Swarm pull out thriller over Kings; Lions, Sabres win

The Kings just couldn’t prevent the displaced hosts from mounting one final drive for a second conquest over their South Division rivals.

Beersheba Blackswarm vs. Jerusalem Kings 311 (photo credit: Kim Bokeh)
Beersheba Blackswarm vs. Jerusalem Kings 311
(photo credit: Kim Bokeh)
Week 11 in the Kraft Family IFL was certainly a case of saving the best for last, with a pair of mediocre blowout contests paving the way for the stunning weekend-finale on Saturday night at Sapir College in Sderot, where the Travel Leaders Beersheva Black Swarm outlasted the Papagaio Jerusalem Kings in a 46-40 shootout.
Brandon MacDougald and Chen Doron each reached the endzone three times, with Doron catching the gamewinning TD from Tal Avivi with just 13 seconds left to snatch a triumph from the clutches of defeat and improve the Swarm’s season record to 2-5 and into control of their playoff destiny.
The Kings, who fought back throughout the smashmouth encounter to go ahead by two points deep within the two-minute warning, just couldn’t prevent the displaced hosts from mounting one final drive for a second conquest over their South Division rivals – their only two victories of the season.
Eli Skolnik accounted for a mind-boggling six touchdowns (2 passing, 4 running), but his final score left too much time for the hosts to march down the field and the Kings were forced to absorb a second straight loss on a last-minute TD drive by their opponent.
“This one was a little too close for comfort,” exclaimed Beersheva captain Amit Benvenisti. “We did a lot of things right today offensively, but when the Kings scored there at the end, there was dead silence on our sideline for a second. Luckily, we were able to pull it out in the end thanks to some clutch performances from our playmakers. Now, we just want to build on this win and notch a few more.”
With three games left in the regular-season, Travel Leaders now owns a one-game advantage over Papagaio (1-6) for third place in their division, with the top three spots earning a trip to the playoffs.
Meanwhile, on Thursday night in Holon, the Arthur’s Tel Aviv/Jaffa Sabres romped over Leo Bloom’s Herzliya Hammers in a 68-12 thrashing that featured more heroics from TAJ signal-caller Adi Hakami, who finished with 197 yards passing and five TDs through the air.
Liran Hovav snagged a pair of acrobatic scores while Eric Spitzer had a pair of touchdowns as well, on a fumble recovery and a reception, to propel the Sabres back to the winners’ circle.
Herzliya (2-5) is now still just one game in front of the Real Housing Haifa Underdogs for the final postseason spot in the North Division after the Underdogs fell to 1-6 with a 34-6 defeat at the hands of the Big Blue Jerusalem Lions in Yokne’am on Friday morning.
Matan Lavi paced the Big Blue attack with two rushing touchdowns while Danny Brill and Binyamin Shultz added scores of their own as the Lions (6-1) climbed back into a tie atop the South standings with the Rebels, whom they face in a capital clash on January 27.
This week sees another three-game slate in the IFL, with the Sabres traveling up North to meet the Underdogs on Thursday night and the Dancing Camel Tel Aviv Pioneers (4-3) hosting the Kings on Friday at TA University.
Saturday night features a matchup of 2-5 squads when the Hammers entertain the Black Swarm in Holon, with both teams eyeing the contest as a golden opportunity to record another all-important victory.
For more information about the IFL and tackle football in Israel, please visit www.ifl.co.il