Devin Gardner and Jeremy Gallon, playing for the Nojima Rise, lost their opener in X-League Division 1 action on Sunday 14-13 to the Obic Seagulls in Kawasaki, Japan.
The ex-Michigan Wolverine teammates connected 10 times for 87 yards in the game including the first touchdown, which came on a quick slant late in the first half. On the play previous, Gardner was penalized 5 yards for throwing from beyond the LOS; he'd rolled out from the 4, and as he eluded DE Kevin Jackson and was met by other Seagull defenders, he lobbed the ball over their head to Gallon waiting 5 yards deep in the end zone. Obviously disappointed, Gardner could be heard protesting, "No. No! No! No!" loudly to no avail, as there is no instant reply in Japanese American football, and at such times Japanese officials are disinclined to remember whatever English they may have learned. Nojima went into halftime leading 7-0.
Midway through the drizzly 4th quarter on a QB draw Gardner leapt and tretched out, was spun 270 degrees, yet scored the TD to take 13-7 lead. However the extra point was missed.
Obic's Jerry Neuheisal (yes, of THAT Neuheisal lineage), brought the Seagulls back to score and made it 14-13 with 3:26 left.
One eery reminder of things past occured on Nojima's next and last possession: on 2nd & long with Gardner running for his life, as he was being taken down, he tossed the ball to the side and slightly backwards. Obic was not able to recover the ball however. Gardner was hurt on the next play as he tried to scramble for the first down but was stopped a three yards short. His replacement also tried to run for the first down and was also stopped short.
Gardner finished the day 21-37-1-1 and 290 yards passing and 25 yards rushing, including the first 1st down of the game. Neuheisal was 13-19 and 172 yards passing with two TDs and no interceptions for Obic.