Football Troopers Rallies Past Underdogs in Classic

Pioneers, Rebels, Hammers cruise toward playoffs as season heats up.

Betzalel Friedman
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Betzalel Friedman

As expected, last Friday morning's tilt between the Underdogs and Troopers was by far the closest game of the week (and one of the closest of the season) as the Troopers pulled off a thrilling 36-29 victory after trailing 22-8 at the half. The other three games were not close as the Pioneers beat the Silverbacks 68-22, the Rebels shut out the Northern Stars 73-0 and the Hammers beat the Black Swarm 80-6.

The Pioneers are marching toward the playoffs and easily dispatched the Silverbacks. Ronny Moscona had one of his best games as a QB, leading his team to a 68-22 victory.

Moscona had a superb game, finishing 12/16 for 200 yards, 3 TDs and no picks, while adding 4 carries for 4 yards and 3 touchdowns on the ground. Ron Angel finished 4/7 for 57 yards, 2 TDs and 1 INT. Josh Henry led the rushing attack with 5-51-1, as the Pioneers' passing attack was on full display. Travis Mascitelli had 3 catches for 83 yards and 2 TDs, Sapir finished with 4-63-1, Abell was 4-45-1, and Cameron Simmonds had 3 catches for 43 yards.

Ido Eisikovits finished 6/27 for 76 yards and 1 TD for the Silverbacks. Tom Otmy had 71 yards and 1 TD in 10 carries, and Oz had 2 catches for 46 yards and 1 TD.

The Pioneers have clinched at least the fourth seed in the playoffs and can jump to the third seed if it beats the Rebels and either the Hammers lose to the Lions or the Lions lose to the Hammers and Kings. Either way, the Pioneers will be hosting a wildcard game in a few weeks’ time.

Judean Rebels 73, Northern Stars 0

Both teams pretty much knew the outcome ahead of time, as the visiting Rebels pounced on the Stars in Peki’in.

Avrami Farkas finished the game with 15/19 passing for 267 yards with an amazing 79% completion percentage, 7 TDs (tied for 1st all-time) and a rushing TD (8 total TDs tied for first all-time). Dan Weintraub caught 4 balls for 107 yards and 3 TDs and Ari Levin lead the rushing attack with 52 yards and a TD on 8 carries.

Oren Kniaz went 5/23 for 40 yards and 2 INTs for the Stars, and had 61 yards on the ground in 19 carries. Shai Rotbaum had 6 carries for 38 yards and Yuval Aluf led the northern receivers with 2 catches for 17 yards.

The Rebels have clinched the #1 seed in the playoffs, and have nothing to play for in their finale other than trying for an undefeated season.

Petah Tikva 36, Haifa 29

The week’s most anticipated matchup, full of playoff implications, did not disappoint. The Haifa Underdogs came out strong and held a 22-8 halftime lead, but a surprisingly strong Troopers running game put the Troopers back on top and the defense held strong to give the Troopers a 36-29 victory.

Still down at the end of the third period, Petah Tikva drove the field to start the 4th quarter, and took the lead on another Daves TD and conversion. 30-29 Troopers. The Troopers’ D forced a punt but with just four minutes to go, Haifa’s Niv Medlinger recovered a Daves fumble in Trooper territory, setting up his offense with a chance to regain the lead. Kauffman couldn’t capitalize and he threw an interception to Adi Badash, and Daves scored again on the very next play. Petah Tikva couldn’t get the conversion.

On Haifa’s second play after the touchdown, Kauffman threw his second interception in as many minutes, this time to Nimrod Borenstein, but the Troopers couldn’t get the first down it needed, and after burning all three of its timeouts, Haifa got the ball back with 41 yards to go and 1:13 left in the game. Incompletion, 6-yard pass, loss of 7 and another incompletion gave the Troopers the ball back, and it moved in to victory formation.

Petah Tikva QB Garrett Moore had his first game in his IFL career without throwing a TD pass, as he went 7/18 for 75 yards, though his receivers were suffering from a nasty case of butterfingers – most notably Dvir Argouan, who dropped 4 passes. Chris Daves had a career day with 150 yards and 4 touchdowns on 19 carries. Bar Rudich caught 2 passes for 49 yards and rushed 7 times for 52 yards and a TD.

Kauffman had a very good day for Haifa until the last four minutes of the game. He finished 16/27 for 206 yards, 4 TDs and 2 INTs. Smith finished with 6 catches for 109 and a TD, and Breuer finished with 4-74-1 receiving. The Dogs rushing game was as nonexistent as the Troopers’ had been prior to this game, led by Harrison Duke-Fearnley’s 11 yards and totaled minus 9 yards on the ground.

The Troopers have two games left and one victory will clinch a playoff berth, while two victories will yield the #5 seed. The Underdogs have one game left (vs. the Stars) and needs to win that game and have the Lions beat the Kings next week. The only way to get in if that doesn’t happen is if the Troopers lose both remaining games.

Ramat Hasharon 80, Be'er Sheva 6

Ady Totah, Beto Gonzalez and Jonathan Curran were a combined 7/12 passing for 145 and 6 TDs. Gonzalez had 17 yards and 2 TDs on the ground, Adam Kima had 84 and 1, Del Real had 67 and 1 and Curran had 47 and 1. Five different players caught TD passes for the Hammers, and Totah had 2. The Hammers have one game left, and it's an extremely pivotal one. If it wins, it clinches the second seed, but if it loses it could even fall down to the fourth seed.

Rebels Troopers GameCredit: Rick Blumsack

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