Football

IFL: Haifa Nicks Ramat Hasharon in Overtime

Big Blue manhandles Petah Tikva while Beer Sheva's Black Swarm narrowly beat Silverbacks.

FILE PHOTO: TA Pioneers' Cameron Simmonds
Gadi Fogiel

Week 2 of the Kraft Family Israel Football League provided much excitement as two out of the three games went down to the wire, with the Haifa ‘Nemo’s’ Underdogs beating the Ramat HaSharon ‘Mike’s Place’ Hammers 25-24 on Harrison Fearnley’s game-winning extra-point kick in overtime last Thursday.

On Saturday night, two futile offenses saw the Beer Sheva ‘Travel Leaders’ Black Swarm narrowly beat the Mazkeret Batya Silverbacks 7-0.

Also last Thursday, the Jerusalem ‘Big Blue’ Lions handily defeated the Petah Tikva Troopers by a score of 46-10.

The Underdogs continued their impressive start to the season with their thrilling 25-24 overtime victory.

The Hammers got off on the right foot with a 9-play, 63-yard drive ending in a 3-yard touchdown pass from Adi Hakami to Jonathan Curran, but the Underdogs marched right back with Matt Kauffman alternating completions between Nimrod Smith and Amitai Chubinski, before finding Smith on a quick 2-yard screen pass for a score as the Hammer secondary failed to adjust to the formation.

Haifa eventually went up 18-6 on another short pass from Kauffman to Smith and a quarterback sneak by Kaufmann. However, the Hammers roared back in the fourth quarter.

First, