It was a second straight conquest for each of the three victors and all of the games continued a recent pattern of tensely-fought battles being waged throughout the league.
By URIEL STURM
It's not even two-thirds of the way through the regular season and already the action in the Kraft Family IFL is delightfully taking on a playoff-like intensity.A three-game weekend shook up the standings once again as the Mike's Place Tel Aviv Sabres dodged a bullet to remain in first place, while the depth from the capital was showcased in impressive victories by both the Big Blue Jerusalem Lions and Papagaio Jerusalem Kings.It was a second straight conquest for each of the three victors and all of the games continued a recent pattern of tensely-fought battles being waged throughout the league.Each of the contests were within six points or less at some stage of the fourth quarter and the final result in two of them came down to the final possession.Kicking off the festivities in a doubleheader Thursday night under the lights, the Lions rode a pair of four-touchdown performances from returning 2008 MVP Moshe Horowitz and quarterback Itai Ashekenazi to outlast the Judean Rebels 70-48 before the Kings dealt the Real Housing Haifa Underdogs their second straight defeat in a 42-34 nail-biter that wasn't decided until the final minute.On Saturday in Modi'in, a flat and underwhelming Sabres' attack was held for most of the night by an inspired defensive effort by the host Dancing Camel Pioneers, and it took a pair of third-quarter short TD scampers from QB Alex Trafton to bail out Tel Aviv and allow them to escape with a league-first sixth triumph in a 24-18 final.The Lions-Rebels match quickly developed into a cat-and-mouse game, with Big Blue rallying for three straight TDs following a 50-yard weaving TD on the ground from Judea's Joe Martisius for the night's first points.AdvertisementAshkenazi hooked up with Idan Yaron for three more scores, including an acrobatic gem from the star receiver to snatch back a touchdown from a sure interception.Horowitz, in his first action of the season, started slowly but quickly heated up and found the endzone three times in the second half to dash any hopes of a comeback by the never-say-die Rebels.In the nightcap, the Kings jumped out to a 22-0 lead before watching Haifa storm back to tie the game at 34 with 1:09 remaining.However, Jon Rubin's second TD swung it back in the host's direction and a Marshall Mullinax safety on the game's final play iced the victory and brought Papagaio back to .500 at 3-3.This week sees the Rebels (3-4) visit the Beersheva Black Swarm (0-6) for a Friday morning showdown of expansion franchises.For more information and a complete 2009/10 schedule, please visit www.IFL.co.il.
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