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2005 season:
Rice Bowl
Japan X Bowl
Koshien Bowl
X League
Kanto League
Kansai League

2004 season:
Rice Bowl
Japan X Bowl
Koshien Bowl
X League
Kanto League
Kansai League

Japan-USA Bowl 2005

Rice Bowl Scores
Japan X Bowl Scores
Koshien Bowl Scores
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X League 2005 News

Seagulls win championship

The Obic Seagulls won the national championship with a 47-17 rout of the Hosei University Tomahawks in the Rice Bowl. It is the third japanese championship in the Seagulls' team history and the first since winning it in 1998. In front of 28.041 fans in the Tokyo Dome the Seagulls dominated their opponents from the beginning with a punishing running game (283 rushing yards), holding the ball for more than 38 minutes. Meanwhile the Seagulls' defense held Hosei's top rusher Yasuhiro Maruta to just 11 rushing yards. RB Takuya Furutani, who shredded the Hosei defense with 246 yards and five touchdowns and was voted MVP of the game, gave the Seagulls an early 14-0 lead with two 1-yard touchdown runs within a five minute span in the first quarter. The 29 year old national team player (world cup winner in 2003) added a third first half touchdown midway through the second quarter (2-yard run) to increase the Seagulls' lead to 20-0.
After falling behind 28-3 the Tomahawks gained a little momentum when they scored 70 seconds before the end of the first half with a 48-yard touchdown pass from QB Shun Sugawara to RB Yasuhiro Maruta and four minutes into the third quarter with a 46-yard touchdown pass from Sugawara to WR Shigeaki Inoue. But five and a half minutes later K Yosuke Kaneoya increased the Seagulls' lead to 31-17 with a 42-yard field goal ending any hopes of a Hosei comeback.

RB Takuya Furutani scored five touchdowns
for the Seagulls against Hosei University.
(Photo: X League / Makoto Sato, Text: Dieter Hoch)

Seagulls vs Tomahawks in Rice Bowl

The Obic Seagulls and Hosei University Tomahawks will meet on January 3 in the Rice Bowl in Tokyo to determine this season's japanese champion. The Seagulls defeated defending X League and National Champion Matsushita Denko Impulse in front of 13.564 spectators 25-16 in the Japan X Bowl, the championship Game of the X League. In a game dominated by both defenses the Impulse scored nine points within 15 seconds in the fourth minute of the second quarter and took a 16-0 lead when CB Masayoshi Yamanaka returned a fumble 81 yards for a touchdown with just under six minutes left in the first half. The momentum changed midway through the third quarter when Obic's DE Kevin Jackson took down P Masahiro Ota while he tried to punt out of his own endzone. The Seagulls took over at Matsushita's 3-yard line and on the next play RB Takeaki Matsuda ran the ball into the endzone to reduce Obic's deficit to 10-16. Jackson, who played college football at the University of Hawaii, was named the game's MVP.
The Tomahawks advanced to the championship game with a 17-14 win in front of 23.000 spectators in the Koshien Bowl over the Ritsumeikan University Panthers who had beaten the Tomahawks for the college championship the previous two years. In those two games the Tomahawks were beaten by an average margin of 38.5 points. This time Hosei was the better team thanks to strong performances by QB Shun Sugawara who completed 75 percent of his pass attempts (21 of 28) and ran for 77 yards and RB Yasuhiro Maruta who had 13 rushes for 93 yards. Still, the Panthers took a 14-10 lead with four minutes and 19 seconds left in the third quarter with a 25-yard touchdown run by QB Tatsuhiko Shibui. The game was decided when Yasuhiro Maruta scored on a 3-yard run with just over eight minutes left in the game.

DE Kevin Jackson became the first foreign
player to be named MVP of the Japan X Bowl.
(Photo: Obic Seagulls, Text: Dieter Hoch)

Impulse vs Seagulls in Japan X Bowl

Defending X League and national champion Matsushita Denko Impulse and the Obic Seagulls will meet in this year's Japan X Bowl on December 19 at the Tokyo Dome. Impulse reached the championship game with a 3-0 victory against the Kajima Deers. The only points for Impulse which on offense was carried by the runs of RB Masahiro Ishino (13 rushes for 96 yards) were scored by K Masahiro Ota with a 26-yard field goal with three minutes and 40 seconds left in the first half. The Deers had the opportunity to tie the score with about two minutes left in the game but missed a 31-yard field goal attempt.
The Seagulls clinched a spot in the Japan X Bowl with a 13-7 win against Asahi Beer Silver Star. The key player for the Seagulls was QB Manabu Tatsumura, the newcomer of the year on the quarterback position in the X League (843 yards and 11 touchdowns with no interceptions during the regular season). Tatsumura finished the first offensive series of his team with a 35-yard touchdown pass to WR Ken Shimizu with six minutes and 27 seconds left in the first quarter and added another touchdown pass (7 yards to TE Sumitaka Ando) with one minute an 23 seconds left in the firtst half to give his team a 13-0 lead at halftime. The Silver Star did not score until just under a minute left in the game when QB Minoru Higashino threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to WR Daiju Fujinawa.
The winner of the Japan X Bowl will play against the college champion in the Rice Bowl on January 3 at the Tokyo Dome. The college champion will be determined in the Koshien Bowl on December 18 when Kansai League champion Ritsumeikan University Panthers will face Kanto League champion Hosei University Tomahawks (56-3 winner against the Keio University Unicorns in the Clash Bowl) in the championship game for the third year in a row.

