The struggling Nojima Sagamihara Rise (0-3) faced a daunting task Sunday, October 6 when they take on the 3-0 Obic Seagulls as Japan’s X League heads past the midpoint of the regular season.
Last year, the Rise defeated Obic 18-17 in the regular season but lost 42-25 to the Seagulls in the quarterfinals.
The Rise were blanked by the Panasonic Impulse 24-0 in their season opener, dropped a 41-35 loss to IBM Big Blue, and then were soundly beaten by the Fujitsu Frontiers 49-19.
Obic on the other hand, has looked impressive whipping the All Mitsubishi Lions 48-16, the Elecom Kobe Finies 38-3 and Tokyo Gas Creators 62-7.
Rise quarterback Jimmy Laughrea is the second leading passer in the X League, behind Fujitsu’s Michael Birdsong with 643 yards and six touchdowns. His leading targets, Masato Ito and Yuhei Yagi, are third and fourth in the league with 242 and 224 yards respectively in receptions.
For Obic, Shun Sugawara has thrown for 422 yards and five touchdowns while his key receiver is Noriaki Kinoshita, MVP of the Pearl Bowl final, who has 136 yards receiving so far.
With the Rise a far different team than 2018 and Obic looking like the only team who could challenge Fujitsu for the title this season, the Seagulls should prevail.