Three Kraft Family Israel Football League games ended in three blowouts. While the IFL faithful expected big wins in Petha Tikva on Friday (Underdogs over Troopers) and Maaleh Adumim on Saturday night (Lions over Black Swarm), not many fans expected the Rebels to have such an easy time against the Hammers.
Judean Rebels 60 – Ramat HaSharon ‘Mike’s Place’ Hammers 14
The Rebels got off to a quick start against the Hammers and never let up.
Judean Rebels quarterback Chaim Schiff started the game with two completions to Chaim Aaron and Misha Belov, setting up a Dani Etasman touchdown run, 8-0. Ami Notis sacked Hammers quarterback Adi Hakami on 3rd down, setting up a punt which Eastman took 61 yards to the house, 16-0. The teams exchanged punts, the Hammers punted again, and Schiff found Aaron for a 31-yard catch-and-run at the start of the second quarter, 24-0. Eastman intercepted a Hakami pass, but Hammers cornerback Matis Goldmeier picked off Schiff’s pass in the end-zone for a touchback. Hakami hit wide receiver Jonathan Curran on a crossing pattern for a 30-yard score to staunch the bleeding (24-8), and the teams exchanged punts to end the first half.
The Hammers went 4-and-out to start the second half and Schiff found Eastman for a 41-yard scoring strike, 30-8. Ramat HaSharon went 4-and-out again before Ami Notis ran in a 4-yard touchdown, 38-8. The Hammers could not convert on 4th down and Eastman threw a 9-yard scoring pass to Misha Belov, 46-8. The Hammers came up with some magic, as Hakami scrambled to avoid multiple sacks and somehow flipped the ball to Curran along the left sideline. The star receiver reversed field, picking up blocks and breaking tackles on his way to the pylon on the right side of the field for a 38-yard touchdown, 46-14. The fourth quarter started off with a 51-yard touchdown pass form Eastman to Belov, though the latter fumbled the ball and then recovered it in the end-zone for the score, 54-14. The Hammers couldn’t convert on 4th down but forced a Rebel punt. Hakami was strip-sacked by Jeremiah Jelski and the ball was picked up by Yaniv Kovalski who rumbled 26 yards to give his team 1st-and-goal. Backup quarterback Jeff Balaban found Aaron in the end-zone for the final 60-14 margin. Eastman picked off a Hakami pass, Goldmeier picked off a Balaban pass, and Notis picked off another Hakami pass to end the game.
Eastman scored five touchdowns
Schiff finished 14/21 for for 186 yards, 2 scores and a pick. Belov caught 7 passes for 108 yards and 2 scores and Aaron added 5 catches for 59 yards and 2 scores. Eastman went 3/4 passing for 76 yards and 2 scores, caught 3 passes for 46 yards and a score, and lead his team with 27 rushing yards and a score. He also scored on a punt return. Jelski lead the defense with 10 tackles, 2 breakups, a sack and a forced fumble. Notis had 4 tackles, 2 sacks, a pick and a forced fumble.
Hakami completed just 8/34 passes for 123 yards, 2 scores and 3 picks. Curran caught 3 passes for 89 yards and 2 scores, and Adam Kima lead the rushing attack with 27 yards on 7 carries. Yair Ben Moshe lead the defense with 6 tackles, including 2 TFL, and Goldmeier finished with 2 tackles, 2 picks and a breakup.
The Hammers travel to Maaleh Adumim on Thursday in a crucial match-up against the Jerusalem ‘Big Blue’ Lions which could play a big part in determining playoff seedings and the Rebels have a long break before hosting the Tel Aviv ‘Hotel Gilgal’ Pioneers to wrap up their regular season.
Haifa ‘Nemo’s’ Underdogs 50 – Petah Tikva ‘RoomsNinja’ Troopers 14
The Underdogs came away with an easy victory in Petah Tikva.
Petah Tikva started off strong with a 7-play drive that took nearly five minutes off of the clock, but could not turn it into points. A long pass from Haifa quarterback Matt Kauffman to wide receiver Matan Fourier set up a 20-yard scoring pass from Kauffman to tight end Amit Kolton, 7-0. Two plays later, Troopers quarterback David Arshavsky couldn’t handle the snap and the ball was scooped up by Haifa’s Rudy Rattner who ran 22 yards for the score, 14-0. The Troopers had a 13-play, 7-minute drive that ended without points as Asaf Israel sacked Arshavsky on 4th down. Petah Tikva’s Yoav Romem forced a Haifa fumble, which teammate Chris Davis recovered, but Rattner sacked Arshavsky in the end-zone for a Haifa safety, 16-0. Kauffman hit Kolton again, this time for a 41-yard catch and run touchdown, 23-0. The Troopers were forced to punt, but Erez Maman picked off Kauffman’s pass. The teams exchanged turnovers-on-downs and then Arshavsky’s pass was intercepted by Haifa’s Shai Rotbaum to end the half.
