Japan came from behind in the fourth quarter to take a 10-7 lead and then produce a game-ending interception to defeat Germany in the second game of the 2009 IFAF Junior Championship at Fawcett Stadium in Canton, Ohio.
A perfectly disguised double reverse caught Germany by surprise as Japan trained 7-3 and led to the decisive touchdown, a quarterback keeper from eight yards out by MVP Kazuma Endo.
"It was a secret play that in this very tight situation we were waiting for the right opportunity to use. When my high school team made it to a championship game, we used that same play to win with 30 seconds to play."
Germany punted away their next possession with only two minutes remaining, but got the ball back and threatened to steal victory but an option pass by Eric Husgen fell narrowly short of his intended receiver, who would have had a clear run to the end zone. With the clock ticking down, quarterback Robert Demers was intercepted by Keizaburo Isagawa to end the game.
Germany's scoring drive in the first quarter came following a hand off to half back Randall Payne, who ran the ball down the sideline to the Japan 40-yard line. Quarterback Jens Kriete produced a 40-yard pass to wide receiver Lars Samjeske in the end zone and the extra point was good for a 7-0 advantage.
Japan was held in check for most of the first half, managing only 31 rushing yards.
Ando completed a 15-yard pass to wide receiver Naoki Shigematsu for a first down, then after an incompletion found Shigematsu wide open for a 20-yard connection and the first down. Just when a Japan drive was looking promising, Ando was intercepted at the 5-yard line by defensive back Mark Nzecho, but Germany was unable to capitalize.
After Jumepi Yoshimoto and running back Shun Kitagawa earned first downs, Shoma Endo split the uprights in the third quarter from 32 yards out to reduce the deficit to four points.
On the game-winning drive, Ando found Shigematsu open for an 18-yard completion, ran nine yards himself yards and Shu Inoue gained a rushing first down before the double reverse picked up 22 yards and put Japan within striking distance of the end zone. On a keeper, Ando burst through the middle to secure victory.
German defensive coordinator Andreas Reichel said afterwards: "It was a tough fight against a well coached team and the team that had the most luck won. Sometimes your tricks win, sometimes they don't."
Japan head coach Takao Yamazaki said: "They were powerful not only in size but also their quarterback was big and strong and we have never experienced playing against a team like that. Their speed was outside my expectations."
Explaining his strategy of splitting paying time between two quarterbacks, Ando and Araki, he said: "I have got two very good quarterbacks today and maybe I will use three in the next game. I like to decide as the game progresses."
JUNIOR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Japan - Germany 10:7
Fotos: JWC Media (Courtesy of Shawn Hubbard Photography)