KG NEWS  &  EVENTS

Fighters Blow Out Panthers to Advance to the National Championship Game

Public Relations Office        December 3, 2017

Final Score Kwansei Gakuin 34, Ritsumeikan 3

Running back Yusuke Yamaguchi (#34)

Running back Yusuke Yamaguchi (#34)

In the Western Japan Bowl, held on December 3rd at the Banpaku Memorial Park Athletics Stadium in Suita, Osaka, the Kwansei Gakuin Fighters defeated the Ritsumeikan Panthers to punch their ticket to Japan’s national college football championship game, the Koshien Bowl. Two minutes into the first quarter, wide receiver Hirokazu Maeda (#11, senior in the School of Human Welfare Studies) caught a screen pass from the side and charged into the endzone for a touchdown, firing up the team.

Seven minutes in, running back Yusuke Yamaguchi (#34, junior in the School of Business Administration) created a scoring opportunity with a long run, and charged into the heart of the defense to score another TD on the following play. The Fighters stayed on the attack in the second quarter. Yamaguchi picked up another TD, while defensive back Koki Hatanaka (#45, sophomore in the School of Economics) and linebacker Kazuki Matsumoto (#44, senior in the School of Sociology) intercepted long passes to keep the Panthers from making inroads on offense, as the Fighters closed out the first half with all the momentum.

Players right after the game

Players right after the game

The Fighters were never threatened in the second half, though they gave up a field goal in the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, quarterback Koki Nishino (#18, junior in the School of Sociology) connected with Maeda (#11) on a pass for another touchdown, and soon after, wide receiver Kosaku Maeda (#84, senior in the School of Business Administration) caught another pass to put the game out of reach.

Iwaka during the post game

Iwaka during the post game

In post game comments, offensive lineman Daichi Iwaka (#70, senior in the School of Theology) said, “When we lost (to the Panthers) in league play, we experienced how strong they were. From the day of the loss up to today, we thought about what we had to do to win, and everyone had a different look in their eyes as we prepared for the game. Our underclassmen, in particular, really put in work. Nihon University is going to be a tough opponent in the Koshien Bowl, so we’re going to do what we have to do in the coming days before we collide with them.”

The 72nd Annual Mainichi Koshien Bowl, pitting the Kwansei Gakuin Fighters against the Nihon Phoenix, will take place on Sunday, December 17th, 2017, at Hanshin Koshien Baseball Stadium.