While the season may still be devoid of upsets, the competition is getting much
tighter in the Kraft Family IFL as teams start gearing up for the playoffs, or
for the chance to play spoilers.
Week 16 featured four fantastic football
showdowns, with the Rebels, Hammers, Lions and Sabres emerging victorious,
although each with their share of drama.
The Petah Tikva Troopers paid a
visit to the Talpion Judeans on Thursday night in the capital, with Ran David
making his debut under center and piloting the expansion club to a more than
respectable showing, even putting a bit of a scare into the defending
When it was all said and done, the Rebels comfortably secured a
57-26 win to improve to 7-2 on the the campaign.
However as late as the
third quarter the outcome was still in question and the Troopers managed to stay
within range until an Eli Boymelgreen kick return TD was followed immediately by
an Uri Mangisto pick-6 to spark the Orangemen to the runaway
Friday’s two-location doubleheader saw Hatikva (3-5) come up with
their first win in exactly two months, dominating the Northern Stars 75-34 in
the early kickoff at Beit Dani.
Ady Totah led the way for the Hammers,
being the only starting QB among the weekend’s eight to avoid turning over the
ball, always a recipe for pigskin success.
Arnold’s Northern Stars (1-8),
as well, had plenty of positives to take away from the loss, with Shaked Mann
tossing for 137 yards and four TDs (as well as one more on the
Roey Ziv hauled in three aerial scores after missing two games
as Gang Green outscored the hosts 26-11 in the second half, albeit after staring
down a 64-8 deficit after two quarters.
Friday’s afternoon extravaganza
back at Kraft Stadium was hyped through the roof, as Itay Ashkenazi, Idan Yaron,
Aryeh Bauman and the Clal Tel Aviv Pioneers were coming to face their old club,
the Big Blue Jerusalem Lions and their former Pio-QB, Chaim Schiff.
Ashkenazi was forced to sit due to a neck injury, backup Asaf Gelber wasn’t the
real reason for the Pioneers’ defensive collapse in a 54-28 stunner that saw the
Lions improve to 9-0 on the campaign and within one victory of the IFL’s first
perfect regular season.
Turnovers played a key role in this one, as they
are wont to do, with Tel Aviv losing four fumbles and throwing two
interceptions, directly leading to four Big Blue touchdowns and preventing the
Pioneers from really making a game of it, despite a valiant fight-back from an
early 22-0 hole.
With the win, the Lions clinched first place in the
South Division and a first-round bye, while the Rebels wrapped up second place
and a first-round playoff date with the No. 3 seed in the North
As it currently stands, it looks like that will be Nemo’s Haifa
Underdogs, who suffered a 44- 20 Saturday-night setback at the hands of the
Bourbon Street Tel Aviv/Jaffa Sabres despite holding a 20-8 advantage late in
After a couple of early fumbles, and some heated words
with the officials, the Sabres found their stride and left the Underdogs in the
dust, but at the start it definitely appeared as if an upset was in the works at
All in all, quiet a busy weekend for the IFL with the playoffs set
to begin in just two weeks.
While the first two seeds in the South and
the third seed in the North seem to be set (although the Hammers could sneak in
with a monumental collapse from the Underdogs (4-4), who face the Northstars and
Troopers to round out their schedule) first place in the North and third place
in the South are still wide-open.
The action continues this weekend, with
the picture to become a bit clearer. Thursday night features a scintillating
double-header, with the ISD Jerusalem Kings (2-6) hosting the Hammers and Lions
and Rebels facing off in a clash that always provides fireworks.
Kings beat the Hammers, then the victor of the Kings-Beersheva Black Swarm
season finale would grab the final postseason slot in the South.
Hammers win this week, the Kings would need to beat the Swarm (3-6) by more than
18 points to avoid Beersheva making their first trip to the dance.
Friday, the Underdogs will travel to play the Troopers (0-9) at Tel Aviv
University in what could turn into a classic trap game unless they come in
On Saturday, the Sabres and Pioneers will duel in what could be a
battle for first-place in the North. In the teams’ first meeting, TAJ won 24-6.
So if the teams finish with the same record then the point-margin in their
head-to-head would determine the division champ.
Any way you look at it,
as the weather begins to warm up, so does the end-of-season action in the Kraft
Family Israel Football League.
Bottom line, IFL Nation, get ready for
some March madness! For more information on the Kraft Family IFL, please visit