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(photo credit: Jay L. Abramoff/AFI)
Narrow victories for Out-of-Towners, Klein Management
The Out-of-Towners clinched first place in their division by scoring a touchdown on the last play to beat World Class Travel 32-31 in a Heritage Affinity AFI league game on Friday at Kraft Family Stadium in Jerusalem. The Out-of-Towners finished the second round undefeated. Second place - and a spot in the Holyland Bowl playoff bracket - is at stake when Oma's, which beat Amigo US 45-0 on Friday, faces World Class Travel in the final week of the regular season. Oma's needs a win on Friday, while a tie is enough for World Class Travel.
Cleveland Friends and Holy Bagel both won on Friday and have clinched spots in the Holyland Bowl playoff bracket. They will face off in the final week of the regular season to determine the division winner. T.C. Farbmans and Joe's Eagles head to the Terem Bowl playoff bracket.
Misha'an Plumbers clinched first place in its division with a 39-21 win over Jump Gym on Friday. Jump, which finishes in second, will be drawn to face a Saturday night division winner in the first round of playoffs, which begin on Friday, January 27. Waxman Warriors and Norman's face off in the final week of the regular season to determine third and fourth.
Lobos joins Pallorium in the Holyland Bowl playoff bracket after a 42-12 victory over TLC Communications. Pallorium went undefeated in the second round and had a bye this week, while Lobos finished in second. Friday's game between TLC Communications and Mass Mutual will determine third and fourth place.
Klein Management quarterback Uri Chechich, who got engaged the previous evening, led his team to a 26-24 comeback victory over Olive on Friday, while Seidemann & Mermelstein handled Fairmont Funding 38-19. Seidemann & Mermelstein, Klein Management and Olive are still fighting for two Holyland Bowl playoff spots. Fairmont Funding has been eliminated from the race, but can play spoiler if it holds Klein Management to a tie or pulls off an upset win early Saturday night. By the time the Seidemann & Mermelstein vs Olive game kicks off at 10:30 p.m., the teams will know what they have to do in order to clinch a Holyland Bowl playoff spot.
Tov Pizza clinched a spot in the Holyland Bowl playoff bracket with a 12-6 victory over Croton Watches Saturday night. Croton and Pizeria Efrat, which beat Ziontours/Internet Cafe 24-14, are battling for second place.
D & D Sugar beat Yesodei.org 32-13 in a rare Heritage Affinity AFI league game on Wednesday night. Big Blue, which had a bye this week, had already clinched a Holyland Bowl playoff berth, while D & D Sugar, Yesodei.org and Uncle Bob's Boys are all still in contention for second place in the division.
With victories on Saturday night, D & D Marketing and CardiaCare Rehab both clinched Holyland Bowl playoff spots and set up a showdown for first place and a more desirable playoff draw this weekend. Third and fourth place will be decided on Tuesday when Meridian Capital faces Kesher.
The draw for the first round of the playoffs will be held at Kraft Family Stadium on Saturday night following the 10:30 p.m. games.
Also this week in the Heritage Affinity AFI, it was: Holy Bagel 25, T.C. Farbmans 14; Karelitz 25, Wizard World 6; Cleveland Friends 41, Joe's Eagles 7; Boston Friends vs Cobras (DNP); D & D Marketing 25, Meridian Capital 6; METV 24, Derech Etz Chaim 19; CardiaCare Rehab 43, Kesher 25; Sack Exchange 32, Canaan Studio 15; and Silver Hammers 20, One Hour Cellular 14.
Big Blue locks up No. 1 seed in women's league
Showcasing an explosive offensive arsenal and a stingy defense, Big Blue secured the top playoff seed in the Fieldturf Women's American Football in Israel league with a 42-7 thrashing of the previously unbeaten Ziontours Flyers at Kraft Family Stadium in Jerusalem.
With the loss, Ziontours will have to settle for the No. 2 seed. The other six playoff spots are up for grabs with one week remaining in the regular season. The playoffs are set to begin on Wednesday night, January 25, with the championship game scheduled for February 8.
Other scores and highlights from week eight of the Fieldturf WAFI:
Cafe Rimon 19, Jump Gym 6
Despite breaking her finger in the first half, Tova Laufer stayed in the game and managed to catch two touchdown passes. Laufer also recorded two interceptions on defense. Racela Segel added a TD catch for the winning side.
Misha'an Plumbers 25, Cincinnati Friends 6
Plumbers quarterback Meira Harrow, threw three touchdown passes, all to Esti "Baseball" Bernstein. Bernstein also ran back an interception for a score.
Eden's Eagles 39, Pueblo Nuevo Productions 6
Eagles receiver Sara Asher caught three touchdown passes from quarterback Aviva Vogelstein, while Arielle Frankston-Morris added two more TD catches. Frankston-Morris also returned an interception for six points. Eden's Eagles is currently in the eighth and final playoff spot and needs a win over Boston Friends/Havila this week to insure their trip to "the big dance".
Also last week, it was: Diamonds.com 7, Boston Friends/Havila 0.
Fiedlturf WAFI standings after eight weeks (wins/losses/ties): Big Blue (8-0-0); Ziontours (7-1-0); Mishaan Plumbers (5-2-1); Cafe Rimon (5-3-0); Jump Gym (4-4-0); Diamonds.com (3-3-2); Cincinnati Friends (3-4-1); Eden's Eagles (2-6-0); Boston Friends/Havila (1-7-0); Pueblo Nuevo Productions (0-8-0).
Dominators shock Oasis, reach high school semifinals
Despite finishing the regular season with a 1-7 record, and trailing 22-13 late in the second half of their first round playoff game, the scrappy sixth-seeded Dominators got two late scores to upset No. 3 seed Oasis Management 25-22 at Kraft Family Stadium in Jerusalem.
Avi Epstein was the hero, making a shoestring catch in the end zone with time running out. The Dominators will once again be the underdogs when they face the second-seeded Thunderbolts on Tuesday night. The Thunderbolts cruised to a 53-0 shutout of the Bulldogs.
Despite the loss by the Bulldogs and an 0-9 winless season, High School American Football in Israel league commissioner Josh Hasten had only praise for the Bulldogs' efforts. "This team kept its head held high all season long regardless of the losses," he said. "They improved week to week, and there is no doubt that they will be a league powerhouse in the future."
"Team captain Din Baltiansky is the prime example of good sportsmanship," he added.
In the other first-round game, the Chasmo Jaguars came from behind to defeat the Buckeyes, 26-21. The Jags will meet top-seeded Pizza Sababa/Super Deal team in the semifinal round.
Tuesday's semifinals (at Kraft Family Stadium in Jerusalem): 6 p.m. - Thunderbolts vs Dominators; 7 p.m. - Pizza Sababa/Superdeal vs Chashmo Jaguars.
For more information on American Football in Israel, visit www.israelfootball.net, or contact Jay L. Abramoff by e-mail, jay@israelfootball, or at 054-440-2659 (+972-54-440-2659 from outside Israel).