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It was an abbreviated but drama-drenched Week 9 in the Kraft Family IFL, as a
pair of tightly contested battles were finally waged after the inclement weather
won the first round of the weekend, forcing the postponement of a Thursday night
showdown in the north between the Northern Stars and ISD Jerusalem
Still, there was more than enough action packed into the two-game
slate, which saw the Talpion Judean Rebels come away with a thrilling 36-28 road
conquest of Nemo’s Haifa Underdogs on Friday followed by the Bourbon Street Tel
Aviv/Jaffa Sabres handcuff the Clal Tel Aviv Pioneers 38-6 in Saturday’s
scintillating TA derby.
When it was all said and done, the IFL standings
were shuffled around quite a bit, with the mighty Sabres leading the pack at a
resounding 7-0. The inactive Hasharon Hammers (5-0) and Big Blue Jerusalem Lions
(4-1) – now occupying second and third, respectively – were the big
beneficiaries of the Pioneers’ first loss of the campaign, dropping them into
fourth place at 3-1. Meanwhile, the Rebels continued their resurgence and
improved to 4-3 in fifth place, just ahead of the Underdogs (3-4), who are
clinging on to the all-important sixth place, which is the final playoff spot at
The Kings (2-3) and Travel Leaders’ Beersheva Black Swarm
(2-4) still have plenty of time to stake their claim to postseason berth, while
the Northern Stars (1-4), Petah Tikva Troopers (0-5) and expansion Rechovot
Silverbacks (0-6) round out the table and will likely jostle back and forth for
bragging rights among the bottom trio as they continue to develop a consistently
Friday’s Rebels-Underdogs duel was so pivotal
because both teams have powerhouses up next on their schedule (Haifa hosts the
Pioneers, while the Rebels visit the Hammers) and the meeting of .500 clubs was
an opportunity for each to solidify its hold in the upper echelon without
inducing too much second- half-of-the-season stress.
The Pioneers came
into Saturday night in Neve Golan looking to try and staunch the flow of the
surging defending champs.
A tense first quarter saw both teams turn the
ball over and neither side reach the endzone in a riveting 0-0 affair that for
once fulfilled the Pioneers’ old “what’s the score?” maxim.
things opened up a bit in the second frame, with Adi Hakami hitting Banning
Fudge for a 17-yard score, and then pumping the ball into Cory Zinker for an 8-0
Sabres advantage. It looked like the Pioneers were about to immediately get that
one back on the ensuing drive, however a Ron Moscona fumble at the TAJ two-yard
line agonizingly gave the ball back to Bourbon Street.
quick threeand- out returned possession to the Pioneers and a 38-yard firstdown
rainbow from Moscona which fell beautifully into the hands of Dvir Arguoan set
up a two-yard plunge into the endzone by Moscona to make it 8- 6 and get the
bipartisan crowd rallied up.
Another three-and-out by the Sabres
straddling the two-minute warning gave the Pioneers a chance to go in front
before the break, however in a nightmare worst-case scenario for them, Fudge
picked off Moscona and bobbed-and-weaved 42 yards to the house for a dagger of a
touchdown that allowed the Sabres to take a 14-6 lead into halftime.
Sabres stormed out of the gates in the second-half as a team possessed, and Cory
Zinker’s 23- yard TD rumble on the first play from scrimmage set the tone for a
tough 24 minutes for the Pioneers in which they were simply forced to bear
witness to a superior effort and performance from an outstanding
This week, the IFL serves up another delicious menu, with the
Hammers and Lions set to duel on Thursday in the capital, followed by an
intriguing Troopers- Silverbacks showdown on Friday and Pioneers-Underdogs clash
on Saturday night up north. The Kings-Northern Stars bout has been rescheduled
for Tuesday, January 22, which is also Election Day in Israel, giving ardent
fans the chance to cast their vote and then come and enjoy some real
hard-hitting action in a realm where politics fortunately take a back
For full Kraft Family IFL standings, stats and schedule, as well as
for more information on pigskin in the Holy Land, please visit
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