(photo credit: Kim Bokeh)
It was a big Week 2 of preseason pigskin in the Kraft Family IFL, with a pair of games that each featured a prized new addition to the Israeli football family.
The Herzliya/Holon Hammer, the latest expansion franchise in the now eightteam local tackle league, kicked off their first game ever on Saturday night in Beersheva and turned more than a few heads with their remarkable 44-44 slugfest with the host Black Swarm, who themselves seemed new-and-improved.
On Friday, in the first IFL contest at the stunning Tel Aviv University sports complex, the Big Blue Jerusalem Lions completed their unbeaten preseason campaign with a 30-14 conquest of the newly relocated Dancing Camel Tel Aviv Pioneers.
Binyamin Schultz and Idan Yaron demonstrated once again that Itay Ashkenazi will have an arsenal of weapons at his disposal on offense, while Matthew Markman’s ferocious defense anchored the unit to a dominating second half, in which the Pioneers were held scoreless.
Still, there was reason for optimism from the Dancing Camel sideline after their opening outing of the year, with Micha Solomon looking like a wildebeest on both sides of the ball and the ultra-respected Shmuel O’Neil making the transition from player to coach.
While the Jerusalem team bus fared much worse than the players, collapsing under the sweltering conditions, thanks to a tremendous effort by both the local and inter-city Egged bus drivers, the Lions made it back to the capital with minutes to spare before Shabbat.
The next night down South, the Hammer – built by David Miller, but
coached and led by Yosi Rabenu, Ady Totah and a cadre of able Israelis –
showed the league what all the summer hype was about with an
outstanding debut performance that almost saw them snag a victory from
However, Swarm QB Tal Assor led a furious 16-point second-half comeback
to send the game into overtime on the last play of regulation.
A crazy fourth quarter and OT saw the teams trade scores before they settled for the draw.
Looking ahead at the IFL schedule, the preseason will continue for
another two weeks, with the regular season opening with a doubleheader
in Jerusalem’s Kraft Stadium on Thursday, November 4.For more information on the Kraft Family Israel Football League, please visit www.IFL.co.il