Troopers, Rebels pull out tight victories in IFL

Picture of IFL team with ex-NFL quarterback Jay Fieder (photo credit: IFL/COURTESY)
Picture of IFL team with ex-NFL quarterback Jay Fieder
(photo credit: IFL/COURTESY)
The Kraft Family Israel Football League featured a pair of very close games over the second weekend of the season. On Thursday night, the Petah Tikva Troopers overcame an early hole in a game in which they were completely outplayed (other than on the scoreboard), and beat the Haifa Underdogs 12-9. On Saturday night, the Judean Rebels cruised to a 32-8 halftime lead over the Beersheba Black Swarm before barely holding on to win 32-28.
In a strange Thursday night contest in Petah Tikva, Haifa thoroughly dominated the game, but a few big plays by the Troopers and missed opportunities by the Underdogs gave the home team the victory.
With a number of interceptions on both sides leading to a 6-2 half-time lead in favor of the Troopers, the Underdogs went on a long drive to start the third quarter, culminating in a TD pass from Ron Dafni to Matan Fourier for a 9-6 Underdogs’ advantage.
Avrami Farkas connected with Jesse Hartman for their second TD of the game to provide the winning points.
The game had a surprise guest, as former Miami Dolphins quarterback Jay Fiedler, possibly the best Jewish quarterback ever to play in the NFL, showed up during the third quarter for an Israeli helping of Thanksgiving football. After the game addressed the teams and wished them luck on their seasons.
The Underdogs travel next week to the capital to face the Jerusalem Lions, while the Troopers travel south to Beersheba the following weekend.
On Saturday, The Judeans took a convincing 32-8 lead with touchdowns from QB Chaim Aaron, Daniel Yerushalmi, Ikey Bodner and Omree Gottlieb, to go along with a safety, before Beersheba bounced back.
Second-half scores from Ronen Knobel and a pair from Ronnie Hayes (who had three TDs on the night) brought the Black Swarm to within four points with six minutes to play.
However, the Rebels’ pass defense, which had been abused throughout the second half, held fast as Rafi Friedman picked off Matanel Katz’s desperation heave and the guests held on.
The Rebels host the Mazkeret Batya Silverbacks this Thursday at the Kraft Family Sports Campus in Jerusalem, and the Black Swarm travel to Beit Dani in Tel Aviv to take on the Pioneers on Saturday night.