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Hammers Take Vengeance Against Underdogs

Betzalel Friedman
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Closeup of American football on field with yard lines. (illustrative)Credit: Dreamstime
Betzalel Friedman

The Ramat Hasharon Hammers avenged an overtime loss earlier in the season by beating the Haifa Underdogs 30-28. The Hammers came back from a 28-14 third-quarter deficit to knock the Underdogs from the ranks of the unbeaten and completely muddle the standings and playoff picture.

Haifa shares a 3-1 record with Ramat Hasharon, the Judean Rebels, Tel Aviv, which defeated the Mazkeret Batya Silverbacks on the road Saturday night, and the Jerusalem Lions. Haifa holds the first seed by virtue of a tiebreaker based on the records among the tied teams against each other. However, the season is still young.

A Ndavyah Williams touchdown run gave the Haifa side a 7-0 lead. Later on, the Underdogs drove 56 yards in 7 plays, going up 14-0 on a touchdown pass from Matt Kauffman to Amitai Chubinski. Two plays later it was Adi Hakami finding Jonathan Curran for a 46-yard touchdown pass to narrow the deficit to 14-8. Kauffman hit wide receiver Matan Fourier for a quick score and a 21-8 halftime lead for Haifa.

On the second play of the half, veteran running back Adam Kima broke free for a 46-yard touchdown run, bringing the host Hammers to within one score, 21-14. Haifa answered with a 54-yard drive culminating in a 6-yard touchdown run by Kauffman, making it 28-14.

Kima’s second rushing TD of the night helped narrow the gap to 28-22. The Hammers added a safety after Ido Kamiel tackled Williams in the end zone.

Early in the fourth quarter, Hakami found J. Curran for another touchdown to take the lead 30-28 after a 46-yard catch by Van Straten, which held for the remainder of the game.

Hakami finished 12/22 for 228 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. J. Curran caught seven passes for 103 yards and both scores, while Van Straten had three catches for 109 yards. Kima had 83 yards and two scores on 12 carries. Kamiel led the defense with seven tackles.

Kauffman completed just 10/29 passes for 107 yards, two scores and one interception. Chubinski had six catches for 60 yards and a score, while Fourier added three receptions for 40 yards and one touchdown. Williams rushed 19 times for 95 yards and a score.

Tel Aviv 48, Mazkeret Batya 20

In Mazkeret Batya, the Silverbacks managed to score their first three touchdowns of the season, but to no avail against an overpowering Tel Aviv offense.

The Pioneers got off to a 12-0 start on a 6-yard touchdown run by Noam Dalal and a 14-yard score by Yuval Fenta to start off the second quarter.

The host Silverbacks finally put together a drive, mixing in the wildcat formation, as they drove 60 yards in 10 plays, ending with a somewhat controversial touchdown catch by Rotem Oz for their first touchdown of the season, 12-7. The Pioneers wasted no time in getting back on the scoreboard, as Steve Markoe found Travis Mascitelli for a 44-yard catch-and-run and a 20-7 lead. Fenta then ran in his second of the night with 31 seconds left in the half to make it 28-7.

Noam Dalal pounded in a 1-yard score to start off the second half, stretching the lead to 34-7. Mazkeret Batya drove 67 yards in seven plays, ending with a 29-yard TD pass from Ido Eisikovits to Oz, cutting the margin to 34-14. Moscona took advantage of a defensive pass interference call at the goal line with no time left for one untimed play, connecting with Amir Gertman for the final 48-20 score.

Markoe completed 11/23 passes for 150 yards, a score and an interception, and Moscona was 4/5 for 61 yards and two scores in his two drives. Mascitelli caught four passes for 80 yards and a touchdown, while Fenta had 12 carries for 106 yards and two TDs. Asaf Katz was his usual beastly self on defense, with 11 tackles and a sack.

Eisikovits finished 11/33 for 135 yards, three scores and 3 interceptions. Oz caught seven passes for 111 yards and all three TDs.