Wolverines in Japan 2017 Regular Season Game 6

Wolverines in Japan 2017 Regular Season Game 6

Submitted by Carcajou on October 30th, 2017 at 4:17 AM

In sloppy, wet, rainy conditions from yet another typhoon drenching Japan, the Nojima Sagamihara Rise fell to the Panasonic Impulse 28-26 to close out their regular season in front of a sparse crowd at Yokohama Stadium.

The Rise went no-huddle and took an early 7-0 lead, as a long drive featuring mostly runs by QB Devin Gardner and a healthy RB Sione Houma took Nojima to the Impulse 3, and Gardner hit Yuhei Yagi for the TD.

Gardner was 12-29 passing for 160 yards in the game, with a touchdown and an interception. He connected with Yagi on 7 throws for 55 yards.

In the 2nd Quarter Panasonic scored on a QB keep on the Inverted Veer by Benjamin Anderson (University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff). That was quickly answered when Toshira Maejima returned the ensuing kickoff 87 yards and Houma bulled his way from 11 yards out on the next play. Houma finished with 18 carries for 53 yards and two TDs.

But Panasonic then scored twice in the last 1:19 of the first half on a couple of quick drives sandwiching a Nojima three-and-out, and the score was 21-14 at the half in favor of the Impulse.

In the 3rd Quarter, Houma took a pitch from Gardner and scored from 3 yards out, but the try for point was no good, and Panasonic clung to a 21-20 lead.

A muffed snap by the Impulse punter gave Nojima the ball at the +32 and they drove to the 18. But a fumble on a scramble by Gardner ended that threat.

With an exchange of punts, Panasonic made a 69 yard drive count midway through the 4th Quarter. Anderson, slogging through the baseball marshland, was the beneficiary of several missed tackles on the drive (including a potential sack by Mario Ojemudia), and scored on a 1 yard sneak to make it 28-20. Ojemudia had six tackles and one sack, but missed a few more due to the slippery conditions on the field.

Gardner responded with a drive of his own, using a couple of runs by Houma and several by himself, then scoring a TD on an option keep with 1:43 left, to bring the deficit to two points. Gardner's pass on the conversion attempt was knocked down, however, so the score remained 28-26.

The unsuccessful onside kick resulted in Panasonic taking over at midfield. But Nojima's use of timeouts, an illegal motion penalty, and a poor punt gave the Rise a chance with the ball at their own 39 with 43 seconds left. Gardner completed several passes to move Nojima into scoring position. But a fake Spike Go for an apparent touchdown was called back for Offensive Pass Interference, moving them back to the 45. Then Gardner's final three throws- including a Hail Mary to the end zone as time expired- fell incomplete, and gave Panasonic the victory.

The Rise outgained the Impulse 344 to 289 for the game, and Anderson only managed 96 yards passing for the impulse (throwing 9-14). But that was enough for them to manage the victory and finish first in the standings in the regular season at 6-0. Nojima (4-2) finished third, behind the Fujutsu Frontiers.

In the second game of the tripleheader at Yokohama, Fujitsu (5-1) defeated the Obic Seagulls 13-10 with a TD in overtime.

Nojima will next meet Obic in the league quarter-finals played on November 11th (Armistice Day) at Yokohama Stadium. Coincidentally (or perhaps ironically?), kickoff happens to be scheduled for 11 AM.

Obic, regularly a league powerhouse, shut out Nojima 14-0 in the second game of the regular season, but finished the season with a disappointing 3-3 record, also losing to IBM (34-36) and Panasonic (13-16) only good enough for sixth place.

Wolverines in Japan 2017 Regular Season Game 5

Wolverines in Japan 2017 Regular Season Game 5

Submitted by Carcajou on October 23rd, 2017 at 4:52 AM

Devin Gardner threw for three touchdowns and ran for another as the Nojima Sagamihara Rise outgunned the  As One Black Eagles from the Battle 9 division, 49-6. The game was played at Osaka’s Expo Flash Field in rainy conditions, due to Typhoon Lan as it reached Japan over the weekend.

The Rise led 21-0 at halftime, and Gardner (8-15-3-1) was relieved of quarterbacking duties midway through the 3rd quarter after throwing his third TD pass of the game with Nojima safely ahead 35-6.

The Rise (4-1) will next face league- leading Panasonic Impulse (5-0) in their final game of the regular season on October 29th at Yokohama Stadium.

Wolverines in Japan 2017 Regular Season Game 4

Wolverines in Japan 2017 Regular Season Game 4

Submitted by Carcajou on October 9th, 2017 at 1:37 AM

Devin Gardner led the Nojima Rise to another high scoring victory, this time besting the Lixil Deers 38-35 at Amino Vital Field.

Mario Ojemudia recorded a sack on the opening series of the game for Nojuma. Starting from their own 42 after the subsequent punt, Gardner drove the Rise down to the Deer 11 yard line, and a field goal made it 3-0.

Lixil responded with a long drive and 2 yard touchdown pass to go up 7-3, and after the Rise missed their next field goal attempt, the Deers scored within five plays to go up 14-3.

But Gardner and the Rise responded in four plays with Gardner throwing a 21 yard touchdown pass to #21 Hikaru Asayama to make it 14-10.

Then after Lixil QB Shohei Katoh fumbled on their next series in their own territory, Gardner was able to take advantage, with a touchdown coming on an end zone fade throw to Takahide Dejima from 20 yards out, and it was 17-14 at halftime.

Early in the 3rd quarter, Gardner hit a 12 yard slant to extend the lead to 24-14. Lixil responded scoring in six plays, and after Nojima went three and out, Lixil took the ball near midfield and helped by a pass interference and face mask penalty, retook the lead on a 19 yard pass to make it 28-24.

A good kickoff return and a few Gardner runs and passes brought the Rise to the Deer 16, and Gardenr hit Yuhei Yagi on a post to reclaim the lead.

Then on their next drive, Gardner connected with Dejima on another fade and  was was ahead 38-28 midway through the 4th quarter.

But Naoki Maeda for the Deers took the following kickoff from 8 yards deep in the end zone and ran it all the way back for a touchdown, making it 38-35.

Nojima was unable to pick up a first down and punted away. Lixil drove from their 20 to the Rise 24 yard line, but the drive stalled and the Deers missed a 48 yard field goal with a little over a minute and a half left.

The Rise took over, and Gardner was able to complete a third down pass for a first down after Lixil had exhausted their timeouts, and the Rise were able to run out the clock.

The next game for Nojima (now 3-1) will be on October 21st in Osaka against the As One Black Eagles.

Wolverines in Japan 2017 Regular Season Game 3

Wolverines in Japan 2017 Regular Season Game 3

Submitted by Carcajou on October 3rd, 2017 at 10:30 AM

The Nojima Rise bounced back from their disappointing 14-0 loss to the Obic Seagulls with an impressive 49-42 victory over the IBM Big Blue.

Devin Gardner accounted for all seven Rise touchdowns, throwing for four TDs and rushing for three more and two-point conversion, totalling 505 yards of total offense.

Gardner seemed to have his best game yet for Nojima, completing 27-37 and 405 yards passing with one interception. Gardner carried the ball 11 times for 100 yards, and Sione Houma gained 49 yards on seven carries and a 1-yard touchdown catch that tied the game at 14-14 after the conversion. Houma appeared to injure his ankle on the touchdown and did not return.

The Rise led 35-21 at halftime.

Mario Ojemudia recorded a sack and an interception on a tipped ball.

The Rise, who finished 1-5 last season losing nearly all their games late by within a touchdown, are now 2-1 along with IBM, Obic, Lixil, and Elecom, behind Super 9 division leader Panasonic (4-0) and Fujitsu (3-1).

The next game for the Rise will be October 9th against the Lixil Deers.

Wolverines in Japan 2017 Regular Season Game 2

Wolverines in Japan 2017 Regular Season Game 2

Submitted by Carcajou on September 17th, 2017 at 6:39 AM

Typhoon Talim certainly played a part, but costly Devin Gardner turnovers- twice when they had reached the red zone-  and some solid play from the Obic Seagulls resulted in a 14-0 loss for the the Nojima Rise. It was their first loss of the 2017 X-League regular season.

Steady rain and intermittent wind affected game plans somewhat, as both teams tried to establish their running games. Sione Houma, who saw limited action in the season opener, carried the ball 12 times for 57 yards. His counterpart Taku Lee carried the ball 18 times for 84 yards, while Asaki Mochizuki- the other half of what has been dubbed Obic's "Thunder & Lightning" backfield- gained 48 yards on ten carries and had one TD.

Obic QB Shun Sugawara also ran seven times for 13 yards, including the first score of the game, an 8 yard run on their second possesion. Gardner picked up 47 yards on a dozen carries on the ground. Gardner was 14-28 in the air with three interceptions, while Sugawara completed 9 of 13 and no intereceptions.

On the third play of the game, Gardner was hit by DE Kevin Jackson (U of Hawaii) as he threw and the ball was intercepted by Obic DB Takeshi Miyake. When Sugawara scored on their second posession, Obic had a 7-0 lead.

Early in the second quarter, Nojima took possession at their own 4, and Gardner took them on a 12 play, 77-yard drive, mixing up runs by Houma, Takeshi Miyako, and himself, and short passes and WR screens. But on 3rd & 8 from the Seagull 19 yard-line, Gardner tried to float a screen pass to Houma. The ball was deflected and intercepted by Jackson to kill the drive, and the half ended 7-0.

