Japan’s X League Super 9 First Round Delivered Plenty of Action

Japan’s X League Super 9 playoff round robin stage produced two undefeated teams and revived the hopes of another. Each of the nine teams enters this stage retaining their records from the division round making every game crucial.

Panasonic Impulse 38 – Asahi Beer Silver Star 14

Japan - Super 9 - Panasonic v Asahi

The Panasonic Impulse (6-0) proved they are legitimate contenders for the Japanese crown by dominating the Asahi Beer Silver Star (4-2) 38-14 at Yokohama Stadium. Running back Ben Dupree rushed for 140 yards and three touchdowns while quarterback Tetsuo Takata completed 16 of 22 passes for 135 yards and another two touchdowns.

The Impulse defense held Asahi quarterback Mason Mills in check harrying him the entire game, sacking him three times. Nevertheless, Mills was 24 of 46 for 249 yards and three touchdowns. But he was picked off late in the second quarter which the Impulse capitalized on right away taking a 28-14 lead into the break. Asahi was not able to recover from the shock and could not find the end zone for the rest of the game.

Obic Seagulls 34 – IBM Big Blue 26

Japan - Super 9 - IBM v Obic

The Obic Seagulls (4-2) rebounded from a two-game losing skid to surprise IBM Big Blue (4-2) 34-26 at Yokohama Stadium. Quarterback Shun Sugawara passed for 226 yards and a touchdown and running back Asaki Mochizuki rushed for two touchdowns as the Seagulls improved their chances of qualifying for the semifinals.

Obic’s defense did their part picking off Big Blue quarterback Kevin Craft (33 of 50 for 337 yards and two touchdowns) three times while sacking him three times as well. The Seagull’s struck early as Takuto Hara scored from four yards out and Sugawara found Noriaki Kinoshita for a 20 yard touchdown pass stunning IBM with a 24-13 halftime lead.

Craft tried to get his team back into the game with a 51 yard touchdown strike to John Stanton but the Seagulls hung on for the critical win.

Fujitsu Frontiers 28 – Elecom Kobe Finies 7

Japan - Super 9 - Fujitsu v Elecom

The unbeaten Fujitsu Frontiers (6-0)  improved their record to 6-0 as they  upended the Elecom Kobe Finies 28-7 (3-3) behind the passing of Colby Cameron. Although the Finies racked up 374 yards in total offense and had an overwhelming time of possession (43 minutes to 17), Cameron’s 298 yards in passing yardage, much of it gained on critical big plays and touchdowns, was the difference.

Strangely, given Elecom’s offensive firepower, it was their defense which accounted for the lone touchdown as linebacker Takayuki Kurata returned a Frontiers fumble 42 yards for the score.

The next round in the Super 9 stage will be November 7/8 as the Obic Seagulls take on the Asahi Soft Drinks Challengers, the Nojima Sagamihara Rise face the Asahi Beer Silver Star and the Elecom Kobe Finies play the Lixil Deers.

Roger Kelly is an editor and a writer for AFI. A former PR Director the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League for 7 years, he now lives in Sweden writing about and scouting American Football throughout the world.