THE JUDEAN REBELS vs Judean Rebels 311.
(photo credit: Adlai Mashiach)
The Kraft Family IFL preseason came to a close over the weekend with a pair of
highly entertaining affairs that gave fans a glimpse of some intriguing new
storylines for the 2010/11 local tackle football campaign.
night in the capital, the Papagaio Jerusalem Kings edged the Real Housing Haifa
Underdogs 21-19 in perhaps the first game in league history to be decided by the
feet of the kickers.
Hammer hit the ground running with 44-44 tie
Kings rookie David Brummer booted an extra point as
well as twin 24-yard field goals to account for seven of his team’s points and
help boost Purple Pride to a tight triumph in its lone preseason
On Saturday, under the lights in Holon, the reigning champion
Arthur’s Tel Aviv Sabres stumbled to a second straight defeat, this time at the
hands of the Judean Rebels by a final tally of 46-26.
Rebel of them all, Jon Millar, was held to “just” 84 return yards, but still
managed to get into the end-zone three times from scrimmage which, combined with
Alex Swieca’s two aerial TDs, propelled the Orangemen to a second preseason
Still, both teams were well aware of how much, or little, the
outcome of these practice encounters will ultimately mean.
“We are not
2-0, but 0-0,” remarked Rebels’ rookie head coach Betzalel Friedman, trying to
temper his players’ jubilance after Saturday’s game. “I’m not going to lie and
say it doesn’t feel nice to get started on the right foot, but we still have
plenty of work to do if we want to contend for a title, which is our real
The Sabres, too, treated the evening as not much more than a
glorified practice, rotating in their army of players to assess the strengths
and weaknesses of the squad before they have to go to battle for
Adi Hakami and Adam Zenou split time under center, while Sol
Rojhani powered the offense with 98 all-purpose yards and two TDs. Even IFL
reigning-MVP Jon Rubin made a cameo appearance in his Tel Aviv debut, picking up
a two-point conversion on three carries in the shootout loss.
Kings-Underdogs showdown was much more of a defensive stand-off, with both teams
still auditioning players at various positions.
Papagaio shared the
ball-carrying duties between a trio of able multi-backs, with Brummer, Ari
Wasjbort and Jacob Tanenbaum each picking up almost 50 yards on the ground and
combining for all 21 of the team’s points. (Albeit, in dissimilar fashions, with
Brummer’s seven from two FGs and an extra point, Tanenbaum’s eight on a 13-yard
run and two-point convert and Wasjbort’s six on a 24-yard TD reception.) If
there’s one thing to say in the aftermath of the first three weeks back on the
field, it’s that all six preseason games were surprisingly competitive and of a
relatively high caliber, which bodes extremely well for the fourth year of
tackle football in Israel, especially with the brand new IFL High high-school
league set to kick off next month.
Now, after a week off for the teams to
regroup, the regular season will get under way with a double header extravaganza
in the capital on Thursday, November 4. The Big Blue Jerusalem Lions and the
Rebels – both 2-0 in the preseason – will clash in the evening’s opening contest
at Kraft Family Stadium (kickoff 7 p.m.), immediately followed by the Kings
hosting the Beersheva Black Swarm in the nightcap.For more information
on the IFL, including a full season schedule, please visit www.IFL.co.il