Ehud Epstein 311.
(photo credit: Adlai Maschiach)
Another weekend, another dose of pulsating pigskin action, as a pair of inter-divisional battles were waged in the Kraft Family IFL, with the defending Israel Bowl finalists each emerging triumphant to improve to 2-0 on the young season.
On Thursday night in the capital, the Big Blue Jerusalem Lions rode a turnover-free outing to claim a 20-14 victory over the Dancing Camel Tel Aviv Pioneers in a game that looked destined to go right down to the final second until an ill-timed mental mistake by the visitors brought an abrupt end to the drama.
The next day down South, the Travel Leaders Beersheva Black Swarm were
humbled by the Arthurs’ Tel Aviv/Jaffa Sabres in a 34-6 thrashing that
saw the reigning champions reach the endzone in every quarter and hold
the hosts off the scoreboard until the final minute of the match.
Pavel Ezrohi ran in two firstquarter touchdowns and Adi Hakami threw for
another couple of scores to propel the Sabres on the road as Beersheva
was unable to repeat its success from an opening-night conquest of the
Papagaio Jerusalem Kings.
Rookie QB Tal Avivi finished a pedestrian 12-26 for 62 yards and a
consolation TD pass on a day which not much went right offensively for
the Swarm (1-1) , who were simply unable to manufacture ways to move the
chains against an unyielding TA/J defense that gained confidence as the
On Thursday at Kraft Stadium, the Lions got on the board first when kick
returner Ilya Pittel displayed his deceptive speed on a 42-yard punt
return for a touchdown barely two minutes into the contest.
Micha Solomon accounted for both Tel Aviv TDs, the first on a patented
Pioneers disguised handoff to sprint up the sideline 44 yards for six
points, and the second from three yards out that was converted by Kobi
Nimrod to make sure the game was a close six-point affair heading into
the break .
The second half turned into a real defensive standoff, with neither team
budging an inch and no points ultimately being recorded.
The tension kept on rising as the seconds ticked away and, with no
timeouts remaining, the Pioneers had to go into scramble mode. With the
ball on the Big Blue 13 and just 40 seconds left in regulation, everyone
in the crowd was on the edge of their seats.
On third-and-three, Nimrod carried the ball a couple of yards but was
unable to get out of bounds. With the clock running, and erroneously
thinking that Nimrod had picked up the first down, Pioneers veteran QB
Yoni Mayzel made a decision that likely kept him up most of the weekend,
spiking the ball on what was actually fourth-andone for a turnover on
The gaffe gifted the Lions the chance to kneel out the game on one play
and walk away with their second tight home victory out of two games so
far, with things not getting any easier for the three-time finalists,
who visit the Sabres on Saturday night in a marquee matchup that will be
attended by Sport5.
This weekend features the busiest slate in IFL history with all eight team in action.
On Thanksgiving Thursday, in great football tradition, there will be a
doubleheader at Kraft Stadium, with the Judean Rebels (1-1) hosting the
Herzliya Hammers (1-0) to kick things off at 7 p.m., immediately
followed by the Kings (0-2) taking on the Underdogs (0-1).
The Pioneers (0-2) are in Beersheva on Friday, with Big Blue in Tel Aviv
on Saturday night to close out what is sure to be a wild three days
that you won’t want to miss.For more information about the IFL and tackle football in Israel, please visit www.ifl.co.il