Wild Card Weekend In Israel Football League

The Tel Aviv Pioneers and Haifa Underdogs both came away victorious in the wild-card round of the 2016 playoffs in Israel.

Tel Aviv ‘Hotel Gilgal’ Pioneers 66 – Beersheva ‘Travel Leaders’ Black Swarm 0

Israel - Wild card 2016 - PIoneers-Black Swarm.2

Photo: Doron Avraham

The Pioneers are looking to earn their 3rd straight playoff berth and started off with a blowout win over the Black Swarm, who made their first playoff appearance after a 4-year absence.

The Pioneers started with the ball and in seven plays made it to the endzone with a touchdown pass from Ronny Moscona to Nimrod Pintel, 8-0. A good return by Beersheva’s Matanel Katz gave the southerners good field position, but they couldn’t convert.

The Pios punted, but Travis Mascitelli sacked Beersheva quarterback Itay Reuven on 4th down to get the ball back for Tel Aviv. Moscona then connected with tight end Omri Sapir to put the hosts up 16-0. Beersheva again squandered a good return, but Roi Artzi stripped Moscona and recovered the ball. Beersheva subsequently missed a field goal, and Noam Feigenbloom put the Pioneers up 22-0 with a TD run. An interception by Elan Neiger gave the Pioneers prime field position, but the Swarm defense held strong. Beersheva punted, and Moscona connected with wide receiver Bar rudich for a short touchdown pass right before halftime, 30-0.
Beersheva started the second half with a punt, and the Moscona-Pintel connection scored for the second time, 38-0. Beersheva tried to punt, but punter Tomer Cohen could not get the ball off in time, and was taken down by Mascitelli, Or Shalom and Ziv Weinberg. Moscona ran in a score (44-0) and the third quarter ended with a Beersheva punt. Moscona ran in another score to make it 52-0. Beersheva punted and Feigenbloom scored his second of the day, 60-0. Another Beersheva punt set up Omri Mizrahi for a touchdown run, 66-0, and the game ended on a Yonatan Piasetzky interception as time expired.

Individual performances

Moscona lead the Pioneers with 14/20 passing for 208 yards and 4 TDs, to go along with 2 rushing scores. Feigenbloom rushed for 2 scores and Yonatan Shavit had 77 yards on the ground. Rudich finished with 5 catches for 126 yards and a score and Pintel had 5-64-2. Jason Leos had 5 tackles and Charlie Gordon had 4.
Reuven finished with 10/28 passing for 6 yards and 2 interceptions. Shlomi Shohat lead the defense with 9 tackles and a sack, Sandro Kalandadze had 8 tackles, and Artzi had 7, a strip, and a recovery.

Pioneers will face Jerusalem Lions in the semifinals

The Pioneers will play the Jerusalem Lions on Wednesday in a semi-final rematch of Israel Bowl VII.

Haifa ‘Nemo’s’ Underdogs 27 – Ramat HaSharon ‘Mike’s Place’ Hammers 6

Israel - Wild card 2016 - Underdogs-Hammers.5

Photo: Dotan Doron

After meeting twice during the regular season in two games that had a combined point differential of 3, the two teams met again in the IFL wild card round.

The Hammers started off the game with a strong ground game, but could not finish off an otherwise solid drive. Haifa punted, and the Hammers could not convert on 4th down, as the second quarter got underway. The Hammers’ Yair Ben Moshe and Amit Twig sacked Haifa quarterback Matt Kauffman, but on the very next play Kauffman found Nimrod Smith and the latter found a hole to take it 44 yards for the score, 7-0.

Rudy Rattner sacked Ramat HaSharon quarterback Adi Hakami on fourth down, but Twig intercepted Kauffman on the next Underdog drive. Each team got another drive before halftime but neither capitalized.

Haifa got the second half started with another Smith touchdown catch. The Hammers punted and a great return gave the Underdogs great field position, and they took advantage with a touchdown pass from Kauffman to tight end Amit Kolton, 20-0. Ramat HaSharon again could not convert on 4th down as the fourth quarter got underway, but Haifa’s Ilya Averbuch missed a field goal.

Smith picked off a Hakami pass, and Kauffman found tight end Amitai Chubinski, who dragged two defenders into the end-zone, 27-0. The Hammers got on the board with a touchdown pass from Hakami to Elya Hershkovitz, 27-6, and after a Haifa punt, Smith picked Hakami off again to seal the deal, and send Haifa into the semifinals for the second straight season.

Individual performances

Kauffman finished 14/24 for 220 yards, 4 scores and a pick. Chubinski finished with 5-70-1, Smith had 3-80-2, and Kolton had 3-50-1. Rattner lead the defense with 10 tackles and a sack, Mica Allon finished with 8 and a breakup, and Shai Rotbaum had 7 and 2 TFL.

Hakami finished 7/21 for 62 yards, a score and 2 picks, and Tal Greenblat had 55 combined yards, rushing and receiving. Ben Moshe had 11 tackles, a sack and 2 TFL. Twig had 10 tackles, half a sack, 4 breakups and a pick, and Benzi Zimmerman had 8 and 1.5 sacks.

Haifa to face Judean Rebels in the semifinals

Haifa will return to Maaleh Adumim where they opened their season, as they will face the Judean Rebels on Thursday. Haifa won both regular season games against the defending champions.

Semifinal Schedule

The first semifinal game will take place on Wednesday, April 6th, at 21:00 in Maaleh Adumim between the Jerusalem ‘Big Blue’ Lions and the Tel Aviv ‘Hotel Gilgal’ Pioneers. The second semifinal game will take place the following day, April 7th, also in Maaleh Adumim at 21:00, between the Judean Rebels and the Haifa ‘Nemo’s’ Underdogs.