THE JUDEAN REBELS rallied to beat Tel Aviv/Jaffa Sabres 370.
(photo credit: Adlai Maschiach)
A mouthwatering semifinal weekend in the Kraft Family IFL served up a pair of
vastly different dishes, with the first course delivering a back-andforth
bonanza that went right down to the wire while the second was a high-flying
smackdown showcasing a still-undefeated powerhouse popping Cinderella’s
While the Talpion Judean Rebels pulled off quite the
upset to oust the Clal Tel Aviv Pioneers in a gripping 38-34 squeaker, the
top-seeded Bourbon Street Tel Jaffa/Jaffa Sabres kept the pedal to the metal in
their showdown with the ISD Jerusalem Kings, cruising to a 60-6 conquest and
setting up a rematch of a Israel Bowl IV, which the Rebels won two years ago to
claim their one and only title.
The Sabres, on the other hand, will come
into Friday’s championship seeking their second crown in a row, and what would
be a third in four seasons. If they keep up their current form, all 10 IFL teams
combined would have trouble beating them.
On Saturday at Tel Aviv
University, Jonathan Curran stole the show, catching three of Adi Hakami’s four
touchdown passes and taking back a partially-blocked punt to the house for
another score and snagging two interceptions to go along with eight tackles and
a pass break-up.
While the Kings came in riding an impressive three-game
winning streak, even the little-engine-that-could was no match for Mount
The first of Brandon McDougald’s two TDs on the night put the
Sabres up 16-0 before the end of the first quarter while Curran scored his four
TDs over the second and third quarters to stake the Redshirts to a 54-0 margin
Looking for the first playoff shutout in IFL history, the
Sabres maintained their intensity, and Corey Zinker rumbled into the endzone for
a 19-yard score and 60-0 lead with under five minutes remaining.
Kings were able to record a minor victory, as Eli Skolnik perfectly led Paul
Guerrero on a 22-yard rainbow that closed out the scoring and broke-up the
shutout bid with under two minutes on the clock. However, the result of this one
was determined well before the final whistle, as has been the case in virtually
all of the Sabres’ 11 straight wins this year.
Still, their season a
resounding success, the Kings players and coaches head into the offseason with
heads held up high and already looking forward to the start of training camp in
just a few short months.
The same could not be said of the Pioneers’
reaction to their season-ending defeat to the Rebels.
Played in the
scorching midday heat at TAU – where the Pioneers had been undefeated on the
campaign – Friday’s first semifinal kept up the trend of the first-round of
playoff games, with the drama and end-to-end excitement ratcheted up to the
Having soundly beaten the Rebels on the same field less than a month
earlier, Clal must have come in feeling confident of earning a
second-consecutive trip to the Israel Bowl, after last year’s near-miss against
the Sabres in the title-game.
Dani Eastman – who finished 13-23 for 131
yards and three TDs passing to go along with 133 yards and two scores on the
ground in 25 carries – had the ball in his hands to make a play on all but four
of the Rebels’ plays from scrimmage. And the 18- year-old wunderkind was
certainly up to the task.
After going into the half down 20- 14, the
Rebels got the ball to start the third quarter, and Eastman led the Orangemen
down the field, ultimately finding little-used weapon Shai Brill for a 17-yard
score and the Judeans’ first lead of the night, 22-20, after the successful
The ping-pong game continued, with Ron Moscona replanting the
Pioneers in front with his second score of the game, before Eastman dashed into
the endzone on the final play of the third quarter and hit Doni Foreman on the
back chalk-line to put the Rebels up by four heading into the final 12
Josh Henry would make sure the Pios wouldn’t go down without a
fight, and his third seven-yard TD of the game put Clal back in the driver’s
seat, up 34-30 with 10 minutes to go.
That was way too much time to give
Eastman, however, and his sixyard scoring scamper and ensuing strike to Kine
gave the Rebels the 38- 34 lead they would somehow hold onto over the final six
minutes to escape with the gratifying triumph.
And so, the Sabres and
Rebels will once again duel in the sixth edition of the Kraft Family IFL Israel
The Sabres may be 11-0 and Rebels 7-5, but all that gets thrown out
the window when the teams take the field.
The game will be televised live
by ONE in Israel and on tape delay by JLTV across 30-million homes in the US. It
will also be broadcast online via radio at www.isn.co.il Israel Bowl VI is
shaping up to be the biggest football event this country has ever seen. If the
action on the field matches the hype surrounding the contest, we could be in an
explosive Friday afternoon at Kraft Stadium.
Can the Sabres seal their
supremacy? Do the Rebels and their young star have one more miracle left in the
tank? Only four more days and one more match until all the answers are clear. It
seems like a easy call, but of course, that’s why they play the
For full Kraft Family IFL standings, stats and schedule, as well
as for more information on pigskin in the Holy Land, please visit