IFL Rebels 311.
(photo credit: Adlai Maschiach)
There was only one Week 10 game in the Kraft Family IFL, and the Gush Texas
Judean Rebels’ 20-16 edging of the Dancing Camel Tel Aviv Pioneers certainly
proved worthy of its exclusive billboard stature.
Yes, there were 13
combined fumbles and eight turnovers between the two teams on a showery Saturday
night at Tel Aviv University – not usually the best ingredients for top-quality
However, the unpredictable, back-and-forth contest between the
pair of tenacious blue-chip clubs kept all those in attendance, and there were
plenty despite the weather, on the edge of their seats until the very end –
exactly the type of game you want to see as a fan.
“This was a supremely
difficult win,” exclaimed a relieved Betzalel Friedman after coaching his Judean
team to a sixth straight victory. “I’ve got to hand it to the
They gave us all we could handle. If it wasn’t for the
incredible play of our D right to the very end, we wouldn’t have pulled it
Indeed, points-wise, the Rebels were held to less than half of
their season average coming in and relied on some timely defensive heroics on
multiple occasions to turn the tide in their favor.
There were simply too
many game-saving plays to list -– whether from Yoni Kranzler, Uria Loberbom,
Gadi Rivkin, Mordy Tryfus, take your pick of Elayyans, virtually the entire
defense came up in the clutch – and it took every last drop of that effort to
hold off the dogged Pioneers, who came in white-hot as winners of four
consecutive by an average of 22.5 points per.
However, even after holding
leads in both the first and last quarters, five untimely turnovers were just too
much for the Pioneers (4-3) to overcome and was the difference in the end of an
encounter that was unbelievably close throughout.
The rain seemed to act
as an equalizer between two tightly matched teams that didn’t really need any
Ultimately, the Rebels scored three touchdowns, while
the Pioneers had two and a safety, with each club converting on one of their
Alex Swieca was particularly sharp considering him having to work
with a wet ball, and he finished 11-20 for 153 yards and a pair of very pretty
touchdowns, to Zach Miller and Kenneth Sharf,
Powerback/tight end Motti Hazan had his first break-out
game with a long fourthquarter gallop for a score in which he broke through at
least five attempted tackles and provided the winning points midway through the
final period, with the hosts unable to rally late.
“We just lost the ball
too much tonight,” quipped disheartened Pioneers’ running back Jarrod
Walerstein. “I fumbled one early and it seemed to set the tone for a night in
which we just kept coming up a bit too short. But we’ll be back, I’m not worried
about this team.”
The IFL looks forward to another busy three-game slate
this weekend with Leo Bloom’s Herzliya Hammers (2-4) hosting the Arthur’s Tel
Aviv/Jaffa Sabres (5-1) on Thursday night, the Big Blue Jerusalem Lions (5-1)
traveling to Yokne’am to face the Real Housing Haifa Underdogs (1-5) on Friday
and the Travel Leaders Beersheva Black Swarm (1-5) hosting the Papagaio
Jerusalem Kings in a South Division duel.