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Japan routs Germany

by Hiroshi Ikezawa

Staff Writer

Receivers Naoki Maeda and Ryoma Hagiyama each reeled in a pair of touchdown receptions as Japan’s national football team shut out Germany 38-0 in an exhibition game Saturday at Kawasaki Fujimi Stadium.

Japan utilized a pass-happy offense in order make the best use of its speed and quickness. The Japanese alternated with three quarterbacks who were 25 of 42 for 314 yards and five touchdowns combined.

Germany showed its power by featuring running back Danny Washington, who had a team-high 76 yards from scrimmage, but four turnovers hurt the German offense. Japan converted three of those miscues into 17 points.

“(Japan) had a very fast defense, played disciplined, and took advantage of every mistake we made,” Washington said. “In the second half, we made too many mistakes and fell too far behind to establish our offensive rhythm.”

Japan got into its rhythm early, capping a nine-play, 79-yard drive with a touchdown on its first offensive possession. Shun Sugawara, who got the start at quarterback, was 4-for-4 passing during the drive, which ended with his 6-yard pass to Maeda.

The hosts widened their lead to 14-0 when Shohei Kato tossed a 14-yard scoring pass to Hagiyama with 2:18 to go in the first half.

Defensively, Japan kept the pressure on German quarterbacks Marco Ehrenfried and Mike Frise and forced three-and-outs five times during the contest.

Japan’s offense exploded early in the fourth quarter, putting the game away with 24 points in a 5:52 span.

“We used this opportunity to give young players the experience to play an international game,” Japan head coach Kiyoyuki Mori said. “I’m happy about the performance of the lines of both side of the ball. They played very physical and that is what we want to achieve in order to fight against bigger foreign players in next year’s world championship (in Sweden).”