A triumphant road weekend in Week 6 IFL action

Keeping in line with a recent trend, Week 6 in the Kraft Family IFL featured one nail-biter and a couple of blowouts.

Tel Aviv/Jaffa Sabres 370 (photo credit: Adlai Maschiach)
Tel Aviv/Jaffa Sabres 370
(photo credit: Adlai Maschiach)
Keeping in line with a recent trend, Week 6 in the Kraft Family IFL featured one nail-biter and a couple of blowouts to go along with three visiting victors as the Big Blue Jerusalem Lions and Bourbon Street TA/Jaffa Sabres pulled away from their opponents while Nemo’s Haifa Underdogs had to fight tooth-and-nail to pull out a thrilling triumph.
The Lions made the trip up North early Friday morning to take on the Northern Stars in rainy but picturesque Kibbutz Ein Hamifratz. Even while missing a number of veterans and starting some of its backups, Big Blue was more than enough for the hosts to handle in coasting to a 48-14 conquest to improve to 3-1 on the season.
The Sabres traveled south for a Saturday- night showdown with Travel Leaders’ Beersheba Black Swarm and put things to bed early, taking a 66-6 advantage into the break and easing up for a 92-8 victory that propelled them to 5-0 on the campaign.
Thursday’s clash in the capital between the Underdogs and ISD Jerusalem Kings, on the other hand, provided all the back-and-forth excitement one could want from a football game, with the Kings surrendering a 14-0 first-quarter lead and ultimately falling to a frustrating 38-34 defeat.
Haifa was led by signal-caller Matt Kaufman, who had a decent 12-21, 126-yard outing through the air, but was simply unstoppable on the ground, powering for 184 yards on 24 carries and all five of his team’s touchdowns.
Staring down an early multi-score deficit didn’t seem to faze Kaufman, who scored late in the first quarter and early in the second to tie the game at 14, before the Jordan Guin restored ISD’s advantage with a 27-yard TD run just before half-time.
The Underdogs wrested the momentum firmly back with a dominating third quarter that saw them outscore Jerusalem 16-0 as Kaufman scoring runs of 13 and 22 yards sandwiched a crucial and crushing Safety tackle by Pini Rozner, who also chipped in with a fumble recovery late in the fourth.
Entering the final stanza trailing 30- 20, the Kings certainly did not fold, although both squads’ defenses stepped up and kept the score stagnant until after the two-minute warning.
Ari Wajsbort snuck into the endzone with just over a minute remaining, with Guin converting to cut the margin to just two points. However, a botched onside kick led to Kaufman’s fifth touchdown of the night, which he converted himself to stretch the scoreline to an all-important two possessions with time whittling away.
Even with Eli Skolnik’s last-gasp score, the Kings just didn’t have enough ticks left of the clock to do much and when Moshe Genon secured the ball on the kickoff, it allowed Travel Leaders to kneel out the ballgame and escape with a tight victory and 3-2 record.
The Lions-Northern Stars’ result certainly was not as close, however Gang Green was more than respectable in defending its home-field. After going down 32-0 in the first two quarters, the Stars were only outscored 16-14 by Big Blue over the second half, albeit with Jerusalem maybe letting up just a wee bit.
Still, the 34-point differential somehow didn’t feel all that much and the second-year franchise from Nahariya seems to be rounding into form, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
Shai Rotbaum led the hosts in a losing cause with 11 tackles and an interception of Chaim Schiff while Dotan Ben David (seven tackles and a sack), Zuriel Gellar (seven tackle and a pass break-up) and Vova Kisin (seven tackle and a fumble recovery) all were buzzing on D.
Nate Ben-Zaquen and Erez Baharav scored TDs for the Northern Stars (1-3), who now enjoy a bye week before visiting the Talpion Judean Rebels in the hope of kicking off a strong second-half surge.
On Friday, Jerusalem welcomed back some returning players, with Jerome Wojtalik and Leib Bolel donning their jerseys and each making trips to the endzone. Schiff, Larry White and Ory Refaelowitz added TDs on offense, while Tim Vetter scored a pair of defensive touchdowns on a pick-6 and fumble recovery.
As well as Big Blue is playing, it still has a ways to go to match the firepower of the Sabres, who seem to find another gear with each passing game.
On Saturday, it was a smothering defense that forced a ridiculous eight interceptions of Chen Doron (five) and Tal Assor (three), with Jonathan Curran hogging five of the picks and taking three back to the house for scores.
Corey Zinker, Jack Randolph and Ryan Michael added INTs of their own, with Michael also taking part in two of TAJ’s four sacks on the night.
Curran added three more touchdowns through receptions from Adi Hakami, who finished with six passing scores on a 10-19, 136 yard performance.
Corey Zinker hauled in one of those TDs, while Brandon McDougald punished his former club with five touchdowns (three rushing, two receiving) and 165 total yards for the game.
Meanwhile, this week in the IFL there are three final games to close out 2012. On Thursday, the Troopers will be ‘hosting’ the Rebels (1-3), although it appears that the game will be taking place at Kraft Stadium with a 9:15 kickoff.
Friday sees the Pioneers (2-0) take on the Silverbacks at 10:30 a.m. in Tel Aviv University while Saturday features the game of the week, with the Hammers (4-0) traveling to play the Underdogs at 8:30 in Atlit.For full Kraft Family IFL standings, stats and schedule, as well as for more information on pigskin in the Holy Land, please visit www.israel-football.co.il http://www.israel-football.co.il