball and Frontiers defensive back Ishii pounced on it at the Obic 17 yard line. Birdsong hit Grant crossing the middle for a touchdown on the very next play and this time the extra point attempt was good and Fijitsu went ahead 13-7 at the half.
The touchdown was costly for Fujitsu though as Birdsong was hurt while throwing and had to leave the game.
Neither team could move the ball effectively in the third quarter and in the fourth, Howard finally got his team untracked. He marched them down to the Fujitsu 20 yard line and then Chimura found a gap and scored giving the Seagulls a 14-13 lead.
The Frontiers regained the lead two possessions later with Nishimura kicking a 23 yard field goal to put his team back out in front 16-14.
Which led to the dramatics of the final two minutes.
Watch the highlights here.