The Panasonic Impulse return to Japan’s X Bowl for the first time since 2015 after defeating the favored Obic Seagulls 24-14 this past weekend in the X League semifinals at Expo ’70 Commemorative Stadium, in Osaka.
This will be Panasonic’s first trip to the championship final since they won the title in 2015.
With the win, the Impulse avenge an earlier season 14-7 loss to Obic and served notice that they have a shot at winning the championship.
Quarterback Anthony Lawrence threw for 155 yards and one touchdown while running back Victor Jamal Mitchell had 20 carries for 145 yards. Takuya Fujimoto scored the lone rushing touchdown for Panasonic while Taiji Koyama hauled in a touchdown pass from Lawrence. Kohei Doi scored on an interception while Eita Saeki kicked a field goal and three extra points.
For Obic,Shun Sugawara, filling in for an injured Skyler Howard, threw for 185 yards and one touchdown with Shingo Maeda his main target with seven catches for 148 yards and a touchdown. Tomoki Chimura led his team with 10 carries for 77 yards and a touchdown while Takatoshi Hoshino kicked both extra points.
Obic opened the scoring early in the first quarter as Sugawara hit Maeda for a 42 yard strike. The Impulse responded with Lawrence capping a 71 yard drive with a 10 yard touchdown pass to Koyama to tie the game at 7-7. Then, with just under two minutes left in the first half, Panasonic got a huge break as Doi picked off Sugawara and returned the ball 32 yards to give the Impulse a 14-7 lead.
The Seagulls answered at the seven minute mark of the third quarter as Chimura got a huge block at the line of scrimmage and raced 66 yards to tie the game at 14-14.
Panasonic regained the lead on the very next possession as first Mitchell broke for a 49 yard gallop and then Fujimoto scampered in from five yards out to put the Impulse ahead 21-14.
With the Obic offense unable to move the ball effectively, the Impulse regained possession and on the next series, Saeki kicked a 48 yard field goal to extend the lead to 24-14 early in the fourth quarter.
Panasonic defensive back Josh Cox sealed the win with an interception with just under two minutes left and the Impulse ran out the clock.
The Impulse will now face the undefeated Fujitsu Frontiers in X Bowl XXXIII. The Frontiers downed the Elecom Kobe Finies 31-13 in the other semifinal. The last time Fujitsu and Panasonic met in the final, Panasonic came away with a 24-21 championship win.