Israeli Football: Kings' Express rolls over shell-shocked Sabres

The stars were aligned once more in J'lem Thursday night as the expansion-Blue Sun Music Jerusalem Kings continued their offensive onslaught.

american football 298.88 (photo credit: Jay Abramoff)
american football 298.88
(photo credit: Jay Abramoff)
I've heard of the West Coast offense, but this new Middle-East Coast offense is simply rewriting every chapter in the (play)book! The stars were aligned once more in Jerusalem on Thursday night as the expansion-Blue Sun Music Jerusalem Kings continued their offensive onslaught through the Israeli football jungle with a 56-34 rout of the Mike's Place Tel Aviv Sabres in Kraft Family IFL action. Riding yet another astounding performance from quarterback Joseph Marticius, the Kings (1-1) needed less than three minutes of possession time and just six offensive plays in the third quarter to turn what had been a 22-8 contest coming out of halftime into a 56-28 laugher going into the final frame. Outscoring an opponent 34-20 isn't such a rare occurrence in football…doing so in a half is quite a bit less common…doing so in a single quarter - well, that's about as likely as looking up and seeing a blue sun shining in the sky…go figure! Whoever said that the best offense is a good defense certainly missed the boat with this one. With the defensive units of both teams seemingly deciding to take a joint vacation, the scoring specialists had a field day, going back to the house so many times that you almost had to wonder what they were selling in there. When it was all said and done, while the Sabres (0-3) didn't have their best outing to date, they still managed 34 points and 284 yards of total offense and maybe deserved a slightly better fate heading into their month-long mid-season hiatus. Quarterback Roi Yair, who had been relegated to a backup role in recent weeks, flourished after coming on for an ineffective Tamir Elterman in the second half. Yair finshed 13-24 for 132 yards and two scoring passes and was able to distribute the ball between his playmakers well over a number of solid drives, even if the game was already out of hand. Another bright spot for the Sabres in the loss was all-purpose back Craig Rothman, who had 120 yards from scrimmage and a pair of touchdowns, as well as a number of bone-crunching tackles on the other side of the ball. Tel Aviv also dominated the total time of possession, 28:09 to 15:33, tallying ten first downs to Jerusalem's four and turning the ball over only once. The story of the game once again, however, was the ease with which the Kings were able to run their prodigious attack through Marticius. The wiry signal-caller continues to demonstrate that he is a threat to either run or pass for a touchdown on literally every single play, from any spot on the field. He opened the floodgates with a 36-yard scramble for a TD and added another one on the ground, a 16-yarder just before the break. Mixed in were five more passing scores, three to favorite target Chaim Gross and one apiece to Ariel Back and Joshua Rubin, who was in the lineup as a player in addition to his usual coaching duties. All said, Marticius was 12-21 for 196 yards with no picks and seven total touchdowns on his way to being honored as the Mike's Place player of the game. He has guided his team to final scores of 52, 42, and now 56 in the past three matches and has exhibited very few weaknesses in his game. Future opponents beware! Many of the other Kings' players also had superb outings on Thursday night in the team's first ever regular season victory, in just its second game. Gross finished with five catches for 115 yards and the three TDs plus a conversion and Back, a captain of the team, totaled 81 yards and added a touchdown of his own. On defense, Jonathan Hessen was all over the field and his eight solo tackles don't tell the full story of his impact. Also, on special teams, Viktor Bank had perhaps the most peculiar play of the game when he picked up a live ball in the endzone that the Sabres' players had mistakenly thought was an automatic touchback. The ever-alert Bank was rewarded for his efforts and good instinct with his first touchdown of the season and a play that will forever be remembered by his teammates. While the Kings may be riding high this weekend, the road ahead doesn't get any easier for the first-year club and the players don't have much time to bask in the important win. The team from Jerusalem hosts the first-place Real Housing Haifa Underdogs (2-0) next Friday, December 26 in the IFL second annual Chanukah Bowl. Kickoff will be at noon at Kraft Family Stadium.