Both teams started the second half with solid drives. Obic took the second half kickoff and drove 62 yards on 12 plays, with Mochizuki scoring from 11 yards out for the Seagull's second score, so it was 14-0.

After the kickoff, the Rise started from their own 10, and Gardner responded with an impressive 89 yard drive in 11 plays. On one third down play, as he was about to be tackled near the sideline Devin made a two-handed toss to a receiver to get the first down and a gain of 15. On another, Gardner used his unusually long stride to leap just past the first down marker.

Nojima drove near the Obic goal line and looked like they were about to score. But on 2nd and goal from the 6, Gardner tried to run through the middle. As he approached the goal line, he tried to reach out and put the ball across the line. The ball was knocked out, and the Seagulls recovered.

On their next possession, after  taking them near midfield, Gardner was intercepted when he tried to throw on a deep post by Seagull Safety Keizaburo Ichigawa.

Gardner seemed to be trying to do a bit too much, and his receivers seemed to lack some of the confidence and aggressivenss they had showed in their opening game against the Bulls.

Mario Ojemudia had three TFL, including two sacks.

After the game Gardner confessed that he was disappointed in his performance saying you can't expect to commit four turnovers and win such games. Houma said while he was glad to become a bigger part of the offense,"We have a lot to work on. A lot to work on."

Both teams are now 1-1. Obic players and coaches were glad to get the win, and said they expect to see the Rise again in the playoffs later in the fall.

Devin Gardner in Japan, Spring 2017: Rise over Frontiers

Devin Gardner in Japan, Spring 2017: Rise over Frontiers

Submitted by Carcajou on May 21st, 2017 at 11:08 PM

Devin Gardner led the Nojima Rise to a 38-20 victory over defending Japan X-League champion Fujitsu Fronteirs in 'Pearl Bowl' spring season football on Sunday.

Gardner scored four TDs on the ground, rushing 13 times for 164 yards. Devin also completed 15 of 23 passes for 207 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT.

[more to come]

Devin & Jeremy in Japan (2016 Final Game)

Devin & Jeremy in Japan (2016 Final Game)

Submitted by Carcajou on November 26th, 2016 at 4:06 AM

Devin Gardner and Jeremy Gallon led the Nojima Rise to a convincing win, 69-7, in their final game of the 2016 season. Dubbed the "Copper Bowl", they easily defeated the Tokyo Gas Creators [really] in a rematch of a game earlier in the season.

Gardner was 15-24, 317 yards and four TDs in the air, adding two more on the ground.

When asked his plans for the evening, Devin said he'd try to get some sleep and then make it to the gathering of Michigan and tOSU alumni and fans at a sports bar in Tokyo for the 2AM kickoff of The Game.

[More details later- like Devin, I need to do the same]



Devin & Jeremy in Japan: Nojima Rise Game 4

Devin & Jeremy in Japan: Nojima Rise Game 4

Submitted by Carcajou on October 9th, 2016 at 8:53 PM

The Nojima Rise fell to the Asahi (Beer) Silver Stars 29-26 in another game that came down to the final minute. Nojima is now a disappointing 1-3 on the season, and in danger of missing the playoffs.

Trailing 26-10 at halftime, Devin Gardner began to bring the Rise back late in the 3rd quarter, when he ran the ball in from the 5-yard line, and passed to Jeremy Gallon for the two-point conversion to bring the score to 26-18. Midway through the 4th quarter, Garner scored on a 23 yard scramble, but Gallon was called for a block in the back. On the next play, Gardner hit Eisuke Tomatsu for a TD, and with Gardner on a QB draw for the extra point, the game was tied.

A five minute drive by the Silver Stars set up a 30-yard field goal to make it 29-26, and after the kickoff went out of bounds, the Rise took over from their own 35 with 1:03 remaining. The Silver Stars had missed an earlier field goal from 31-yards and one extra point; while Nojima had two FG kicks blocked

Gardner was able to move the ball into Asahi territory with a combination of throws and runs, but was unable to complete the 4th down pass and the ball was turned over on downs with 5 seconds remaining. Gardner missed on his last four passes, and said he had fallen on the ball at one point and was coughing up blood, but seemed fine when talking with fans after the game.

Once again Gardner was the leading rusher in the game,carrying it 14 times for 79 yards. He was 18-34 passing for, 299 yards, 2 TDs for the Rise (including their first, a 25 yard strke to Gallon), and 1 interception. Gallon had 7 catches for 133 yards.

Gardner's counterpart Mason Mills was 24-33, 341 yards and 3 TDs.

The Rise next face perrenial league power the Panasonic Impulse in a game next Sunday in Osaka.