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.