Keeping in line with a recent trend, Week 6 in the Kraft Family IFL featured one
nail-biter and a couple of blowouts to go along with three visiting victors as
the Big Blue Jerusalem Lions and Bourbon Street TA/Jaffa Sabres pulled away from
their opponents while Nemo’s Haifa Underdogs had to fight tooth-and-nail to pull
out a thrilling triumph.
The Lions made the trip up North early Friday
morning to take on the Northern Stars in rainy but picturesque Kibbutz Ein
Hamifratz. Even while missing a number of veterans and starting some of its
backups, Big Blue was more than enough for the hosts to handle in coasting to a
48-14 conquest to improve to 3-1 on the season.
The Sabres traveled south
for a Saturday- night showdown with Travel Leaders’ Beersheba Black Swarm and
put things to bed early, taking a 66-6 advantage into the break and easing up
for a 92-8 victory that propelled them to 5-0 on the campaign.
clash in the capital between the Underdogs and ISD Jerusalem Kings, on the other
hand, provided all the back-and-forth excitement one could want from a football
game, with the Kings surrendering a 14-0 first-quarter lead and ultimately
falling to a frustrating 38-34 defeat.
Haifa was led by signal-caller
Matt Kaufman, who had a decent 12-21, 126-yard outing through the air, but was
simply unstoppable on the ground, powering for 184 yards on 24 carries and all
five of his team’s touchdowns.
Staring down an early multi-score deficit
didn’t seem to faze Kaufman, who scored late in the first quarter and early in
the second to tie the game at 14, before the Jordan Guin restored ISD’s
advantage with a 27-yard TD run just before half-time.
wrested the momentum firmly back with a dominating third quarter that saw them
outscore Jerusalem 16-0 as Kaufman scoring runs of 13 and 22 yards sandwiched a
crucial and crushing Safety tackle by Pini Rozner, who also chipped in with a
fumble recovery late in the fourth.
Entering the final stanza trailing
30- 20, the Kings certainly did not fold, although both squads’ defenses stepped
up and kept the score stagnant until after the two-minute warning.
Wajsbort snuck into the endzone with just over a minute remaining, with Guin
converting to cut the margin to just two points. However, a botched onside kick
led to Kaufman’s fifth touchdown of the night, which he converted himself to
stretch the scoreline to an all-important two possessions with time whittling
Even with Eli Skolnik’s last-gasp score, the Kings just didn’t have
enough ticks left of the clock to do much and when Moshe Genon secured the ball
on the kickoff, it allowed Travel Leaders to kneel out the ballgame and escape
with a tight victory and 3-2 record.
The Lions-Northern Stars’ result
certainly was not as close, however Gang Green was more than respectable in
defending its home-field. After going down 32-0 in the first two quarters, the
Stars were only outscored 16-14 by Big Blue over the second half, albeit with
Jerusalem maybe letting up just a wee bit.
Still, the 34-point
differential somehow didn’t feel all that much and the second-year franchise
from Nahariya seems to be rounding into form, especially on the defensive side
of the ball.
Shai Rotbaum led the hosts in a losing cause with 11 tackles
and an interception of Chaim Schiff while Dotan Ben David (seven tackles and a
sack), Zuriel Gellar (seven tackle and a pass break-up) and Vova Kisin (seven
tackle and a fumble recovery) all were buzzing on D.
Nate Ben-Zaquen and
Erez Baharav scored TDs for the Northern Stars (1-3), who now enjoy a bye week
before visiting the Talpion Judean Rebels in the hope of kicking off a strong
On Friday, Jerusalem welcomed back some returning
players, with Jerome Wojtalik and Leib Bolel donning their jerseys and each
making trips to the endzone. Schiff, Larry White and Ory Refaelowitz added TDs
on offense, while Tim Vetter scored a pair of defensive touchdowns on a pick-6
and fumble recovery.
As well as Big Blue is playing, it still has a ways
to go to match the firepower of the Sabres, who seem to find another gear with
each passing game.
On Saturday, it was a smothering defense that forced a
ridiculous eight interceptions of Chen Doron (five) and Tal Assor (three), with
Jonathan Curran hogging five of the picks and taking three back to the house for
Corey Zinker, Jack Randolph and Ryan Michael added INTs of their
own, with Michael also taking part in two of TAJ’s four sacks on the
Curran added three more touchdowns through receptions from Adi
Hakami, who finished with six passing scores on a 10-19, 136 yard
Corey Zinker hauled in one of those TDs, while Brandon
McDougald punished his former club with five touchdowns (three rushing, two
receiving) and 165 total yards for the game.
Meanwhile, this week in the
IFL there are three final games to close out 2012. On Thursday, the Troopers
will be ‘hosting’ the Rebels (1-3), although it appears that the game will be
taking place at Kraft Stadium with a 9:15 kickoff.
Friday sees the
Pioneers (2-0) take on the Silverbacks at 10:30 a.m. in Tel Aviv University
while Saturday features the game of the week, with the Hammers (4-0) traveling
to play the Underdogs at 8:30 in Atlit.
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