One of the X-League best KJ
Obic Seagulls vice captain Kevin Jackson has now lifted the Rice Bowl trophy three times since joining the X-League club in 2005, including back-to-back titles the past two seasons.
And the 193-centimeter, 108-kilogram defensive end and pass-rushing specialist is not ready to stop there.
“I’m already looking forward to next year–let’s do it again,” Jackson, a 30-year-old American, said Jan. 3 at Tokyo Dome, shortly after his Seagulls beat Kwansei Gakuin University 38-28 in the annual matchup of Japan’s corporate league and college football champions. “I don’t think anyone (from the X-League) has done it three times in a row. It should be fun.”
The Nihon University Phoenix won three straight from 1989 to 1991, but no corporate team has accomplished the feat–yet. Jackson’s Seagulls did set a Rice Bowl record with their fifth overall title this season, the first two coming as the Recruit Seagulls in the 1990s.
They also won it in January 2006, capping off a stellar debut season in Japan for Jackson, who was named MVP of the X-League that year.
“Making a little history does feel great,” said Jackson, who had 6.5 tackles in Obic’s latest Rice Bowl victory Jan. 3. “It always feels good to win, especially this year because we were able to do it back-to-back.”
But this last championship didn’t come easy for the Seagulls, who were undefeated in 2011. They trailed for most of three quarters against Kwansei before pint-sized quarterback Shun Sugawara engineered a second-half comeback.
“We’ve had a few games like that this season, where we had to come back,” said Jackson, a California native who played his college football at the University of Hawaii, as did his teammate and fellow defensive end Karl Noa. “(Against Kwansei) we never panicked, we just believed in ourselves to the end and guys got it done.”