Israel: Tel Aviv Pioneers get first win, Jerusalem Lions earn shut out

The Tel Aviv Pioneers got their first win of the season in the Israel Football League in a 66-62 shootout victory over the Petah Tikva Troopers. The Haifa ‘Nemo’s’ Underdogs got their second win over the Mazkeret Batya ”Rose Valley Crossfit” Silverbacks 14-7, and the Jerusalem ”Big Blue” Lions remained undefeated, coasting to a 45-0 blowout victory over the Beersheva Black Swarm.

Tel Aviv Pioneers 66 – Petah Tikva Troopers 62

Photo: Dotan Doron

The teams exchanged punts to start the game, but from there the shoot-out was on.The Troopers kicked off the scoring with a TD pass from Avrami Farkas to Daniel Eisenberg, 8-0. Omri Mizrachi took in a QB keeper to tie the game at 8. Three plays later Farkas threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Gideon Reiz (16-8), and on the very next play from scrimmage Ariel Hoffman found a hole and ran 47 yards for a Pioneers’ score, 16 all. The Troopers punted, and Mizrachi found Cam Simmonds for a score, 24-16.

Chris Daves returned the ensuing kickoff 78 yards to the house, 24-22, and Mizrachi threw a 16-yard scoring pass to Nimrod Posner, 30-22. Daves ripped off another great return, this one for 45 yards, and Farkas and Reiz connected for another touchdown, 30-all. Hoffman ran 39 yards for another Tel Aviv TD, 38-30. The Troopers punted, as did the Pioneers, and Reiz returned their punt 69 yards for a PT score, 38-36. Tel Aviv turned the ball over on downs, and Farkas/Reiz connected for a another score, 44-38. Reiz intercepted Mizrachi’s last-ditch pass attempt before halftime.

Photo: Dotan Doron

Yonatan Shkolsky ran in a TA touchdown, tying the game at 44. Petah Tikva punted and Yuval Fenta ran in his first score of the evening to take the lead for Tel Aviv, 50-44. Nerya Busi intercepted a Farkas pass, and Mizrachi threw a scoring pass to Shachar Regev, 58-44. Farkas passed to Jonathan Curran before the end of the third quarter, narrowing the deficit to 58-50. Fenta ran in another score at the start of the 4th quarter, 66-50, and less than a minute later Farkas and Curran connected for another touchdown, 66-56. The Pioneers punted, but Yair Ben-Moshe fumbled the ball, and David Weitzman recovered for Tel Aviv. Tel Aviv turned the ball over on downs, but seemed to have the game in the bag when they forced a Farkas incompletion on 4th down with 1:39 to play. However, Mizrachi fumbled the snap and Enrique Roth recovered the ball for the Troopers. Farkas took in a keeper with 1:03 to play (66-62), but Regev recovered the onside kick, and a Hoffman first down enabled the Pioneers to preserve their first win of the season.

Individual performances


Mizrachi completed 8/18 passes for 113 yards, 3 touchdowns and an interception, adding a rushing touchdown. Hoffman rushed 17 times for an IFL single-game record 243 yards, and 2 touchdowns. Fenta ”added” 24 carries for 177 yards and 2 touchdowns. Simmonds caught 3-57-1. Asaf Katz had 6 tackles and 1 TFL. Nerya Busi had 4 tackles, 2 sacks and 1 interception, and Ziv Weinberg added 5 and half a sack. The Pioneers as a team went into the record books with the 2nd-highest single game offensive yards (535) and tied the single-game record for (accepted) penalties with 20.


Farkas completed 19/40 passes for 301 yards, 6 touchdowns, an INT and a rushing touchdown. Reiz caught 7-127-3, Jesse Hartman 8-98, and Curran 2-52-2. Aryeh Eastman lead the defense with 13 tackles, Yoav Romem added 9 and 2 break-ups and Ben-Moshe added 9.

The teams will meet again this Saturday night.

Haifa ‘Nemo’s’ Underdogs 14 – Mazkeret Batya ”Rose Valley Crossfit” Silverbacks 7

Photo: Sleeman Amer

The guest Silverbacks started the game off with a punt and Haifa turned the ball over on downs at the end of an 11-play drive, after a strong defensive stand by Mazkeret Batya. The teams exchanged punts to end the first quarter, and then again to start the second. Ido Eisikovits threw a 46-yard touchdown pass to a streaking Rotem Oz, putting Mazkeret up 7-0 with 3:34 to play in the half. Ron Dafni threw the tying touchdown to Amitai Chubinsky with 1 minute to play in the half, 7-7.

Haifa turned the ball over on downs after a 10-play drive, and Shon Kibutzany blocked a 29-yard Tim Plotkin field goal attempt. The Underdogs punted to start the 4th quarter, and Rudy Rattner batted an Eisikovits pass, which was intercepted by Mica Allon in Silverbacks’ territory. Haifa capitalized on the turnover with a second Dafni-to-Chubinski touchdown pass, 14-7. The Silverbacks turned the ball over on downs, but Harrison Duke-Fearnley missed a 32-yard field goal with 3 minutes left. Mazkeret turned the ball over on downs with 1:05 to play, but absurdly poor clock-management by Haifa, along with a stupid Haifa penalty gave Mazkeret the ball back for one last play. Under pressure, Eisikovits launched the ball downfield but Allon was there to pick it off and end the game.

Photo: Sleeman Amer

Individual performances


Dafni completed 19/32 passes for 158 yards and 2 scores, adding 32 yards on the ground. Chubinski caught 8-69-2 and Matan Fourier added 6-59. Mica Allon was a beast on defense with 15 tackles (1 TFL) and 2 interceptions. Kibutzany had 5, 1.5 TFL and a blocked field goal, and Elior Kanfi added 2 tackles and 3 break-ups.



Eisikovits completed 7/20 passes for 82 yards, a score and 2 INTs. Oz caught 3-58-1 and Ohad Samuely had 13 carries for 49 yards. Rookies Shiko Zano and Jen Hilel combined for 17 tackles and Daniel Cohen added 4 and 2 break-ups.

Both teams play the Judean Rebels next. The Underdogs will play at the Kraft Family Sports Campus this Friday morning and the Silverbacks will host the Rebels next Friday morning.

Jerusalem ”Big Blue” Lions 45 – Beersheva Black Swarm o

The Lions punted on their first drive, but Mordy Charnowitz forced a Ran Hadary fumble and Shmuel Halpern recovered for the hosts. Hillel Goldstein rushed a for a touchdown (8-0), Beersheva punted, and David Abell passed to Ezzy Jaski for another Jerusalem TD, 16-0. The Swarm punted again, and Abell ran in a keeper just before halftime, 22-0.

Beersheva punted again to start the second half, and Moshe Segelman ran in a 3-yard touchdown for the Lions, 30-0. Beersehva punted again, and Goldstein caught a short TD pass from Abell, 38-0. The Swarm turned the ball over on downs, and Jaski came in at QB throwing a TD pass to Zachi Silas, 45-0. The Swarm punted again, and Jaski kneeled out the clock.

Abell completed 19/30 passes for 221 yards and 2 scores, adding 45 yards and a score on the ground. Misha Belov caught 8 passes for 122 yards and Alan Tover caught 4 passes for 63. Leib Sklar had 5 tackles and a sack and Charnowitz had 5, a TFL and a forced fumble.

Alex Bar was 4/12 passing for 35 yards and Ronnie Hayes caught 3 passes for 32 yards. Ehud Klein and Ben Rahamim each had 6 tackles and Niv Furie had 3, a break-up and a forced fumble.

The teams will play again next Saturday night in Beersheva.