Tokyo Gas Creators 24 - 23 Asahi Beer Silver Star
Tokyo Gas built on their strong showing in the season opener to pull off the biggest upset of the Pearl Bowl so far.
Creators downed Silver Star with a dramatic two-point conversion in overtime after a bungled snap on the PAT.
Holder Daichi Iwakoshi grabbed the ball, sprinted right and dove for the endzone.
Iwakoshi just managed to get the ball over the line to send the Creators fans in attendance into raptures.
The win - Creators first over a top side - came after a hard fought game whose outcome was in doubt all the way through.
Silver Star have now lost successive games to Battle 9 sides and on current form it's looking like they could struggle in the Super 9 when the regular season starts.
It's not all doom and gloom though. Their DLine continues to show up - albeit inconsistently and the Kawasaki based team reportedly has reinforcements on the way.
New QB Jared Stegman too saw very limited action, getting just a series and a bit at the start of the second half. Stegman looked good in the short time he was on the field orchestrating a TD drive that gave Silver Star their only lead of the day. The missed PAT on that score though would prove crucial as Creators, behind Ikaika Woolsey tied it up and then got the win in overtime.
Woolsey was used much more extensively than in the opener and finished 14 of 25 for 140 yards with one TD and one INT.
Just as importantly the former Obic Seagulls signal-caller led the team with 16 carries for 61 yards.
The Creators offense is still a work in progress but it's clear that the team is taking huge leaps forward. Now that all but one of the Battle 9 teams have played two games its clearer than ever that Lions and Creators are on a different level. It'd be a major surprise if they didn't take the two playoff spots from that section.
For the present though the win sets up an very interesting final group game between Nojima Sagamihara Rise and Silver Star. If Asahi Beer win that matchup - unlikely but possible - all three teams would have one win and one loss. There is no tie-break procedure. Just a straight drawing of lots to see who progresses. Creators therefore will be supporting the team they just beat, while Silver Star could overcome Rise on Sunday only to see the same team take their place in the semifinals on the flip of a coin.
- John Gunning: May 4th 2018