The 5-2 Panasonic Impulse face the 6-1 Obic Seagulls in the X League semifinals Saturday November 30.
The Impulse pushed the Seagulls in late October losing 14-7 but then struggled against the winless All Mitsubishi Lions, beating them only 17-7. They had looked solid going into the Obic game beating the Rise 24-0, IBM Big Blue 42-28 and Tokyo 27-0 although they dropped a 45-27 decision to the unbeaten Fujitsu Frontiers. They looked good however in their final game before the playoffs, overwhelming the Elecom Kobe Finies 41-9.
For Panasonic, quarterback Anthony Lawrence leads a balanced attack. He is the second leading passer in the league having thrown for 1,482 yards and eight touchdowns. His top receiver is Tatsuya Tonhana with 30 receptions for 420 yards and four touchdowns while Daniel Wise has 359 yards receiving and three touchdowns. Victor Jamal Mitchell is the second leading rusher in Japan with 537 yards and is always dangerous. Obic will have to keep an eye on him.
Obic looked very impressive this season but dropped the final regular season game of the year to the Fujitsu Frontiers, losing 16-14 after having a field goal blocked on the final play of the game. They had marched through the rest of the league beating the All Mitsubishi Lions 48-16, the Elecom Kobe Finies 38-3, Tokyo Gas Creators 62-7 and Nojima Sagamihara Rise 30-0. However, the Panasonic Impulse pushed them hard and Obic finally came away with a 14-7 win, They got back on track against IBM Big Blue beating them 42-25.
Seagulls quarterbacks Skyler Howard and Shun Sugawara have thrown for 763 and 422 yards and lead a balanced attack while key receiver is Noriaki Kinoshita, MVP of the Pearl Bowl final, who finished the regular season with 352 yards receiving.
This will be the best game of the playoffs.