YOKOHAMA – Colby Cameron completed 35 of 48 passes for 304 yards and two TD passes to Takeshi Akiyama and scored another on an 8-yard run, leading the defending national champion Fujitsu Frontiers to a 34-24 victory over the Lixil Deers on Sunday at Yokohama Stadium.
The Frontiers finished the regular season with a perfect 7-0 record and earned the No. 1 seed in the four-team playoffs. The Deers, who needed a win to advance to the postseason, suffered their second loss of the season to finish 5-2. They are tied with the Obic Seagulls and the Nojima Sagamihara Rise at 5-2, but were knocked out of the playoffs because of the strength of schedule.
At Osaka’s Kincho Stadium on Sunday, the Panasonic Impulse defeated the Rise 36-0 to stay undefeated with a 7-0 record. The Impulse, who are seeded second because of the strength of the second stage, will play the No. 3 Rise again at Kincho Stadium on Nov. 29. The Frontiers take on the fourth-seeded Seagulls on the same day at Yokohama Stadium. The seeding between the Rise and Seagulls was decided by their head-to-head result during the season. The Rise beat the Seagulls 20-17.
“We made some mistakes in the game and we have to correct them before the next game,” Frontiers head coach Satoshi Fujita said. “Offensively, we had some communication problems, but our defense made plays when needed. That was huge today.”
The Frontiers made the best use of their powerful offense yet again. Along with Cameron’s passing offense, Gino Gordon added 182 yards on 21 carries on the ground, helping the Frontiers gain 537 yards on total offense. Gordon had a 47-yard TD run in the third quarter.
Cameron’s 8-yard TD pass and two field goals by Hidetetsu Nishimura gave the Frontiers a 13-7 early lead. The Deers countered with Naoki Maeda’s 100-yard kickoff return TD with 2:34 remaining in the second quarter, but Cameron’s scoring run made the score 20-7 at the halftime.
The Frontiers were erratic early in the second half and committed a lost fumble and an interception in the third quarter, which were converted to a field goal and a TD run by Yasuhiro Maruta to cut the Frontiers’ lead to 20-17.
But Gordon’s score and Cameron’s second scoring pass to Akiyama widened the margin again.
The Deers moved the chain well in the second half, scoring a TD with 5:45 left in the game, but the Frontiers picked off three passes in the last 4:22 to deny the Deers’ comeback effort.