It's A Finies Day
Kobe Rebound From Loss In Opener To Blow Out Cyclones
Elecom Kobe Finies easily outclassed Nagoya Cyclones 63-7, in week 2 action, even while resting most of their starters in the second half. The Finies bounced back from a disappointing if expected loss to Panasonic Impulse in week one with a crushing defeat of the Cyclones to improve to 1-1 on the season and serve notice to the league that they’ve come to play and come to win.
The player of the day was LB Shota Tani. He snatched two interceptions, one for a TD and in between, recorded a tackle for loss that took the wind out of the Cyclones offense.
The Finies grabbed three more INTs in the game. The one that went to LB Yusuke Taga, was also returned for a TD. That put the Finies up 63-0.
Of the other seven TDs the Finies scored, two came on passes to WR Hiroki Takao. His first came at the beginning of the second quarter after he hauled in a long pass around the 10-yard line. Immediately crashing into a defender, he knocked him down, fought off another would be tackler, and crossed the goal line.
Takao made another nice TD snag later in the same quarter. Running full stride, he grabbed a 40-yard pass out of the air just as a defender arrived at the spot flailing and swinging his arms wildly at the ball. That TD was set up by DB Teruyuki Nakamura who on the previous play was lined up deep to receive a Cyclones punt. The punt was short and low, but spiraling like a thrown ball and Nakamura came running across midfield, caught the ball on the fly and downed it at the 40-yard line. The TD on the next play put Elecom up 49-0 at the half.
That short kick by punter / OL Atsuhisa Yamaguchi was a relatively good one in comparison to the attempts earlier in the half. In déjà vu from week one, the snap twice sailed well over Yamaguchi’s head. One was recovered in the end zone by the Finies for a TD and the second nearly ended the same way. As Yamaguchi chased the ball toward the goal line he looked around for any way to save the play and settled on giving a sweeping soccer style kick off the turn but backwards into the end zone for a penalty. Elecom scored a TD off that turnover as well.
Elecom has four American players on the roster but on this day, they saw relatively little action, and some had their pads off well before the final whistle.
American Jordan Canzeri, a former Iowa Hawkeye and All-Big Ten RB, got a TD in the first quarter, running to compatriot OL Wade Hansen’s side of the line. Canzeri said, “We played Pop Warner football together [in New York] when we were kids, so to come out here and play together is good. And obviously having a big guy like that leading the way for you is definitely something that a running back always wants.”
Nagoya, with the smallest squad in the league - their 43 players is 2o less than the big teams -avoided a shutout in the dying seconds of the game. QB Naoki Ito completed several passes to move his team to the 1 yard line where he zipped a TD to WR Yuki Tanaka, on a timed play. The ball was in the air and laser straight at the back of the Tanaka as he ran wide in the end zone. Just at the last instant he turned around, and found the ball was in his open hands for the TD.
The Cyclones will look to defend home turf in week three at Nagoya Minato Soccer Field against Club Hawkeye. The Finies will also be in their hometown Kobe Oji Stadium against the Asahi Soft Drinks Challengers who got roughed up against Panasonic earlier on Sunday.
- Tony Chestnut: Sept 10th 2017
Elecom Kobe Finies (63) - (7) Nagoya Cyclones
Photos: Lionel Piguet - September 10th 2017: Oji Stadium