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This time, the Real Housing Haifa Underdogs scored in the first half and they scored in the second half. By the time they were done, their opponent was like a punch-drunk boxer, dazedly pirouetting around and ruled down by TKO.
On Friday, in Yokne'am, the Underdogs beat up on the Blue Sun Music Jerusalem Kings 62-14 to set the Kraft Family IFL team single-game scoring mark and keep their perfect record intact heading into a one-month hiatus to gear up for the end of season and playoffs.
Itai Ashkenazi threw for four scores, Lior Subotnik ran for four more, and Arbel Rom and Shachar Yeshurun each had a pair of touchdowns to lead the high-flying Haifa attack, one which the visiting Jerusalem squad would have, at one point this year, enjoyed participating in toe-for-toe.
The victory brings the top-of-table Underdogs to 6-0 while the loss sends the Kings to 1-5, keeping them in fourth-place in the five-team league. Unless Real Housing loses its remaining two regular-season games, to the Big Blue Jerusalem Lions on the road and at home to the 5-1 Dancing Camel Modi'in Pioneers, it will clinch first-place and the number one seed in the postseason.
The Kings (1-5) have now lost four straight games and their early-season point-scoring extravaganzas almost seem like a distant memory. The team has a lot of improvements to make if it is to right the ship in time for some playoff success, especially considering that its most likely first-round foe is the same Haifa squad that knocked the players from the capital around the field on Friday.
The Underdogs never really gave the Kings a chance in this one, though, dominating almost every aspect of the game from the get-go. A botched Jerusalem punt attempt gave Haifa great field position on its first drive and Ashkenazi would not disappoint, reading a Yeshurun defensive mismatch and calling an audible at the line of scrimmage to get his number one target the ball. The tall receiver pulled down an acrobatic 11-yard TD grab over his diminutive defender after his quarterback gave him the perfect opportunity to make a play.
A quick Blue Sun three-and-out gave Haifa the ball back at midfield and Subotnik would waste no time, dashing 31 yards into the house on the first play of the drive for a 13-0 lead. With two or three running backs sidelined with injuries, the man they call Clark would more than shoulder the running load in this game for the Underdogs. Relishing the opportunity to break out with a steady dose of handoffs, the powerful back pummeled the Kings' defense for 164 yards on 19 attempts (8.6 yards per carry) to go along with his four TDs.
He ran for scores of 31, 43, 6 and 40 yards on Friday, three of coming on the first plays of a Haifa possession, essentially acting as one-man wrecking ball. He now has touchdowns in all but one of Haifa's wins, with a league-leading nine on the year, and for this week, his superman-like effort earned him Mike's Place player of the game honors.
The Underdogs have now scored the most points in the league, with 224, and have allowed the fewest, with two shutouts and just 94 points scored against them. While the Pioneers are just one game back in the loss column, Haifa beat Modi'in in the first game of the season and will, as mentioned above, need to lose to Dancing Camel in their last game to relinquish the top spot heading to the playoffs.
The IFL returns next Saturday night in Kiryat Shalom when the Mike's Place Tel Aviv Sabres host the Pioneers in their second home game at the Maccabi Soccer Complex.
It should be an exciting matchup as the Sabres look to build on their dominant second-half of their last game and record their first victory, while Modi'in attempts to extend its winning streak to six and stay on pace with first-place Haifa. Kickoff will take place at 8:30 p.m. to give both players and fans ample time to get to the field after Shabbat.
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