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Monday, June 20, 2005

Bears beat Lions in Ivy-Samurai Bowl


Staff writer

Meiji University senior running back Koji Yamazaki rushed for 128 yards and three touchdowns while former Brown University back Joseph Rackley added 177 yards and a score to lead the Bears to a 38-21 win over the Lions Sunday in the '05 Ivy-Samurai Bowl.

The game was played before 12,500 fans at Tokyo's Komazawa Track and Field Stadium.

The Bears, a mixed team of six former Brown University players and selected players from the Block A schools of the Kanto College League Division I, displayed a fine running attack thanks to Yamazaki and Rackley.

And their defense held firm in the second half to shut out a Lions team which was a mixture of six former Columbia University players and Japanese players from Block B colleges.

"I was very impressed with our Japanese players," said Brown head coach Phil Estes, who, with Columbia coach Bob Shoop, held a clinic for Japanese players and coaches on Saturday in Tokyo.

"They played with speed and strength, and without fear.

"I was impressed with their level -- how much they retained or how much they picked up with what we do with American football."

The first half of the annual college exhibition was a high-scoring see-saw of a game. The two teams scored almost alternate touchdowns for a 21-21 halftime tie.

The Bears' combination of Yamazaki and Rackley was unstoppable.

In the first quarter, Rackley led the Bears running attack with his powerful rushing style.

Yamazaki, though, took the spotlight from Rackley in the second quarter. He carried nine times and scored twice in this period.

The Lions, however, lost two possessions on interceptions and failed the fourth-down conversion twice in the second half.

The Bears added a field goal and a passing touchdown in the third quarter and Yamazaki wrapped up the scoring with a 29-yard touchdown rush in the final quarter.

Yamazaki was named Japanese MVP while Rackley was overall MVP of the game.

The Lions' safety Steve Cargile, who was with the Dallas Cowboys practice squad last season, was also impressed with the Japanese players' performance. He singled out Yamazaki who Cargile was forced to face one-on-one at least three times during the game.

"(Yamazaki) is a tough running back and he ran really hard." Cargile said. "I've got a cut in my chin (from) when I tackled him. The collision was really hard and I feel a little dizzy."



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