7th Annual Israel Bowl: Tel Aviv Pioneers Win Kraft Family IFL Championship!

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]his Sunday, JLTV will replay the Israeli Football League Championships!  At 4PM ET/1PM PT the Jerusalem Lions (9-2) will take on the Tel Aviv Pioneers (8-3) in the 7th Annual Israel Bowl on 4/12/14. This is the Jewish state’s premiere event for American Football. Check the web –www.jltv.tv – for local listings!

Now for recap of the match!Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 9.57.00 AM

Article via israel-football.co.il/  by Betzalel Friedman. Photos by Rick Blumsack & Sagi Dayan

[dropcap]L[/dropcap]adies and gents, the 2013-14 Kraft Family IFL season is now in the record book. And the Tel Aviv ‘Hotel Gilgal’ Pioneers are the 2013-14 Kraft Family IFL champions.

IFL FinalFull game statistics and scoring summary can be found here: Stats

Friday was a beautiful day for a football game. The Lions were there with their fans, and the Pios brought their fans from Tel Aviv. Almost 700 people packed the stands at Kraft Family Stadium, the atmosphere was festive and with Sport5 on hand to broadcast, the show was on. While the first few minutes were close, by the time the middle of the second quarter rolled around the Pioneers were up by thirty and it never got any closer as they rolled to a 80-28 victory in Israel Bowl VII for their 2nd Kraft Family IFL championship in franchise (and league) history.

The game looked very competitive and promising as the teams traded touchdowns on their respective first offensive plays. Tel Aviv got the ball first and Ronny Moscona tried to find a receiver down-field, and after it was tipped in the air by the Lions’ Jerome Wojtalik, Cameron Simmonds came down with it for a Pioneer TD just 14 seconds into the game. 14 seconds later it was the Lions getting on the board as Chaim Schiff found Effi Mishaan on a post route and Mishaan outran the defense for a Lions’ TD, and an 8-6 ballgame, less than half a minute into the game. The Pioneers marched down the field with two rushes by Josh Henry and another by Moscona to set up a 12-yard scoring pass to Travis Mascitelli. The Pios forced a punt and again drove the field before Moscona took in a keeper. The Pios’ Nimrod Posner forced a fumble on the ensuing kickoff and recovered the ball to set his team up for a Henry TD run and a 30-6 lead. The Lions were driving the field as the first quarter ended.

IFL Final 2The Lions were forced to punt and Elan Neiger returned the punt to the house for the Pioneers and for a 36-6 lead. The Pioneers forced another Lions punt and the Pioneers drove the field only for Moscona to be intercepted by Binyamin Schultz at the goal-line. The Pioneers forced another punt, this one a real beauty by Danny Brill which was downed on the 3-yard line, and got the ball back with 2:32 to go in the half. Moscona found Simmonds on a gorgeous 42-yard bomb for another score with 37 seconds to go in the half. Two plays later, Pio safety Sagan Zavelo picked off Schiff to give his team the chance for another score before the half and score they did, as Moscona overcame a bobbled snap to find tight-end Omri Sapor in the end-zone as the clock hit zero. Halftime, 52-6 Pioneers.

If the Lions had any hopes of preventing the second half from turning into a formality, those hopes were intercepted by Zavelo as he picked off Schiff to start the half. Three plays later Henry took in his second TD of the day for a 60-6 lead. The Pios forced a turnover on downs, and on the very next play Henry scampered 32 yards for his 3rd score of the day and a 66-6 lead. After a nice return by Wojtalik, Schiff found Alan Tover for a 32-yard scoring pass as they attempted to somewhat stem the bleeding. The Lions thought they could catch another break when Wojtalik forced a Henry fumble, but Pios fullback Noam Dalal recovered the ball and Moscona found Sapir again for another score. The Lions were able to score again as Schiff found Mishaan from 14 yards out, and the Pioneers were driving as the third quarter came to a close, 74-20 Pioneers.

Moscona took in a keeper with 9:08 left on the clock for the Pioneers final score of the day, but a 9-play, clock-eating drive by the Lions ended with another T.O.D. Pioneers reserve QB Ron Angel came in under center but he was intercepted by the Lions Gani Medad on his second pass attempt. The Lions were able to capitalize this time with a TD run by Hillel Goldstein and the Pioneers were able to kneel out the clock to IFL Final 3secure the trophy.

Moscona had a near perfect outing and was awarded the Israel Bowl VII MVP Award. He was 9/12 passing for 198 yards, 5 touchdowns and 1 interception. He also had 14 yards and 2 touchdowns on the ground. Simmonds set an IFL postseason record with 156 receiving yards to go along with 2 TDs (on just 4 catches). Mascitelli had 3 grabs for 27 yards and a score, and Sapir scored on both of his catches. Henry rumbled for 131 yards and 3 TDs off of 16 carries. Defensively, Zavelo made himself a case for game MVP as he had 2 interceptions and 3 break-ups along with 3 tackles. Lew Duker had 4 tackles and Charles Gordon had two tackles, both for a loss including the Pioneers lone sack of the day. Daniel Ben-Zvi had an outstanding day on kickoff duty as he sailed 7 of his 11 kickoffs for touch-backs.

 For the Lions, Schiff was 17/35 passing for 209 yards, 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Effi Mishaan caught 8 passes for 94 yards and 2 scores while Tover had 5-66-1. The Lions had only 8 rushing attempts which totaled in 0 net yards. Wojtalik was one of the only bright spots on the Lion D as he totaled 8 tackles with a forced fumble for a unit sorely missing it’s leader Yoni Cooper who didn’t play because of a knee injury in the semi-finals. Ariel Schwartz and Josh Flaster had 5 and 4 tackles, respectively, each adding a tackle-for-loss.

For the Pioneers, this is their 2nd championship in 3 visits to the Israel Bowl and the Lions are now 1/4 in the big game.

The Kraft Family Israel Football League has ended it’s 2013-14 and would like to thank e-v-e-r-y-o-n-e- who came along for the ride. The players, coaches, sponsors, team managers, referees, medics, photographers, trainers, physical therapists, media outlets and of course our awesome fans who come out to see their teams week in and week out. We intend on being back in game action after the autumn festivals and look forward to seeing you all then!

by Betzalel Friedman

John McKeon is a former professional and collegiate American Football player and coach now living and working in New York. His goal is to spread news, information, and opinion on the global growth of the sport he loves.