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Cameron leads Frontiers to Japan X Bowl win over Seagulls

by Hiroshi Ikezawa

Staff Writer

Colby Cameron completed 11 of 20 passes for 116 yards while Gino Gordon scored the game’s only touchdown as the Fujitsu Frontiers defeated their archrival Obic Seagulls 16-3 on Monday in the Japan X Bowl for the X League championship.

Playing before 25,445 fans at Tokyo Dome, the Frontiers captured their second X League title in two years.

“My players did a great job tonight,” Fujitsu head coach Satoshi Fujita said. “I didn’t expect a low score like this. We just did what we had to do in the game.”

The Frontiers’ next game is the Rice Bowl against the collegiate champion for the overall national championship on Jan. 3 at the same venue. Waseda University takes on Kwansei Gakuin for the college crown on Sunday in the Koshien Bowl at Koshien Stadium.

“I can’t think that far ahead yet. We’ll just start preparing for the game,” Fujita said.

The showdown of the league’s two undefeated teams turned out to be a defensive game with neither team finding the end zone until 0:39 left in the third quarter, when Gordon rushed four yards for a score.

The Frontiers, who scored 26.7 points per game during the season, were held to three field goals in their first four possessions. But that was enough when their defense held the Seagulls to only 4 yards on the ground and 175 overall.

The Frontiers finally scored a touchdown in their fifth offensive series, right after the Seagulls scored on a field goal late in the third quarter, making it a two-possession game.

The Fujitsu defense also sacked the Obic quarterbacks, starter Jerry Neuheisel and backup Shun Sugawara, three times.

After the ineffective Neuheisel was benched with the score at 9-0 at halftime, Sugawara, who guided the Seagulls to four straight national championships from 2010-13, was sent onto the field, but he failed to spark the offense or lead any scoring drives.

“This is the happiest moment,” Cameron said to laughs and cheers from the stand when he answered in Japanese during a post-game interview. “I ran a lot in the first half and tired a bit. But we played a better game in the second half.”

Cameron could not finish the X Bowl two years ago due to a shoulder injury, but took the MVP award on Monday night after adding a team-high 86 yards rushing on 27 carries. Now he will focus on the Rice Bowl, which he missed the last time.

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