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Friday, July 15, 2005

Tomizawa tosses Japan past Hawaiian squad at Tokyo Dome


Staff writer

Yuichi Tomizawa threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Takao Mizuguchi for the winning score with 1:34 to play Thursday, leading Team Japan to a 20-16 come-from-behind triumph over Team USA-Hawaii in the Japan-USA Bowl 2005.

News photo
Japan's Kentaro Namiki carries the ball in the second quarter of the Japan-USA Bowl 2005 at Tokyo Dome on Thursday. Team Japan beat Team USA-Hawaii 20-16.

Before 9,151 fans at Tokyo Dome, two-time World Cup champion Japan and USA-Hawaii, a Hawaiian select team made up mainly of former University of Hawaii players, put on an entertaining seesaw performance in the international exhibition contest.

"My staff and players did a very good job preparing for this game in a short amount of time," Japan coach Kiyoyuki Mori said. "We won it, but we still need to get stronger physically to play good football with American teams."

With the USA-Hawaii up 16-13 in the fourth quarter, Japan started its winning drive at its own 9-yard line. Tomizawa put on a Tom Brady-like performance by completing 7-of-9 passes during the march, including a 23-yard strike to Yoshinobu Imoto on fourth-and-7 that kept the drive alive. Two plays later, Tomizawa hit former NFL Europe receiver Mizuguchi, who had beaten Hawaii's Kenneth Harper down the left sideline, for the winning TD.

"I was not in the best shape tonight, but I'd give my performance a perfect grade because we won the game," said a smiling Tomizawa, who was named the game's MVP.

Although the American team included some players who have attended NFL training camps, the USA-Hawaii players were apparently out of shape because many of them have been out of football, as was evidenced by four botched exchanges.

Still, they did overpower their hosts for much of the game, maintaining the lead for most of the game. John West carried 13 times for a team-high 55 yards and a score while Britton Komine caught seven passes for 80 yards for the American side.

Japan countered with speed and quickness, and set the tone with its passing attack. Tomizawa was 22 of 37 for 254 yards and three touchdowns. Ken Shimizu had a team-best six receptions for 55 yards and a touchdown.



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