Israel: Mazkeret Batya Silverbacks notch historic win over Tel Aviv Pioneers

For the second straight week, the Tel Aviv Pioneers ended up on the losing side of the history books, as they lost to the Mazkeret Batya ”Rose Valley Crossfit” Silverbacks for the first time ever, 14-6. On Thursday night at the Kraft Family Sports Campus in Jerusalem, the Jerusalem ”Big Blue” Lions dominated the Haifa ”Nemo” Underdogs 37-0.

Jerusalem ”Big Blue” Lions 37 – Haifa ”Nemo” Underdogs 0

The defending champion Lions got off to a quick start with a 46-yard touchdown run by reigning MVP David Abell on their third play from scrimmage, 6-0. Haifa punted and at the end of a 10-play drive Abell found Ezzy Jaski for another score, 12-0. The second quarter started with another Haifa punt. The hosts got the ball back after a special teams miscue by the Underdog punt return unit, and Binyamin Schultz kicked the first ever field goal at the Kraft Family Sports Campus, a 24-yarder that pushed the score to 15-0. Leib Sklar sacked Haifa QB Ron Dafni for a safety, 17-0. Haifa got the ball back after a Jerusalem punt, but couldn’t find the end-zone before halftime.

The Underdogs punted to start the second half, and Abell scrambled around in the backfield for an eternity before finding Alan Tover in the end-zone for another score, 23-0. The Underdogs punted, and Lions rookie Moshe Shear returned the punt 62 yards to the house, 29-0. Haifa mishandled the ball on a punt attempt, and the hosts immediately capitalized with another scoring pass from Abell to Jaski, 37-0. Dafni lead the Underdogs into Lions territory to start the 4th quarter, but was sacked by Avi Steinherz on 4th down. The Lions punted and time ran out on Haifa.

Individual performances

Lions

Abell completed 13/23 passes for 153 yards and 3 scores, also leading his team on the ground with 7 carries for 69 yards and a score. Jaski caught 2 passes for 49 yards and 2 scores, and Tover caught 2-23-1. Mordy Charnowitz and Tzvi Sklar each registered 5 tackles, along with 1 and 1.5 TFL, respectively, as the Lions defense held the Underdogs to negative total yardage (!).

Underdogs

Dafni completed 8/13 passes for 20 yards and Matan Fourier caught 3 passes for 17 yards. Yair Zilbershtein had 8 tackles and 1 TFL for the ‘Dog ‘D’, and Yevgeni ‘Juba’ Yudovin added 7 and 2 break-ups.

The Lions will play the Judean Rebels this Thursday night in the annual Jerusalem derby Chanukah Bowl, in a clash of the IFL’s remaining undefeated teams. The Underdogs will play their first home game of the season next Friday against Mazkeret Batya, at their new home field in Kibbutz HaHotrim.

Watch a replay of the entire game here.

Mazkeret Batya ”Rose Valley Crossfit” Silverbacks 14 – Tel Aviv Pioneers 6


For the second straight week the Pioneers lost to an opponent whom they had never lost to before. This week, it was the Silverbacks’ turn to taste sweet victory.

The Pios’ 8-play opening drive ended when Evyatar HaCohen forced a Yuval Fenta fumble and Aviram Johnson recovered for the hosts. The Silverbacks punted, and Vova Jandarmov forced and recovered another Fenta fumble. The Silverbacks took a 10-play, 65-yard drive into the second quarter, capping it off with a 20-yard touchdown run by Ohad Samuely, 7-0. The Pioneers punted, but right before halftime Amit Militanu intercepted a pass by Mazkeret QB Ido Eisikovits, setting up a Fenta TD run 9 seconds before the break, 7-6.

The teams exchanged punts to start the second half and with 3 minutes to play in the third quarter, Samuely ran in his second score of the day, 14-6. Yonatan Shkolsky coughed up another Tel Aviv fumble and Elad Iluz recovered for Mazkeret Batya. The teams exchanged punts twice to start the 4th quarter, giving Tel Aviv the ball with under 5 minutes to play. QB Omri Mizrachi threw incompletions on 3rd and 4th down, but after the Pioneers wisely burned their timeouts, the Silverbacks had to punt the ball back to Tel Aviv with under a minute and a half remaining. Going deep on 1st down, Mizrachi’s pass was nearly intercepted by ‘Backs’ safety Daniel Cohen, and on 2nd down the same deep ball was picked off by Cohen to seal the historic ‘W’ for a jubilant Silverback squad.

Individual performances

Silverbacks

Eisikovits completed 11/21 passes for 104 yards and an INT. Samuely rushed 20 times for 91 yards and 2 TDs and Maxim Levin caught 6 passes for 60 yards. Rookie Jen ‘Carlos’ Hilel had 9 tackles for the victors and Johnson had 7 and a fumble recovery.

Pioneers
Mizrachi completed 6/14 passes for 35 yards and an INT. Fenta had 20 carries for 114 yards and a score, Shkolsky had 8 for 34, but the two combined to lose 3 fumbles, all in Mazkeret Batya territory. Charles Perez had a career day with 12 tackles, 2 TFL and a sack. Asaf Katz had 11 and 1.5 TFL.

Both teams have this week off before away games next week. Next Thursday the Pioneers will play the Petah Tikva Troopers in a rematch of last year’s semifinals, and on Friday the Silverbacks travel north to battle the Underdogs, as both teams look to climb to .500.

Israel Football League
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