Japan’s Obic Seagulls soar past Tokyo Bullseyes in 2016 Pearl Bowl opener

The powerhouse Obic Seagulls, 2015 X League semi-finalists, were too much for the newly promoted Tokyo Bullseyes in the opening game of the annual Spring exhibition Pearl Bowl tournament in Japan, dominating all three phases in a 51-0 rout at Fujitsu Stadium, Kawasaki.

In a game time decision, coach Naoki Kosho gave veteran Shun Sugawara the start at quarterback over the younger Takushiro Hata.

Getting the ball after a quick three and out courtesy of defensive end Kevin Jackson, Sugawara threw four perfect passes, capping the drive with a twenty yard strike to receiver Shouta Matsunaga.

Matsunaga later caught a thirty five yard TD pass on his only other target of the game. Also reaching the end zone were; Asaki Mochizuki, Tataeru Nakanishi, Shouno Takagi and Hiroki Kato (twice).

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Hata took turns behind center throwing for 116 yards and two touchdowns.

Despite the final score, the Bullseye defense played tough. On the second series, they brought pressure and linebacker Tatsuya Kohara jumped a crossing route to gave his offense their best field position of the game.

They were unable to move the ball however as the Seagulls defense lead by veterans Kevin Jackson and Byron Beatty Jr. spent the afternoon in the backfield allowing only 76 yards of total offense, picking up 3 sacks, two interceptions and a safety.Beatty, speaking before the game was “excited to finally hit someone that’s not my teammate”. Along with being disruptive to the passing game, he made a huge block to spring rookie returner Takuya Iwamoto 65 yards in the most exciting play of the game.

Late in the third quarter and into the fourth Obic was resting their starters and with some trick formations and QB sprint roll outs, it looked as though the Bullseyes would finally reach pay dirt, but the drive stalled and a low kick on the field goal attempt was blocked.

Bullseyes offensive lineman Joshua Ishikawa however was just happy to put on pads and play. He said afterward

“We’re a small team, in size and number of players so we’ll always be the challenger. Going forward, we need practice and this game, at this level is the best experience we can get.”

The Bullseyes and Seagulls will face the remaining group B teams at Fujitsu Stadium on May 3rd and 15th respectively.

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Bret Thompson is a former high school defensive back from Montana who has lived in Japan for 12 years.
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