Historic weekend of football in Israel

The Beersheva Black Swarm made Israel Football League history with their first ever victory over the Tel Aviv Pioneers this past weekend while the Judean Rebels stayed unbeaten, holding off the Mazkeret Batya ”Rose Valley Crossfit” Silverbacks.

Judean Rebels 22 – Mazkeret Batya ”Rose Valley Crossfit” Silverbacks 14

The Judean Rebels overcame a myriad of injuries and barely held off the Silverbacks.

The Silverbacks struck first, as Ohad Samuely ran in a touchdown on the guests’ first drive, 6-0. The Rebels went 3-and-out, before Ikey Bodner intercepted (Mazkeret QB) Ido Eisikovits’s pass. Mazkeret forced a turnover on downs, as Daniel Cohen broke up passes on the 3rd and 4th downs, and the Rebels defense stopped the ‘Backs on 4th down. Yehuda Mendlowitz (איק Rebels’ backup QB) threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to Yoel Hughes to start the second quarter (6-6), and the Silverbacks punted. The Mazkeret defense had a great goal-line stand, forcing a Rebel turnover on downs. The Silverbacks punted, and Mark Samarsky broke up a 4th-down Rebels pass before halftime.

The teams exchanged punts to start the second half. The Rebels punted again before Rafi Friedman intercepted Eisikovits’s pass and ran it back 29 yards for a Rebels’ touchdown, 14-6. Mazkeret turned the ball over on downs at the start of the 4th quarter, and the Rebels capped off an 11-play, 6-minute drive with a TD run by Omree Gottlieb, 22-6, with just under 6 minutes to play. Eisikovits threw a touchdown pass to Nir Yochtman with 3:36, making it a 1-score game at 22-14. The Rebels seemed to have the game in hand after Evyatar Cohen recovered the ensuing onside kick, but Mark Rocklin forced a Gottlieb fumble and rookie Shiko Zano recovered for the guests. Three 1st-down passes by Eisikovits gave the Silverbacks a goal-to-go situation, but Mendlowitz picked off Eisikovits’s pass, and a first down run by Avi Landesman settled the contest.

Individual performances

Mendlowitz completed 7/16 passes for 173 yards and a score in relief for the injured Chaim Aaron, adding 47 yards on the ground. Landesman added 37 yards, and Hughes caught 3-57-1. Eran Roi had 12 tackles and a break-up and Friedman had 7 tackles, 3 TFL, a sack, a break-up and a pick-6.

Eisikovits completed 17/32 passes for 212 yards, a score and 3 picks. Samuely had 9 carries for 24 yards and a score and Lior Raif caught 4 passes for 62 yards. Tomer Hazan had 13 tackles and 1 TFL, and Zano added 9 and a fumble recovery.
The Silverbacks host the Pioneers this Friday, as both teams will try to get their first ‘W’ of the season. The Rebels have a week off to nurse their injuries before hosting the Lions in the Chanukah Bowl next Thursday night.

Beersheva Black Swarm 16 – Tel Aviv Pioneers 14

It took 9 seasons to do so, but the Black Swarm notched their first-ever victory over the Tel Aviv Pioneers on Saturday night in Tel Aviv.

The game started off on the right foot for Beersheva, as they recovered a Nimrod Pintel fumble on the opening kickoff. 4 straight incompletions by Swarm QB Matanel Katz lead to a turnover on downs, and the Pios returned the favor. Tel Aviv’s Idan Melchior tackled Swarm punter Dylan Mauch before he could get the ball off, and the TA offense capitalized quickly with a TD run by Ariel Hoffman, 8-0. Ronnie Hayes answered with his second kick return touchdown in as many weeks, knotting the score at 8. The Pioneers countered with a 4th-down touchdown run by Hoffman, 14-8, as the second quarter got underway. Asaf Katz and the TA defense forced a Beersheva punt, but the offense turned the ball over on downs after a 12-play drive. Three plays later (Beersheva’s) Katz connected with Tomare Curran, putting the Swarm ahead with 42 ticks left in the first half, 16-14.

Beersheva started the half with a turnover on downs, and Tel Aviv drove down to the goal-line only to lose the ball on a bad snap. Beersheva were forced to punt, and Tel Aviv punted to start the fourth quarter. Beersheva tried a fake punt, but Mauch’s pass was broken up by Kevin Hushie. Koren Lotan forced and recovered a Hoffman fumble with 7:27 to play in the game, after which Asaf Katz forced and recovered a Tal Biton fumble. Tel Aviv drove the field with a chance to take the lead, but turned the ball over on downs and Beersheva was able to kneel out the clock for the milestone victory.

Katz completed 7/21 passes for 91 yards and a score, leading his team with 19 rushing yards. Hayes caught 5 passes for 61 yards, along with his kick return TD. Sandro Kalandadze lead the team with 12 tackles, 3 TFL and a sack and Koren Lotan added 6 tackles, 1 TFL, a forced fumble and 2 fumble recoveries.
Cameron Simmonds completed 5/13 passes (to 5 different receivers) for 35 yards. Yuval Fenta had 18 carries for 107 yards and Hoffman had 14 carries for 93 yards and 2 scores. Asaf Katz lead the ‘D’ with 6 tackles, 1 TFL a forced fumble and a fumble recovery and Kevin Hushie added 3 tackles a 2 break-ups.

The Pioneers travel to Mazkeret Batya on Friday as the two remaining winless teams square off in search of victory. The Black Swarm have a week off before hosting the Petah Tikva Troopers on the 16th.