Hammers outduel Underdogs, secure final berth

Here come the playoffs: Rebels, Lions grab convincing wins.

February 24, 2011 07:20
3 minute read.

IFL PLAYOFFS 58. (photo credit: Kim Bokeh)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

The Kraft Family IFL regular season closed with a cross-country tripleheader over the weekend as six of the eight teams were in action, trying to get in their last knocks before the impending playoffs.

On Thursday night in Kfar Tavor, Leo Bloom’s Herzliya Hammers completed an improbable expansion journey into the postseason with a dramatic 22-16 victory over the Real Housing Haifa Underdogs.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.

In the only meaningful affair of Week 16, the Hammers traveled up North knowing that anything but a loss by six points or more would send them to the dance. Nevertheless, things got tense for the visitors, who trailed 8-0 at the half and 16-8 at the start of the fourth quarter.

However, late touchdowns from Roy Rubinstein and Shabby Shavit were enough to overturn the deficit and propel the first-year franchise into the playoffs, where they will visit the Dancing Camel Tel Aviv Pioneers this Friday in the North Division wild-card.

“No matter what happens from here on out, this is definitely a successful season in my book,” said Herzliya coach Yossi Rabenu as he watched his team celebrate on the field after the contest.

“Anything else is icing on the cake, but you never know, bigger surprises have happened in sports.”

Indeed, Friday afternoon almost saw such an upset as the Papagaio Jerusalem Kings gave the heavily favored Judean Rebels a run for their money before humbly falling in a 74-34 fourth-quarter run-away to conclude their campaign.

At one point, the Kings were rallying for the lead in the final frame, with a golden first-and-goal opportunity and the Rebels nursing a slim six-point advantage. In the game’s turning point, however, Jason Hess picked off Papagaio QB Eli Skolnik and took it back 60 yards to turn a potential Kings’ lead into a 14- point Rebels margin, and from there it was all over.

Alex Swieca strengthened his MVP bid with six TD tosses and 179 yards through the air in an 11-21 passing performance for Gush Texas in the victory.

The next evening down South, his transcendent effort was matched by Itay Ashenazi, who led his Big Blue Jerusalem Lions to a 66-26 pounding of the Travel Leaders Beersheva Black Swarm.

Ashkenazi continued to light up opposing defenses with surgical precision, throwing for 218 yards and six touchdowns and only missing on five attempts all night long.

All in all, the Big Blue offense was certainly clicking on all cylinders against the Swarm, in its only full-throttle game action in more than a month before they host a semifinal in two weeks’ time.

On Saturday, Idan Yaron nabbed four scores, while Or Jupiter, Binyamin Schultz and Dani Schachter were also beneficiaries of their signal caller’s sixpoint gifts. Matan Lavi ran in another two scores as the Lions finished the season with the league’s best record at 9-1.

Brandon McDougald was one of Beersheva’s only bright spots, scoring three of the team’s four TDs, and he will be counted on heavily this Thursday when Travel Leaders travels to the capital to take on the Rebels in the South Division wild-card clash, with the winner earning a date with the Lions.

With the Kings and Underdogs left out of the playoffs, the Lions and Tel Aviv/Jaffa Sabres are the only two other teams not in action this weekend. As first-place finishers in their respective divisions, both defending Israel Bowl participants earned a first-round bye, which they will use to get back to full health before hosting do-or-die games for a trip to the finals.

Related Content

dudi sela
August 31, 2014
Sela steamrolled by Dimitrov