Sugawara leads Seagulls to Rice Bowl win!!!!!
(Januar 5, 2011) – The Obic Seagulls, 2010 champion of the X League, claimed their fourth japanese championship with a 24-0 Rice Bowl win against the 2010 college champion Ritsumeikan University Panthers in front of nearly 36.000 fans at the Tokyo Dome. With the win, five years after their last win in the title game, the Seagulls moved into a tie with the Kyoto University Gangsters and Nihon University Phoenix for most Rice Bowl victories. The Seagulls’ win was the 16th victory for the X League champion in the 28 years since the Rice Bowl became the japanese championship game. The key player for the Seagulls once again was QB Shun Sugawara who had joined the team in the spring of 2010. He opened the scoring three minutes into the game with a 49-yard touchdown pass to WR Ryoma Hagiyama for the Seagulls’ 7-0 lead, five minutes before halftime he increased the lead to 14-0 with an 11-yard touchdown run.
Sugawara offered one of the most interesting stories in japanese football for the past few years. When the Seagulls last played in the Rice Bowl at the end of the 2005 season he played for their opponent, the Hosei University Tomahawks. After his college career he played for the Onward Oaks and in his first year in the X League (2008) he became the top quarterbacks of the league. Following the 2008 season the Oaks were shut down because the Onward company stopped their financial support. The players formed a new team, Sagamihara Rise, but had to compete in the X League 3. Since he wanted to play for a team that competes for a championship Sugawara left the Rise and joined the Seagulls in the spring of 2010. Next season, by the way, Sugawara could face his former teammates as opponents since the Rise moved up from the X League 2 by beating the Hurricanes 57-0 in their relegation game.