In the semifinals of Japan’s X League preseason tournament – the Pearl Bowl – the Lixil Deers came from behind to beat the Obic Seagulls 21-16 on a last minute Naoki Maeda 74 yard punt return for a touchdown.
The Deers advanced to the final for the first time since 2013 and will take on the IBM BigBlue in the Pearl Bowl final on June 13 at Tokyo Dome.
The game was full of excitement for the 3,605 spectators on hand as the lead changed hands three times in the last five minutes. But the Deers forced Obic to punt with 38 seconds left and Maeda, who has been having an excellent preseason, made no mistake, catching the Seagulls special teams unit off guard and scampering 74 yards for the Deers win.
Check out the highlights from John Gunning here.
John Gunning spoke with Obic Seagulls and former UCLA Bruins quarterback Jerry Neuheisel after the game.