Dani Eastman Wins Israeli Football’s Top Award for Second Straight Year

The Judean Rebels’ double-threat led the league in rushing yards and touchdowns.

Rick Blumsack

The Judean Rebels’ Dani Eastman has won his second straight Most Valuable Player award and has been named Offensive Player of the Year by the almost 300 IFL players, coaches and staff who voted.

Eastman plays running back, wide receiver and defensive back. He led the league in rushing yards (582) and touchdowns (17) while adding 332 yards and 10 touchdowns receiving.

Eastman also finished second in the league in interceptions (seven, including two pick-sixes), to accompany his 47 tackles and six breakups. He also had two kick-return touchdowns and a punt-return touchdown.

Jerusalem Lions defensive end Yoni Cooper was voted Defensive Player of the Year after leading the league in sacks at 8.5 and tackles-for-a-loss at 20.5. Cooper, the all-time IFL leader in both categories, registered 52 tackles, three interceptions (including  pick-sixes), three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.

The Ramat HaSharon Hammers Jonathan Curran finished as MVP runner-up and won the Special Teams Player of the Year award. Curran plays quarterback, wide receiver and defensive back.

Curran passed for 10 touchdowns, rushed for 13, caught six and added five interceptions on defense, including a pick-six. He also ran a kick back for a touchdown and led the league in kick-return yards. Curran also averaged 30 yards on his punts — he downed 10 of 13 inside the 15 yard line.

The Judean Rebels swept the Rookie of the Year awards as quarterback Avrami Farkas won for offense and defensive back Elie Mendlowitz for defense. Farkas set IFL records with 1,757 passing yards and 46 passing touchdowns, while completing 65 percent of his passes and throwing only five interceptions.

Mendlowitz, who like Farkas is a product of the IFL’s Ravens, had 48 tackles on the year including 2.5 sacks and 5.5 tackles-for-a-loss. He also had six breakups, two interceptions (including a pick-six), three fumble recoveries and a forced fumble.

The Rebels’ coaching staff won the Coaching Staff of the Year award as they led their team to a 9-0 regular-season record and the top seed in the playoffs.
The All-IFL First and Second Teams were also announced.

First Team offense: quarterback Avrami Farkas (Judean Rebels); running backs Dani Eastman (Rebels) and Ofir Levy (Jerusalem Kings); wide receivers Dan Weintraub (Rebels) and Bar Rudich (Petah-Tikva Troopers); tight end Omri Sapir (Tel Aviv Pioneers); center Tal Mordoch (Pioneers); and guards Eyal Cimet (Pioneers) and Aner Belisha (Jerusalem Lions).

First Team defense:  linemen Yoni Cooper (Lions), Sandro Kalandadze (Be’er Sheva Black Swarm) and Roye Totah (Ramat HaSharon Hammers); linebackers Asaf Katz (Pioneers), Ami Notis (Kings) and Adi Badash (Troopers); defensive backs Dani Eastman (Rebels), Binyamin Schultz (Lions) and Sagan Zavelo (Pioneers)

First Team special team: kicker Liran Zamir (Rebels); punter Ari Wajsbort (Kings) and return specialist Jonathan Curran (Hammers).