(photo credit: Renata Rivkin)
It was another jam-packed weekend of action in the Kraft Family IFL with four
compelling contests for Israeli football fans to feast their eyes on as they
ushered in the new year.
A doozy of a double-header in the capital on
Thursday night saw the Big Blue Jerusalem Lions outlast the Papagaio Jerusalem
Kings 30- 24 in an instant-classic derby duel before the Gush Texas Judean
Rebels made it five in a row by dealing the Arthur’s Tel Aviv/Jaffa Sabres their
first defeat of the campaign in a 40-28 high-octane slugfest.
in Yokne’am, the Real Housing Haifa Underdogs came up with some fourth-quarter
magic, overcoming a 10- point deficit to stun the Travel Leaders Beersheva Black
Swarm in a 26-24 thriller that gave the Northerners their first (and only) taste
of victory in 2010, and just in the nick of time.
“I have played in the
IFL on the Underdogs now for three-and-a-half years and this is by far the most
satisfying win I have experienced,” a giddy Shahar Yeshurun exclaimed after his
two-touchdown showing and late heroics propelled the improbable
“Let’s hope this is the start of a great second half as we try
to make a run to the playoffs.”
Indeed, every one of the eight teams in
the league is now in serious postseason contention, with Real Housing (1-5)
sitting just one game back of Leo Bloom’s Herzliya Hammers, who were pummeled
60-22 by the Dancing Camel Tel Aviv Pioneers on Saturday night in Holon to cap
the busy Week 9 slate.
Tel Aviv’s Jarrod Walerstein continued to run
amok, with three more touchdowns and 85 total yards to lead the Pioneers (4-2)
to their fourth straight victory in a turnoverfree performance as QB Chaim
Schiff (2 rushing TDs) stayed unbeaten as a starter.
Meanwhile, after a
comfortable two-month run the Sabres all of a sudden find themselves in a
three-way deadlock at the top of the IFL with the Lions and Rebels – all with
identical 5-1 records – and the red-hot Pioneers breathing down their neck for
first place in the North Division.
On Thursday, the tandem of Alex Swieca
and Joe Martisius was just too much for the reigning-champs to handle as the
Rebels’ dominant duo had a hand in all 40 points for their team, with Swieca
tossing two TDs and running in three and Martisius catching a pair and taking
care of all five two-point converts.
The Lions had quite the time trying
to corral the Kings in the night’s appetizer, needing a last-gasp drive from QB
Itay Ashkenazi in which he connected with Binyamin Schultz for a TD with 23
seconds left to avoid the setback in a game that featured five lead
The Rebels and Pioneers – the two most impressive Week 9 victors
– will have very little time to celebrate before they face off against each
other on Saturday night at Tel Aviv University in the only encounter of the
weekend as the IFL takes some time to catch its collective breath after a wild
four days of pigskin madness.For more information about the IFL and
tackle football in Israel, please visit www.ifl.co.il