Israel Football League.
(photo credit: RICK BLUMSACK,Courtesy)
Lions hold off Rebels, Troopers coast in IFL action The Kraft Family Israel Football League – sponsored by Super Bowl champion New England Patriots’ owner Robert Kraft – had two games this weekend and they were polar opposites.
On Thursday night in a Jerusalem rivalry game, the Jerusalem Lions barely held off the Judean Rebels 36-30 to stay undefeated at 7-0, while on Saturday night, the Petah Tikva Troopers got into cruise control mode early on and handily defeated the Mazkeret Batya Silverbacks 54-6.
The Lions and Rebels engaged in a back-and-forth battle, with quarterbacks David Abell and Chaim Aaron going toe-to-toe in a contest that was tied 22-22 at the break.
At the beginning of the second half, Abell took in a ’keeper for a TD and a 30-22 Lions lead. On the next Jerusalem possession, Abll tossed a 20-yard touchdown pass to Ezzy Jaski and extend the gap to 36-22.
A quick Judean touchdown made it a one-score game, and the Rebels successfully recovered a late onside kick, but Leib Sklar stripped Aaron of the ball and Abell recovered for the Lions, allowing them to escape with the narrow triumph.
Both the Lions and the Rebels (1-5) play the Haifa Underdogs (1-3) next, with the Judeans hosting them this Thursday night, and the Lions entertaining the the Northerners the following Thursday night.
In the other contest, Troopers’ QB Avrami Farkas and allaround star Dani Eastman got their team going early and often in a game that was essentially over by the half, with Petah Tikva exploding out to a 38-0 advantage.
Farkas completed 14-of-25 passes for 204 yards and four touchdowns, while Eastman ran seven times for 131 yards and three scores in the rout.
The Silverbacks (0-7) travel to Beersheba to play their arch-rival Black Swarm (1-4), while and the Troopers (6-1) have a week off before hosting the Ramat Hasharon Hammers (4-2) next week.
In other news, contrary to what had been previously reported, the upcoming trip to Israel by a group of NFL players will not include an exhibition game between the pro stars and the Israel national team.
“Such an idea was never even considered,” said American Football in Israel president Steve Leibowitz. “While the NFL group will be in Jerusalem on Saturday night, February 18, at Kraft Sradium to sign some autographs and interact with Israeli fans, any mistaken notion that they would ever put on pads and play any sort of game was never on the table and is not at all a realistic concept. Perhaps one day, but not yet.”