Japan: Three of four favorites advance to XLeague semifinals

By Aidan Wohl

The XLeague quarterfinals saw both expected blowouts and stunning thrillers this last weekend as three of the top four seeds advanced.

The defending champion Fujitsu Frontiers did as expected as did the Obic Seagulls and Panasonic Impulse. However, there was one key upset as Elecom Kobe Finies were too much to handle for the favorites, IBM Big Blue.

#1 Fujitsu Frontiers 53 – #4 Asahi Beer Silver Star 3

Saturday saw pure dominance on both ends of the ball for the reigning Rice Bowl champion Fujitsu Frontiers, who whipped the Silver Star 53-3, as they now prepare to play Elecom Kobe Finies in the semifinals. Key contributors for the Frontiers were running back Trashaun Nixon, who ran for 66 yards of total offense and scored a touchdown, and quarterback Tsubasa Takagi, who threw for two touchdowns off 17-25 passing. Keisuke Hayashi also came up huge on the defensive end, accounting for an interception.

#3 Elecom Kobe Finies 35 – #2 IBM Big Blue 25

Although Elecom was the lower seed coming into the playoffs, they managed to pull off the upset, beating IBM Big Blue 35-25. Led by the heroics of Kobe Finies quarterback David Pindell who threw for three touchdowns off 15-19 passing, Elecom was able to pull away with a win and a chance at the Rice Bowl. They will have a tough challenge in their way though as they will have to face the powerhouse Fujitsu Frontiers in the semifinals

#1 Panasonic Impulse 38 – #4 Asahi Soft Drinks Challengers 28

The undefeated Impulse showed why they were the No. 1 seed in their division on Friday as they did not hold back against the Asahi Challengers, defeating them by two scores, 38-24. Former Mountain West championship game MVP as a member of Boise State, quarterback Jaylon Henderson, led the charge for the Impulse, throwing for 290 yards and four touchdowns to help Panasonic prevail against the Challengers. Henderson and the Impulse will play the Seagulls in the semifinal game.

#2 Obic Seagulls 21 – #3 Nojima Sagamihara Rise 9

The Obic Seagulls picked up where they left off after almost beating Fujitsu in the final regular season game of the year, edging Sagamihara Rise 21-9 on Saturday, showing that they are a force to be reckoned with come next week as they prepare to face the undefeated Panasonic Impulse in which will be another highly anticipated contest. Led by two sacks from Cardell Rawlings and a touchdown pass from quarterback Jason Smith, the Seagulls were too much for the Rise to handle on both sides of the ball.

Photos: XLeague

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