Israel Football League: Big Blue ends Sabres' season, gives Kings a shot

The Kraft Family IFL played the last game of its regular season on Friday in the capital, with the Big Blue Jerusalem Lions beating the Mike's Place Tel Aviv Sabres, 38-20, in front of a lively crowd at Kraft Stadium. The 18-point margin of defeat was the most crucial aspect of the game, as the outcome meant that the Sabres' season had come to a very disappointing finish. By the same token, the large margin of victory for Big Blue sent the expansion-Blue Sun Music Jerusalem Kings into the playoffs, an unlikely turn of events taking into account the way Friday's contest appeared to be unfolding. The Lions came into Friday's meeting already having clinched a playoff spot and a first-round matchup against the Real Housing Haifa Underdogs. However, they used the tuneup as much-needed opportunity to work out some kinks in their offense, specifically their passing attack. Big Blue got on the board first, midway through the opening quarter on a touchdown run by quarterback Aryeh Bauman. Bauman completed six passes on the opening scoring drive alone and continued his string of impressive performances to lead his team to victory. He also added another TD run and iced the Sabres' fate with a scoring strike to Amichai Bergman on the final play of the day. The Kings and Sabres both finished their seasons with 1-7 records and it was left up to the IFL tie-breaker system to determine which club would grab the final postseason spot. Had Tel Aviv held on and lost by less than 12, they would have gone on to face the top-seeded Dancing Camel Modi'in Pioneers in the first round. The Kings' players were anxiously on hand, rooting on their cross-city rival Lions to a blowout victory to keep their inaugural season going. It didn't look bright for Blue Sun Music, with Big Blue and Mike's Place trading scores and Jerusalem clinging to exactly a 12-point lead with Tel Aviv deep in scoring territory. However an ill-timed fumble by the Sabres gave Big Blue one last chance and set up Bauman's last-second theatrics. The IFL playoffs get under way next weekend as the Lions face the Underdogs and the Pioneers host the Kings.