Football / IFL: Tel Aviv's Pioneers Holdoff Ramat Hasharon Hammers

Judean Rebels dominate Petah Tikva Troopers 84-0; Haifa Underdogs overwhelmed Be’er Sheva Black Swarm 51-6.

Betzalel Friedman
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Tel Aviv Pioneers hold off to beat bitter rivals Ramat Hasharon Hammers, 32-20.
Tel Aviv Pioneers hold off to beat bitter rivals Ramat Hasharon Hammers, 32-20. Credit: Dotan Doron / Facebook
Betzalel Friedman

A full Kraft Family Israel Football League slate saw the Tel Aviv Pioneers hold off to beat bitter rivals Ramat Hasharon Hammers, 32-20. The Judean Rebels dominated the Petah Tikva Troopers 84-0 and the Haifa Underdogs overwhelmed the Be’er Sheva Black Swarm 51-6.

Tel Aviv’s rookie running back Yuval Fenta thoroughly ran over visiting Ramat HaSharon, helping his team stifle the visitors’ attempted comeback. Fenta was huge with 32 carries (second- highest in league history) for 174 yards and three touchdowns.

A 29-yard pass from Pioneers’ quarterback Steve Markoe to Travis Mascitelli on the first play of the game set Fenta up for his first score of the day, 8-0. Markoe later found receiver Nimrod Pintel in the end zone for a 16-0 lead.

Tel Aviv Pioneers hold off to beat bitter rivals Ramat Hasharon Hammers, 32-20.Credit: Dotan Doron / Facebook

After Ramat HaSharon came back with a 60-yard catch-and-run touchdown pass from Hakami to Curran, Fenta ran in his second score of the day at the start of the second quarter for a 24-6 lead.

Ramat Hasharon hammered back with two straight scores, first on a rushing touchdown and then on a touchdown reception by Avi Rosenblum from Hakami to pull within four points at halftime.

In the second half Fenta came up big as he hurdled Twig for another touchdown to put his team up by two scores, 32-20. Daniel Ben-Zvi picked off Hakami and all Fenta needed was another first down to end the game.

Markoe completed 7/15 passes for 117 yards, a score and a pick. Pintel caught three passes for 54 yards and a score; Mascitelli had three catches for 56 yards. Ben-Zvi led the ‘D’ with seven tackles, a pick and two breakups.

Hakami finished 8/25 for 142 yards, two scores and three picks, adding 22 yards on the ground for the Hammers.

Judean massacre

The host Judeans thrashed the visiting Troopers by racking up 265 rushing yards, pulling starting quarterback Chaim Schiff before the first quarter ended.

Schiff went 4/7 for 85 yards and two scores before being replaced by Jeff Balaban, who went 6/12 for 78 yards, two scores and a pick, while also leading the rushing attack with 59 yards and two scores. Misha Belov was phenomenal with four catches for 115 yards and four touchdowns. Pinpin Feierman led the defense with eight tackles and two breakups.

Dani Eastman scored on the Rebels first drive on an 11-yard touchdown run. Rebels defensive back Jason Hess picked off Dvir Argouan’s pass, and Schiff immediately found rookie Belov for a 41-yard scoring pass. Belov picked up a screen pass for a 28-yard scoring reception and the Rebel’s next touchdown. Balaban scored on fourth-and-nine from the 15 to make it 30-0.

Ari Gold joined the party with a rushing touchdown of his own before Balaban connected again to Belov for a 46-0 lead before the break.

Besides Belov’s fourth touchdown catch, the Judeans ran up the score on rushing touchdowns by Balaban, Effi Kolatch (46 yards), Itzik Manshuri and Gideon Reiz.

Underdogs undeterred

The Underdogs made the long trek down to Be’er Sheva and won handily despite a shorthanded roster.

Be’er Sheva’s lone score, in the first quarter, followed a Hillel Meran touchdown run and a pickoff of an Itay Reuven pass that Guy Halberthal took 17 yards to the house for a 13-0 Haifa lead.

The Black Swarm answered with an 11-play drive, which ended with a David Rabinski rushing touchdown from 5 yards out to close within 13-6 at the end of the first quarter.

After that, the Underdogs were mostly unstoppable. Ilya Averbuch nailed a 20-yard field goal, Haifa quarterback Matt Kauffman found Dean Kol for a 27-yard score on fourth-and-12 to put the northerners up 23-6 at halftime.

Haifa went on to score four times in the second half. Yair Zilbershtein followed a fumble recovery with a 1-yard rushing touchdown. Kauffman found Matan Fourier for a 7-yard touchdown pass as the fourth quarter got underway, and after another turnover hit wide receiver Ron Dafni for a 20-yard score. When Matanel Katz muffed the catch on a punt return, Kauffman, who also serves as Haifa’s long snapper, recovered the ball and ran 12 yards for Haifa’s final touchdown.

Kauffman completed 10/22 passes for 140 yards, three scores and a pick. Ndavyah Williams had 66 yards on nine carries and Meran had 38 and a score on 11 carries. Dafni caught three passes for 26 yards and a score and Fourier had 2 for 21 and a score. Amit Kolton led the defense with eight tackles, 3 TFL, a sack and a fumble recovery.

Reuven completed 9/29 passes for 59 yards and three interceptions. Rabinski rushed for 105 yards and a score on 12 carries.

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