Tackle Football: It's playoffs, baby, playoffs!

Now, we have a new season - the postseason. It's a single elimination tournament in which all teams are both equally optimistic and desperate.

March 13, 2008 02:22
2 minute read.
football feat 88 224

football feat 88 224. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

This Saturday at noon in Kibbutz Ein Hashofet near Haifa, the Fieldturf IFL kicks off its postseason festivities with an exciting battle between the Real Housing Haifa Underdogs and the Dancing Camel Hasharon Pioneers. The rematch between the second and third seeded clubs comes exactly two weeks after they collided in Haifa in what was a brutally physical game won in lopsided fashion by Real Housing 53-7, who took the season series with Hasharon 2-1. All of that, though, is in the rear view mirror. Now, we have a new season - the postseason. It's a single elimination tournament in which all teams are both equally optimistic and desperate. The regular season was basically just an audition for the playoffs, and now it's SHOWTIME. This is what really counts. Haifa (6-3) comes into this game having yet to lose at home this year, with a perfect 5-0 record. Winning on the road in the playoffs is never easy, but the task for Hasharon (3-6) will be even more intimidating facing a team that has successfully defended its home turf every game throughout the season. While the Underdogs may a huge home-field advantage, the key to this game is going to be how well they protect the ball and minimize their mistakes and penalties. Turnovers, as always, will almost certainly be a factor upon which the match hinges. The team that best guards the ball - and makes the fewest critical errors - figures to come out on top, and the Pioneers definitely have the firepower to pounce if the opportunity presents itself with an untimely Haifa interception or fumble. Offensively, Haifa often likes to throw the football at the outset to get leads, and then pound opponents on the ground to put them away. While neither Niv Medlinger nor Leor Subotnik is an especially speedy runner, both ARE powerful, able to break arm tackles, and adept at cutting back against the flow of defensive pursuit. As well, quarterback Ori Shterenbach has developed well at executing screens and draws, and has an uncanny knack for finding the 'hot' receiver when he encounters the blitz. Expect a number of short toss-and-runs to both Idan Maor and Shachar Yeshurun early on for long gains. The Underdogs are playing the best football of their season right now and appear destined for a major clash with Big Blue Jerusalem in the IFL Championship in two weeks at Kraft. They have scored 127 more points than the Pioneers this season and have given up 94 points less than their first-round opponent overall. Add it all up by the numbers and the situation doesn't seem to bode well for the Hasharon squad. But that's why we play the games, baby, that's why we play the games!

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