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Kinoshita makes three TD grabs in Seagulls’ rout over BigBlue

by Hiroshi Ikezawa

Staff Writer

Noriaki Kinoshita caught three touchdown passes to lead the Obic Seagulls to a 45-14 victory over the IBM BigBlue on Saturday at Kawasaki Fujimi Stadium.

The Seagulls wrapped up the group stage of the Pearl Bowl Tournament with a 2-0 record and advanced to the semifinals against the Nojima Sagamihara Rise on June 7 at the same venue. The Fujitsu Frontiers play the Lixil Deers in the other semifinal game.

Kinoshita, who participated in the Atlanta Falcons’ summer camp in 2007, caught 12 passes for 180 yards, including 41-, 20-, 4-yard scoring receptions. He had a touchdown pass from starting rookie quarterback Takushiro Hata and two from veteran Shun Sugawara, who played as the third quarterback and made three scoring tosses.

The Seagulls took a 24-0 lead into halftime. Their defense kept putting pressure on IBM quarterback Kevin Craft and did not allow him to establish an offensive rhythm. Craft competed 16 of 38 passes for 199 yards and a touchdown while being picked off twice and sacked three times.

“We have been focusing on this game this spring. IBM has a big-time offense and they will improve by the time the fall season starts,” Obic head coach Makoto Ohashi said. “Our defense really worked hard on pass defense the past three weeks (since the last game) and it was effective today.”

The Seagulls beat the BigBlue 42-41 last September but saw Craft throw five touchdown passes. This memory urged the Seagulls to improve their pass defense.

The Obic offense also helped. The Seagulls led in time of possession (38:06) to control the clock. The offense scored in seven of 11 drives in the game, not including kneeling down on the final play.

Craft hit Hirokazu Matsuo with a 2-yard touchdown pass early in the third quarter to cut the margin to 24-7, but the Seagulls answered back quickly as Kentaro Mori received a 58-yard touchdown toss from Sugawara 1:30 later.

The Seagulls added two more touchdowns in the final quarter to make a 3-yard touchdown run by BigBlue running back Tomokazu Sueyoshi with 13 seconds to play meaningless.