K Masahiro Ota kicked Matsushita Denko Impulse
into the X League championship game.
(Photo: X League / Makoto Sato, Text: Dieter Hoch)

Deers take on defending champion

The Kajima Deers from Tokyo will face defending X League champion Matsushita Denko Impulse from Osaka in the semifinals on December 3. In the first round of the Final 6 the Deers lead by QB Yosuke Ozaki who completed 9 of 13 pass attempts ans ran for 125 yards defeated the Onward Skylarks 27-6. The Deers took a 7-0 lead in the seventh minute of the first quarter with a 12-yard run by RB Naohisashi Ikeba and increased the lead three minutes into the second quarter to 14-0 with a 20-yard touchdown pass from Ozaki to WR Naohiro Uemura. The game was decided when S Tadanaro Sano scored Kajima's third touchdown with a 74-yard interception return. The Skylarks scored their only touchdown with a 84-yard kickoff return at the beginning of the second half.

QB Yosuke Ozaki lead the Kajima Deers
to victory against the Onward Skylarks.
(Photo: X League / Makoto Sato, Text: Dieter Hoch)

Silver Star celebrates comeback victory

In the second game of the first round of the playoffs Asahi Beer Silver Star came back from a 7-19 deficit to defeat the Asahi Soft Drinks Challengers 22-19. The Challengers lead 13-7 at halftime and when they increased the lead to 19-7 in the ninth minute of the third quarter with a 41-yard interception return by S Torahiko Nakamura it looked like the game was decided. But just three minutes and six seconds later the Silver Star closed the gap to 14-19. The Silver Star finally took the lead with a 4-yard run by RB Masatoshi Hanafusa (plus two point conversion) in the fifth minute of the fourth quarter. The Silver Star will play against the Obic Seagulls in the semifinals.

Masatoshi Hanafusa's Touchdown gave Asahi Beer Silver Star
a 22-19 lead against the Asahi Soft Drinks Challengers.
(Photo: X League / Makoto Sato, Text: Dieter Hoch)

Deers and Silver Star reach Final 6

In the Central Division of the X League the Kajima Deers and Asahi Beer Silver Star clinched the final two spots in this year's Final 6. In week 5 of the regular season the Silver Star's 24-14 win against the Deers created a three-way tie at the top of the division. The Deers, Silver Star and IBM BigBlue all finished the regular season at 4-1. The first step of the tie breaker (won-lost-record in head-to-head games) did not bring a decision because each team had one win and one loss in games against the other two. So the tie was broken based on point differential in head-to-head games.
In the East Division the Obic Seagulls clinched first place with a 21-0 win against the Onward Skylarks in the final game of the regular season. In the West Division first place and a first round bye went to the defending X League and Japanese Champion Matsushita Denko Impulse from Osaka. The Impulse defeated the Asahi Soft Drinks Challengers 3-0 with a 29-yard field goal by kicker Masahiro Ota with two minutes and one second remaining in the game.
In the playoffs Impulse and the Seagulls have a first round bye. On November 20 and 21 Asahi Beer Silver Star against the Asahi Soft Drinks Challengers and the Kajima Deers against the Onward Skylarks battle for the two remaining spots in the semifinals scheduled for December 3.

Asahi Beer Silver Star clinched a playoff spot
with a 24-14 victory against the Kajima Deers.
(Photo: X League / Makoto Sato, Text: Dieter Hoch)

Four teams clinch playoff spots

In week four of the regular season in the X League four teams clinched a spot in this year's playoffs. The Obic Seagulls in the East Division became the first team to secure a berth in the Final 6 with a 35-14 victory against the Fujitsu Frontiers on October 17 in front of 3.272 fans in the Tokyo Dome.
The Seagulls held one the key offensive players of the Frontiers, RB Hiroyuki Morimoto (national team player and World Cup winner in 2003), to just 13 yards on eight rushes and took a 14-0 lead at halftime on two touchdown passes by QB Manabu Tatsumura (4 yards and 28 yards) in the second quarter. The game turned a bit into a rout with two touchdown runs (5 yards and 1 yard) by RB Shusaku Shiraki in a span of two minutes and 22 seconds between the fifth and seventh minute of the third quarter. A 12-yard touchdown pass from QB Daisuke Nakazawa to WR Brad Brennan for Fujitsu's first touchdown two minutes and 21 seconds later came too late to change the outcome of the game. Six days later the Onward Skylarks secured the second playoff spot in the East Division by beating the winless Tokyo Gas Creators 28-7. The Seagulls and Skylarks will battle for first place in the East Division on November 11.
In the West Division as expected the defending X League and Japanese National Champion Matsushita Denko Impulse and the Asahi Soft Drinks Challengers qualified for the Final 6. The Impulse defeated the As One Black Eagles 27-10, meanwhile the Challengers routed the winless Kobe Finies 55-0. The Impulse and Challengers will face each other in week five in a fight for first place in the division.
The defending champion Impulse came from behind in the second half after the Black Eagles had taken a 10-3 lead by halftime. The momentum changed with two interception returns (51 Yards and 35 Yards) in a span of one minute and 17 seconds in the third quarter. Two minutes and 15 seconds later Impulse increased the lead to 24-10 with a 20-yard touchdown run by RB Masahiro Ishino who finished the game with ten rushes for 60 yards.
The two top teams of each division qualify for the Final 6. The two best division winners have a first round bye. The third division winner and the three second place teams play for the remaining two spots in the semifinals. The X League Champion will be crowned in the Japan X Bowl in December. The Japan X Bowl winner will then play against the College Champion in the Rice Bowl on January 3.

(Text: Dieter Hoch)

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