Games We Play: Local flag football season opens

For the third straight year, the largest flag football league in Israel boasts about 50 teams.

touch football 298.88 (photo credit: )
touch football 298.88
(photo credit: )
The 2005/06 American Football in Israel season officially got under way as 17 Heritage Affinity AFI league games were played at Kraft Family Stadium in Jerusalem over the weekend. For the third straight year, the largest flag football league in Israel boasts about 50 teams, consisting of hundreds of players from the capital and around the country. Plenty of familiar and unfamiliar faces came out to play or just watch the teams inaugurate AFI's 16th season, which will be the first full season on new Fieldturf installed during a $500,000 renovation in early 2005. New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and his family donated the money to improve Israel's only field designed for American football and attended the re-dedication in February. While the facility has been upgraded, including the new $10,000 Barry Liben luxury box and an expanded grandstand, some teams still need some work. There were only three games decided by seven points or less. The Cobras of Ner Yaacov yeshiva, the reigning national champions, had a bye the first week, but last year's runner-up Tov Pizza (Lyons Capital in 2004/05) and semifinalist Big Blue both recorded wins, with Tov Pizza scoring more points than any other team during Week 1. Fairmont Funding 43, Kesher 6 Fairmont Funding's opener turned into a blowout as receiver David Friedman scored three straight touchdowns in the first half. In the second half, Hillel Ehrich extended Fairmont Funding's lead with three TD receptions. David Schoenblum led the defense with two interceptions, and Eli Myer also had a pick. D & D Marketing 28,Croton Watches 19 D & D Marketing, returning to the field after a heartbreaking loss as Ziontours in last year's quarterfinals, scored early when defensive end Zack "The Bull" Miller intercepted the ball on the first play of the game to put the Kenny Zweibel-led offense into scoring position. Two plays later, rookie Or Redko caught his first of two touchdown passes. Joe Pappagallo added another TD catch and Zweibel ran for one score. On defense, Pappagallo and league veteran Mike Ripstein recorded two sacks each. Other results from Week 1 of the Heritage Affinity AFI league: Amigo US 30, Israel 21C 6; World Class Travel 33, Cafe Rimon 6; The Out-of-Towners 39, Oma's 22; Joe's Eagles 35, Holy Bagel 28; Jump Gym 31, Tivuch Shelly 7; T.C. Farbmans 32, Wizard World 6; Waxman Industries 23, Travaglini 0; Norman's 12, Derech Etz Chaim 6; Ari Bregin 38, Adam Gemal 6; Pizzeria Efrat 38, Cafe Net 0; CardiaCare Rehab 20, Seidemann & Mermelstein 18; Tov Pizza 54, One Hour Cellular 0; Big Blue 19, Uncle Bob's Boys 6; D & D Sugar 32, Ziontours 12; 32, Machon Lev/Canaan Studio 0. This week, the high school boys' league gets under way, while registration will be held for the Women's American Football in Israel league and the Tuesday night co-ed league.