American Football International

Japan XLeague: Obic Seagulls get past IBM Big Blue to stay unbeaten

The undefeated Obic Seagulls are marching toward a showdown with the unbeaten Fujitsu Frontiers in the final regular season game of the year in Japan’s XLeague after downing the IBM Big Blue 42-25 last weekend.

The Seagulls fell behind 7-0 early and held a slim 14-13 halftime lead but then pulled away in the third quarter, scoring two unanswered touchdowns in that period, and then cruised in the fourth for the win.

Obic quarterback Skyler Howard tossed two touchdown passes while running back Chimura scored two long touchdowns as did running mate Lee Taku. Tight end Holden Huff and wide receiver Noriaki Kinoshita each scored on touchdown receptions.

For IBM, quarterback Kevin Craft threw touchdown passes to Omi Katsuhito, Suzuki (Takashi) and Satoshi Shirane while Sato kicked two field goals and two extra points.

The BigBlue opened the scoring though as Craft finds Katsuhito from 13 yards out after IBM recovered a fumble.

Obic RB Lee scored 2 TDs Photo: Hideki Ishihara MI Planning

Obic answered with Howard marching his team down to the IBM 15 and connected with Huff to even the score at 7-7.

The Seagulls then recovered a Big Blue fumbled on the 28 yard line and Howard makes no mistake hitting Kinoshita to give Obic a 14-7 lead early in the second quarter.

IBM comes back but could only turn field position into a pair of Sato field goals closing the gap to 14-13 at the half.

Then an Obic interception sets up the Seagulls offense at midfield. Taku found a seam and took off scoring the Seagulls third touchdown, increasing the lead to 21-13. With IBM unable to move the ball, Obic took over again and this time it was Chimura bursting over tackle and racing 52 yards to expand the lead to 28-13 as the third quarter ended.

The Big Blue were not done yet though as Craft found Suzuki for a two yard score and the gap narrowed to 28-19 early in the fourth.

Lee broke the game open at this point, dodging a pair of tackles and taking the ball 55 yards for a 35-19 Obic lead with just over six minutes left in the game.

Although Craft found Shirane for a 20 yard touchdown with just under four minutes to go to bring IBM closer, 35-25, Obic’s offense had found a rhythm. From almost the identical spot on the field as Lee’s touchdown run, Chimura put the game away, breaking for a 56 yard touchdown of his own.

With the 42-25 win, Obic has set up a battle of the unbeatens facing the Fujitsu Frontiers November 16.