Israel Football League

Jerusalem Big Blue Lions Devour Petah Tikva Troopers in Shutout Win

Rebels swarm Be’er Sheva 52-14.

Yael Shem Tov

Week 6 in the Kraft Family Israel Football League produced a pair of lopsided victories, as the Jerusalem ‘Big Blue’ Lions shut out the Petah Tikva Troopers 54-0 in the rain on New Year’s Day, while the Judean Rebels went down south to crush the Be’er Sheva Black Swarm 52-14.

The Lions set the tone by scoring on its first possession after forcing the Troopers to punt on its opening drive. David Abell ran in a QB keeper for a seven-yard touchdown, following a 46-yard punt return by Ori Refaelowitz. The Troopers’ next 3-and-out was followed by another Abell QB keeper TD.

Abell’s scoring strike to Moshe Epstein in the second quarter gave the Lions a 20-0 halftime lead.

Refaelowitz started the second half off with a 31-yard TD reception from Abell, and then broke up a pass on 4th down of the Troopers’ longest drive of the evening. Abell took in another keeper for a score, while Tani Aronin ran in a seven-yard touchdown. With 11 seconds left on the clock, the Lions’ Ilan Buchbinder intercepted David Arshavsky and ran it back 23 yards to the house, effectively ending the game.

Abell went 8/14 passing for 144 yards and three scores, adding 43 yards and three scores on the ground. Felder had 70 yards on 14 carries, and led the team with 36 receiving yards. Sam Edelmuth led the defense with five tackles.

Swarm 14, Rebels 52

The following day, the Rebels dismantled host Be’er Sheva’s defense. The Rebels got off to a quick start as Chaim Schiff found Misha Belov for a 46-yard catch-and-run, followed immediately by a three-yard TD run by Avi Landesman. Matanel Katz took the ensuing kickoff 73 yards for a touchdown: as the first kick return touchdown since the league moved to 80-yard fields, it currently stands as the longest kick return in league history.

The Rebels stayed primarily on the ground during the next drive, but finished it off with Schiff passing to Gideon Reiz for an eight-yard TD pass.

After getting the ball back, Schiff found Chaim Aaron for a 35-yard gain, setting Landesman up for his second rushing touchdown of the night. Jason Hess intercepted Itay Reuven’s pass for Katz at the end of the first quarter, before Schiff found Belov for a 24-yard TD pass to push the Rebels lead to 28-8. The Swarm went 3-and-out and Schiff found Reiz for a 12-yard score.

Schiff found Belov for a 36-yard TD just before halftime, making it 42-8 Rebels at the break.

The Swarm started off the second half with a 36-yard catch-and-run touchdown from Dani Sterer to Katz, but that was as close as they would get.

A strange sequence started the fourth and final frame. Schiff’s pass attempt was intercepted by David Rabinski in the end-zone, but the young cornerback pitched the ball forward to a teammate, causing a safety. Schiff and Belov connected for another touchdown three plays later to complete the scoring.

Schiff finished 23/35 for a single-game record 364 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions. Belov caught seven passes for 157 yards and three TDs, while Reiz caught seven passes for 84 yards and two TDs. Landesman finished with 21 yards and two TDs on three carries. Aryeh Eastman led the defense with seven tackles and half a sack.

Sterer went 13/22 passing for 169 yards, a score and a pick.