Hammers start off in style; Rebels run over Underdogs

By JERUSALEM POST SPORTS STAFF
November 14, 2010 23:48

Gush Texas Judean Rebels set IFL scoring record with a 78-32 victory over Real Housing Haifa Underdogs.

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HERZLIYA HAMMERS running back Zahi Gradstein (left

Football 311. (photo credit: Adlai Maschiach)

It was a welcome-to-the-league weekend in more ways than one as the Kraft Family IFL was back in action with a pair of Week 2 contests, both of which brought somewhat surprising results.

On Thursday in Jerusalem, the Gush Texas Judean Rebels ran roughshod over the Real Housing Haifa Underdogs, scoring early and very often to come away with a 78-32 victory that set the IFL record for points scored by one club.

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Saturday night featured the first regular season game as a franchise for Leo Bloom’s Herzliya Hammers, who looked like anything but an expansion team en route to an impressive 38-8 spanking of the Papagaio Jerusalem Kings in front of a raucous hometown crowd at the beautiful Bat Yam Municipal Stadium.

Saul Lokier and Erez Mamaan led the way for the Hammers, each accounting for a pair of touchdowns in the maiden triumph against the severely depleted Kings, who were done in by fumbling the ball a total of eight times, losing three.

Zahi Gradstein and Shabby Shavit combined for 99 yards rushing for Herzliya (1-0), which was buoyed by an offensive attack based on text-book, smashmouth football focused on minimizing its mistakes.

Gradstein scampered into the house from seven yards out on the Hammers first drive and a stellar all-around defensive effort led to the Kings (0-2) having a difficult time moving the ball all game.

A forced safety and Lokier’s first TD, on a pass from Mamaan, sent the hosts into the break with a 14-0 lead, and although the Kings tried valiantly to hang with their opponents in the third quarter, second-half scores from Lokier, Roddy Berg and Liran Galili ensured that the Hammers would get their inaugural season started off with a win.

In Thursday’s lopsided matchup in the capital, the Rebels (1-1) were able to impose their offensive will on the overmatched Underdogs (0-1), with QB Alex Swieca completing 16 of 33 passes for 226 yards and five TDs, plus taking on in himself.

On the other side of the ball, Haifa was victimized by a number of early gaffes, which led to the Orangemen putting up the first 16 points of the game, both on fumble recoveries and returns to the endzone, by Boris Safaniev and Ricky Wolder.

Wolder would score another defensive TD with a 31-yard pick-six in the fourth quarter, as well as rack up nine tackles in addition to his regular kicking duties to earn the Mike’s Place Players of the Weekend award along with the Hammers’ Shavit.

This week, the IFL has a pair of games on tap, with the Big Blue Jerusalem Lions (1-0) hosting the Dancing Camel Tel Aviv Pioneers (0-1) at Kraft Stadium in Jerusalem on Thursday, and the Arthur’s Tel Aviv/Jaffa Sabres (1-0) visiting the Travel Leader’s Beersheva Black Swarm (1-0) on Friday down South.

For more information about the IFL and tackle football in Israel, please visit www.ifl.co.il


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