All three games in Week 14 of the Kraft Family IFL were dripping with drama,
with only one of them going down to the wire but the results of the other two
having strong implications on the emerging playoff picture.
night’s ultra-hyped showdown between the league’s only remaining unbeaten teams
turned into a one-sided affair in which the Bourbon Street Tel Aviv/Jaffa Sabres
dominated the Hasharon Hammers 56-12 to improve to 9-0 and clinch the top seed
and a first-round bye.
On Friday morning in Ramle, the expansion Rehovot
Silverbacks closed out their season with a 54-8 defeat at the hands of the ISD
Jerusalem Kings, who moved to 4-5 on the year with one crucial regular-season
contest left next Thursday against the Travel Leaders’ Beersheba Black
The Swarm were involved in the weekend’s most breathtaking match,
coming out on the losing end of a 56-49 Southern thriller on Thursday night
against the Clal Tel Aviv Pioneers, who at 7-1 are now still in contention for
one of the top two seeds and a much-needed week of rest.
dormant Big Blue Jerusalem Lions (5-3), Talpion Judean Rebels (5-4) and Nemo’s
Haifa Underdogs (4-5) all saw their playoff destinies affected in one way or
another and with just two more weekends of regular-season action remaining, it
figures to be a wild roller-coaster of a fortnight coming up.
down the impact of the Week 14 results, the Sabres still sit atop the standings
and hold the spot for good, with only one game left against the Lions. The
Hammers (8-1) and Pioneers have yet to face each other, and if Clal can beat the
Rebels this Friday, the Hasharon- Tel Aviv clash next Wednesday will be for the
all-important second place and a home date in the semifinals.
top three spots, the Lions and Rebels are both still in play for fourth, with
Big Blue hosting the rejuvenated Petah Tikva Troopers this Wednesday before
finishing at the Sabres on March 2. If the Judeans can top the Pios this week to
get to 6-4, the Lions will need to win out to claim third, although either way
they will being playing a firstround game in the friendly environs of Kraft
The Rebels have already clinched a postseason berth through all
the various potential tie-breaker permutations, however the Kings, Black Swarm
and Underdogs will all be hanging closely on the result of Friday’s game at Tel
Both Nemo’s and ISD have one game left to get to .500,
with Haifa visiting the Northern Stars and the Kings traveling to Beersheba. The
Swarm have two games remaining, hosting both the Kings and Stars, and needing to
win both to keep their slim hopes alive.
The bottom line is that there is
really only one open playoff spot, with the Underdogs, Kings and Swarm all
having various degrees of chances to nab it.
Haifa makes the dance if it
beats Nahariya and either the Rebels beat the Pioneers or the Kings lose to the
The Kings will edge into the playoffs by a nose if they beat
Beersheba and either the Rebels lose to the Pioneers or the Northern Stars upset
Beersheba really has only an outside chance of qualifying,
needing to the top the Kings and also have Nahariya beat Haifa to get
The upshot of it all is that there are almost too many storylines to
keep track of heading into the final month of the sixth season of tackle
football in Israel and this version of “IFL March Madness” figures to be the
most scintillating one yet.
With Purim on the horizon this week, the IFL
has a threegame slate on tap. On Wednesday night, former Stanford QB Garrett
Moore and the Troopers pay a visit to Big Blue, while Friday features the
intriguing Rebels-Pioneers battle at Tel Aviv University. Saturday night will
see the Northern Stars make the long trek across the country to take on
Beersheba in the first (and maybe only) Kvish 6 Cup.
For full Kraft
Family IFL standings, stats and schedule, as well as for more information on
pigskin in the Holy Land, please visit www.israel-football.co.il