Tel Aviv Pioneers, Petah Tikva Troopers advance to semifinals in Israel

The Petah Tikva Troopers and Tel Aviv Pioneers didn’t have a difficult time with their respective opponents, advancing to this week’s semifinal games in the wildcard playoff weekend in the Kraft Family Israel Football League.

Petah Tikva Troopers 38 – Mazkeret Batya ‘Rose Valley Crossfit’ Silverbacks – 6

 

Mazkeret Batya, making their first post-season appearance, looked to have given up a big return on the opening kickoff, but rookie Jen Hilel forced a Chris Daves fumble, and Amit Ben-Yosef recovered for the guests.

Ahmed Abu-Gaber blocked a Tim Plotkin field goal attempt, and Petah Tikva QB Avrami Farkas made immediate use of former MVP Dani Eastman, finally back from a year-long injury, finding him for a touchdown, 6-0.

Two plays later it was David Eastman intercepting a pass from Mazkeret QB Ido Eisikovits, and Farkas found Jonathan Curran for another score, 14-0. A Silverbacks punt was followed by another TD pass from Farkas to Curran, 22-0. David Eastman forced and recovered a Liad Versolker fumble, and Farkas found Gideon Reiz for a score, 30-0. Five straight Eisikovits completions set the big QB up for a TD run of his own, 30-6, but the Troopers kept pouring it on, as Farkas found Reiz for another score before the half, 38-6.

Mazkeret started the second half off with a punt, but Tomer Hazan forced a second Daves fumble and Shachar Lasko recovered for the ‘Backs. The Silverbacks turned the ball over on downs, but then forced the first Troopers punt of the evening. The ‘Backs turned the ball over on downs, but Petah Tikva did as well when Mark Samarsky broke up Farkas’s 4th-down pass. Mazkeret punted, and Petah Tikva drove the field, eventually kneeling for the franchise’s first-ever playoff victory.

Individual performances

Troopers

Farkas completed 16\34 passes for 220 yards and 5 touchdowns. Curran caught 4-78-2, Reiz caught 4-57-2 and Daves rushed for 73 yards on 8 carries. Dani Eastman had 6 tackles, David Eastman had 4, a TFL, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and a pick.

Silverbacks

Eisikovits completed 13\31 passes for 83 yards and a pick, adding a rushing TD. Ohad Samuely rushed for 39 yards on 12 carries. Rotem Oz caught 2-32, and Tim Plotkin caught 4-20. Roi Artzi lead the defense with 10 tackles and a break-up, and Hazan added 6, a TFL and a forced fumble.

The Troopers are on to the semifinals where they will play the Judean Rebels this Saturday night at the Kraft Family Sports Campus in Jerusalem.

Tel Aviv Pioneers 28 – Haifa ‘Nemo’s’ Underdogs 6

The Pioneers are eyeing their 5th straight Israel Bowl appearance and started off with a victory over the Underdogs.

Star RB Yuval Fenta ran in a touchdown less than a minute into the game, giving Tel Aviv an early 6-0 lead. Haifa punted and Omri Mizrachi passed to Nimrod Pintel for a 23-yard score, 14-0. Haifa turned the ball over on downs, and Tel Aviv punted to end the 1st quarter. Haifa turned the ball over on downs, but Mica Allon forced a Cam Simmonds fumble and Juliano Nicola recovered for Haifa. The aptly-named Underdogs turned the ball over on downs, but forced a Tel Aviv punt. Ron Dafni found Harrison Duke-Fearnley on 4th down to bring the ‘Dogs to within a score before the half, 14-6.

Two straight TA sacks forced a Haifa punt, and Mizrachi threw a 61-yard catch-and-run touchdown to rookie Shachar Regev, 20-6. Mecha Harris picked off a Dafni pass, but Shon Kibutzany sacked (former HS teammate) Mizrachi on 4th down. Haifa punted and Tel Aviv turned the ball over on downs. On the very next play, TA linebacker Amit Militanu forced an Eyal Attias fumble, Yohannes Okba recovered and David Weitzman ran in another score to seal the win, 28-6.

Individual performances

Pioneers

Mizrachi completed 8\19 passes for 175 yards and 2 scores and Pintel caught 4-80-1. Fenta rushed 14-54-1 as the coaching staff clearly tried to limit his carries heading into the semi-finals. Asaf Katz lead the ‘D’ with 13 tackles and 2 TFL. Militanu had 6, 3 TFL, 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble.

Underdogs

Dafni completed 11\24 passes for 110 yards, a score and a pick. Mica Allon caught 7-65 and Rudy Rattner rushed for 44 yards on 7 carries. Allon and Rattner also lead the defense with 11 tackles and 1.5 TFL each, Rattner adding a sack and Allon adding a forced fumble.

The Pioneers are on to the semifinals, where they will face the defending champion Jerusalem ‘Big Blue’ Lions on Thursday night at the Kraft Family Sports Campus in Jerusalem, in a rematch of Israel Bowl X.

Game Film by Midabrim Communications

Israel Football League
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