Evergreen wide receiver Noriaki Kinoshita caught three touchdown passes from Skyler Howard and was named the game’s MVP as the Obic Seagulls won their third straight Pearl Bowl Final with a 31-15 victory over the IBM BigBlue on Monday at Tokyo Dome.
The Seagulls became the third team to achieve the “three-peat,” following the Renown Rovers (1985-87) and the Onward Oaks (1992-94), since the Pearl Bowl was established as the spring championship game of the industrial league in 1985.
The Seagulls’ eight championships ties the Kajima Deers’ Pearl Bowl record for the most crowns.
Kinoshita, who joined the Atlanta Falcons’ training camp in 2007 and 2008, caught a 4-yard scoring pass in the second play of the Seagulls’ first possession for an early 7-0 lead.
After the teams exchanged field goals to make it 10-3, the 36-year-old Kinoshita stiff-armed IBM defender Ryosuke Morioka for a 66-yard touchdown reception with 2:24 remaining in the second quarter.
“I remember I had a three-score game against IBM a few years back,” said Kinoshita, who added another score, this one a 70-yarder, midway through the third quarter. “I felt the coverage against me was a bit weak, so I looked for chances to beat their coverage. We have a good running back in Taku Lee. Their defense had to put defenders in the box and it gave me some more space to attack.”
Kinoshita, however, regretted a drop he made on third-and-15 at the IBM 28-yard line late in the first quarter. The missed catch could have been his second score.
“Everybody praises me for my three-score performance tonight, but the drop was bigger to me. This should have been a four-touchdown game for me,” Kinoshita said.
IBM quarterback Yuki Masamoto threw a touchdown toss and scored another on a run, but the BigBlue missed the extra point in both cases and were unable to reduce the deficit.
Lee added an insurance score on a 5-yard run with 11:54 remaining in the final quarter, putting the game away for the Narashino, Chiba Prefecture-based team.