By URIEL STURM
Another week of Kraft Family IFL football, another 182 points scored in what is quickly emerging as an offensive explosion of unprecedented abundance with the 2009/10 season almost a quarter of the way old.
On Friday in the South, the Real Housing Haifa Underdogs made sure the rest of the league didn't forget about them amid the ascension of a number of new-and-improved clubs with a 68-6 trouncing of the injury-ravaged Beersheva Black Swarm.
The next night in Holon, the Mike's Place Tel Aviv Sabres came out of a tensely-fought cage-match against the Judean Rebels with a 66-42 triumph and a 3-0 record to retain their first-place perch atop the standings.
The Rebels, who fell to 1-2 with the loss into a tie for fifth place with the Dancing Camel Modi'in Pioneers, were able to endure a number of key injuries for two and a half quarters and remain in striking distance for a while before it became apparent that they just didn't have the firepower to hang with Tel Aviv on Saturday.
Once again, Tamir Elterman and Alex Trafton spearheaded the Mike's Place attack, but the high-flying running back-quarterback combo received plenty of help from a formidable supporting cast starring Roni Srisuren, Yoni Rubin, Even Reshef and a returning Liran Hovav, among others. For the Rebels, the unbreakable Joe Martisius exhibited his usual guile in throwing for 226 yards and 3 TDs while running for 146 and a couple more, but a lost fumble and three interceptions from the fiery signal caller ultimately was too much for his short-handed team to overcome.
In the weekend opener, with two touchdowns through the air and another six on the ground - plus a fair deal of help from an awful Black Swarm snapping display resulting in four self-induced safeties - Haifa resoundingly bounced back from a loss in its previous outing to jump back into the top-of-table fray while improving to 2-1 on the season.
The meeting between the cross-country rivals took place on the brand-new stunning natural grass playing surface in central Beersheva. Real Housing was even able to absorb three lost fumbles of their own in an otherwise mistake-free performance in which they compiled a franchise-best 427 total net yards (321 rushing) and dominated the time of possession to take sole possession of third place in the standings with the reaffirming and convincing win, even by expansion-opponent standards.
While frustration in beginning to set in among the Beersheva bunch, it would behoove the team to remember that the start of anything special is never easy; indeed, the reigning Israel Bowl champion Dancing Camel Modi'in Pioneers stumbled badly in their inaugural campaign while the current first-placed Mike's Place Tel Aviv Sabres put in two years of atrocity before they found the right recipe for success.
The Kraft Family IFL attention now turns to its pre-holiday week of jam-packed action. Kicking things off is a Thursday night clash in the capital between the Big Blue Jerusalem Lions (2-0) and the Black Swarm (0-4) at 8:30 at Kraft Stadium. The Pioneers host the Underdogs on Friday morning at 10:30, while Saturday night features the highly-anticipated Channuka Bowl bout between the Rebels and Papagaio Jerusalem Kings (1-1) back at Kraft, where a pre-game first-night menorah-lighting ceremony will be held and the beer, latkes and sufganiot will be flowing.
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