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Japan rolls to 2015 IFAF berth with rout

by Hiroshi Ikezawa

Staff Writer

Eisuke Tomatsu reached the end zone three times and Japan scored on every offensive possession en route to an 86-0 blowout of the Philippines in an Asian qualifier for the 2015 IFAF World Championship on Saturday at Amino Vital Field in Tokyo

With the victory, Japan secured one of the two Asian berths in next year’s competition in Stockholm.

South Korea obtained the other spot by defeating Kuwait earlier this month.

Japan dominated in all three phases of the game.

The Japanese offense gained 356 yards and scored nine touchdowns, while the defense held the Philippines to only one first down and scored on a safety, a fumble recovery and an interception return. For the special teams unit, Tomatsu returned a punt 36 yards for a touchdown.

“We are happy to qualify for the world championship,” Japan captain Masayoshi Tsukada said. “We all want to be the world’s No. 1. But we need to improve to achieve that goal.”

The big win by Japan was expected as the Philippines has only a four-year history of playing American football.

The visitors have some players with playing experience in the United States and/or Canada, but many of them began playing only a couple of years ago.

This was the first time for the Philippines to organize a national team and play an international game.

“Coming here and playing as a team is a big challenge itself,” head coach William Yeh said. “(Football) is a new program for us and we don’t get a lot of support from our country right now, something I hope will change over time. We compete as a team and this was the most important thing today.”