Hammers pull out nail-biter, Troopers triumph at last
By JERUSALEM POST SPORTS STAFF
It was a momentous Week 10 in the Kraft Family IFL with three winning road warriors.
It was a momentous Week 10 in the Kraft Family IFL with three winning road
warriors, as one club recorded its first-ever victory sandwiched by the
new-contender-on-the- block beating a perennial powerhouse and a fantastic
classic clash up north between a pair of original-four
Working our way backwards, on Saturday night the Clal Tel
Aviv Pioneers traveled to face Nemo’s Haifa Underdogs in Kiryat Yam, with both
teams looking to put tough losses from the previous weekend well in the rearview
mirror. Ultimately, it was a hardhitting, momentum-swinging affair in which the
Pioneers got touchdowns from four different players to hold off the hosts and
improve to 4-1 on the campaign with a 28-18 conquest.
Friday morning in
Ramle will be a day and place that goes down in the annals of the Petah Tikva
Troopers as the site of the team’s first taste of victory. The second-year
franchise went 0-10 last season – despite a number of close chances – and came
into their meeting with the expansion Rehovot Silverbacks sporting a 0- 5 record
this year and starving to break the schneid.
A revitalized Chris Daves
and a crescendoing Noam Shefer led the Troopers’ offensive explosion, combining
for five of the team’s six touchdowns to dispatch the Silverbacks 46-6 and set
off the celebrations on the PT sidelines.
“Feel good about yourself. All
of you deserve this and have practiced extremely hard for this,” an exultant PT
coach Hanan Stern told his players as the game wound down. “Soak in this
sensation and let’s have this be the first of many times we feel
Indeed, the Troopers needn’t look too far at all to find a perfect
template of development to model themselves after.
It wasn’t long ago
that the Hasharon Hammers were also struggling to avoid cellardwelling in the
standings, and finally in this, their third season in existence, this have taken
a drastic turn upwards.
On Thursday night in the capital, the Hammers put
their undefeated record to the test against the mighty Big Blue Jerusalem Lions
and came away still unscathed with a tight 24-18 triumph that emphatically
announced to the rest of the league that Hasharon is a true power to contend
with, sitting just back of the Bourbon Street Tel Aviv/Jaffa Sabres now with a
sparkling 6-0 start.
The Pioneers and Underdogs also find themselves in
the thick of things as the regular season hits the homestretch. Saturday’s
contest was a pivotal one for both long-time rivals as Tel Aviv came in looking
to bounce back from its first defeat of the season – a true humbling by the
Sabres – and Haifa wanted to get back to winning ways following a tough loss to
the Judean Rebels.
After the Pioneers took a 22-6 lead into the break, a
determined Underdogs squad came out gunning in the second half and Tim Kelly (25
carries for 138 yards) scored consecutive touchdowns straddling the third and
fourth stanzas to set up a dramatic finish at 22-18 Pioneers with more than
seven minutes left in regulation.
A crucial and controversial goalline
fumble by Kauffman was recovered by TA’s Sagan Zavelo – who had 15 tackles and a
passbreakup to go along with the fumble recovery – and with that call likely
went Haifa’s chance of pulling off the comeback.
After a last-gasp drive
fell short for Nemo’s the Pioneers were relieved to escape with the win and
improve to 4-1 on the season while sending the Underdogs back to .500 at 4-4
heading into a two-week break.
The rest of the IFL, however, is
full-steam ahead, with another action-packed Week 11 slate across the
On Election Tuesday, in a makeup game from the snow-delayed
weekend, the ISD Jerusalem Kings (2-3) trek up to Kibbutz Sahar to face the
Northern Stars (1-4) in a game the Kings need to stay on pace for a playoff
On Thursday, the Hammers host the Rebels (4-3) in Ramat Hasharon
for a game that many well-known VIPs are expected to attend while Friday
features the Pioneers entertaining the Troopers (1-5) before the Silverbacks
(0-7) visit the Beersheba Black Swarm (2-4) on Saturday night to close out the
For full Kraft Family IFL standings, stats and schedule, as
well as for more information on pigskin in the Holy Land, please visit