With the playoffs quickly approaching, the action in the Kraft Family IFL is crescendoing to a boiling point.
By URIEL STURM
With the playoffs quickly approaching, the action in the Kraft Family IFL is crescendoing to a boiling point. A pair of weekend contests tightened things up in the middle of the standings while creating some separation at the top.On Thursday night in the capital, the Papagaio Jerusalem Kings came out on top of an riveting derby with the Big Blue Jerusalem Lions, notching their first-ever victory over their cross-city rivals in a 26-20 thriller that was not decided until the final play.On Saturday in Holon, the Mike’s Place Tel Aviv lambasted the Real Housing Haifa 76-40 in a true slugfest, becoming the second straight Underdogs’ opponent to set the IFL single-game scoring mark.While the Sabres, who improved to 8-1 with the triumph, lost starting QB Alex Trafton for the season with a broken wrist, backup Adi Hakami dazzled in relief.The 24-year-old multi-talent, one of just five players remaining from the initial Tel Aviv squad three years ago, finished 24-35 for 267 yards through the air. In addition, he threw five TD passes - three to his old favorite, Liran Hovav - and scored two more himself as he demonstrated that even without Trafton, the Sabres aerial game is in able hands.The Sabres set a record by unbelievably scoring on their first 11 drives of the night to decimate a Real Housing club which hasn’t won in more than two months. Once sitting at 4-1, the hapless Underdogs have now dropped five straight and finished the regular season at 4-6, with absolutely zero momentum heading into a likely first-round matchup with the Kings.Papagaio was buoyed by a phenomenal defensive outing by usual offensive force Jon Rubin, whose crushing tackles are still reverberating through the bodies of the Big Blue ballcarriers three days later.The Kings were able to force four turnovers from a Lions’ squadwhich clearly had an off-night in dropping its second of the season andfalling off the pace with the Sabres in the first-place race.Thisweek sees a pair of Purim games in the IFL, with the Dancing CamelModi’in Pioneers visiting Big Blue on Friday at noon in Kraft Stadiumand the Sabres hosting the winless Beersheva Black Swarm on Saturday at8:30 p.m. For more information and a complete 2009/10 schedule, please visit www.IFL.co.il
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