The teams exchanged punts to start the second half and then Kauffman found tight end Amitai Chubinsky for a 23-yard score, 29-0. The Troopers embarked on another long drive, this one culminating in a touchdown pass from Arshavsky to Dvir Argouan, 29-8. Haifa answered with a 41-yard touchdown pass from Kauffman to Fourier, 36-8, but the Troopers came right back with a 52-yard touchdown run by Davis, 36-14. Ndavyaf Williams answered with a 15-yard touchdown run of his own, 43-14, and after a Petah Tikva punt Kauffman ran one in himself for a 50-14 lead. The Troopers did not convert on 4th down and Haifa took a knee to end the game.
Kauffman completed 11/21 passes for 224 yards, 4 scores and a pick, plus a rushing TD. Kolton caught 2-61-2, Fourier caught 2-73-1 and Chubinski caught 3-65-1. Williams lead the ground game with 12-62-1. Rattner was a beast on defense with 11 tackles, 3 TFL, a safety sack and a fumble recovery for a TD. Mica Allon added 5 tackles, 1 TFL and a forced fumble.
Arshavsky was 11/31 for 106 yards, a score and a pick, adding 57 yards on the ground. Davis carried the rock 9 times for 94 yards and a score and Maman caught 5 passes for 56 yards. Elyassaf Benattia lead the defense with 6 tackles and Davis had 5, a fumble recovery and a blocked extra point.
Both teams play again this week. Haifa can take a big step towards the top playoff seed with a road victory this Friday against the Tel Aviv ‘Hotel Gilgal’ Pioneers. The Troopers, who are officially out of playoff contention, will be playing for pride against the Mazkeret Batya ‘Pointer’ Silverbacks, whom they lost to in overtime earlier this season.
Jerusalem ‘Big Blue’ Lions 42 – Beersheva ‘Travel Leaders’ Black Swarm 0
The Lions started off strong and earned an easy victory.
David Abell started the game off with 3 runs for 40 yards, setting up quarterback Binyamin Schultz for the QB sneak, 8-0. The Black Swarm punted and the Schultz found Abell for a 12-yard touchdown pass, 14-0. The Swarm punted again before Abell ran in a score from 36 yards out, 20-0. Beersheva turned the ball over on downs at the start of the second quarter, but Schultz fumbled the ball and it was recovered by Swarm linebacker Sandro Kalandadze. The Swarm turned the ball over on downs; the teams exchanged punts twice, and the Lions didn’t convert on one last drive before the half.
Big Blue safety Jerome Wojtalik intercepted a pass from Beersheva quarterback Itay Reuven to start the second half, giving his team prime field position, and Aaron Stefansky ran in a touchdown from 4 yards out, 28-0. Beersheva punted the ball, and a long Lions drive ended with a 1-yard Hillel Goldstein TD plunge, 36-0. Beesheva turned the ball over on downs and Goldstein ran in a 23-yard touchdown from 23 yards out, 42-0, as the fourth quarter got underway. Beersheva punted the ball away again but Roi Artzi picked off Schultz’s pass. Beersheva punted, Jerusalem turned the ball over on downs, Beersheva punted again and the game was over.
Schultz finished 10/20 for 129 yards, a TD and a pick. Abell carried 7 times for 96 yards and a score plus a receiving touchdown. Goldstein had 8 carries for 66 yards and 2 scores and Stefansky added 3 catches for 60 yards and 4 carries for 19 yards and a score. On defense, it was Leib Sklar leading the charge with 9 tackles, 2.5 TFL, a breakup and a forced fumble. Yoni Cooper had 5 tackles, a sack, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery, and Mordy Charnowitz had 4 tackles, 3 breakups and a forced fumble.
Reuven finished 13/31 for 38 yards and a pick. Matanel Katz caught 8 passes for 21 yards and lead the team with 8 yards rushing and Shai Bortnik had 4 catches for 19 yards. Sandro Kalandadze lead the defense with 13 tackles, a TFL and a fumble recovery while Artzi had 7 tackles and a pick.
The Lions have a short week as they host the reeling Ramat HaSharon ‘Mike’s Place’ Hammers on Thursday in a game with serious playoff implications, while the Black Swarm will get some rest before traveling to take on the Petah Tikva ‘RoomsNinja’ Troopers in two weeks’ time.