Lions double-up Kings in Jerusalem derby

The IFL gets right back to the gridiron this week with a packed four-game slate for fans around the nation.

IFL  370 (photo credit: IFL)
IFL 370
(photo credit: IFL)
Week 12 in the Kraft Family IFL featured a pair of intriguing match-ups, both providing moments of suspense but ultimately resulting in ‘host’ victories that shuffled the standings slightly as the regular season hits the home stretch.
On Thursday night in the capital, the Lions and Kings met in an always-exciting Jerusalem derby, with the Lions riding a 4- touchdown performance from Matan Lavi to coast to a 40-20 conquest that solidified their spot in fourth place and likely secured a playoff bid for Big Blue while putting the Kings squarely in the midst of the pack.
Saturday saw the Petah Tikva Troopers notch their second victory of the season, returning to the scene of their first triumph in Ramle to knock off the Northern Stars 38-28 in a clash of secondyear franchises.
Chris Daves lifted the Troopers with a pair of pick-sixes to go along with another two rushing touchdowns while Eli Mansdorf took another interception back to the house to pace the D to a record seven sacks as the Northern Stars let a valiant effort go to waste due to a few too many costly mistakes.
When it was all said and done, the Troopers escaped with a 10- point win to improve to 2-6 while the Stars fell back to 1-6, with games left against the Hasharon Hammers, Beersheba Black Swarm and neighbor Haifa Underdogs. Petah Tikva, meanwhile, has road games at the Underdogs and Lions remaining on its schedule, and still holds out hope to win out and sneak into the playoffs with a 4-6 record.
That may be a more reasonable expectation for the Kings, who fell to 3-4 on the campaign with their loss to Big Blue, with a pair of crucial games coming up over the next two weeks, at home against the Clal Tel Aviv Pioneers this Thursday and at the Rehovot Silverbacks next Friday.
The Lions improved to 5-2 with the victory, although they still have the Judean Rebels, Troopers and undefeated Bourbon Street TA/Jaffa Sabres on tap and unless they win all three, a first-round bye seems unlikely.
On Thursday, Lavi was clearly the difference maker, rushing for the only points of the first half – touchdowns of 39, 27 and 1 yards – to propel Big Blue to an 18-0 advantage.
Just when it looked like the teams would go to the fourth quarter waged in a tight 18-12 affair, Lavi took a screen pass up the sideline through three defenders for his fourth TD of the night, and the Lions coasted from there.
Big Blue veteran Gani Medad capped off the festive occasion by proposing to girlfriend Ahuva Ben Haim in the stands at the conclusion of the contest.
The IFL gets right back to the gridiron this week with a packed four-game slate for fans around the nation. On Wednesday night, the Sabres (7-0) face off against the Silverbacks (0-8), with a Thursday doubleheader featuring the Lions at Rebels (4-4) followed by Pioneers (5-1) at Kings under the lights at Kraft Stadium. The action moves up north from there, with North Stars hosting the Hammers (7-0) on Friday in Kibbutz Sa’ar and the Troopers visiting the Underdogs (3-5) on Saturday night in Kiryat Yam.
For full Kraft Family IFL standings, stats and schedule, as well as for more information on pigskin in the Holy Land, please visit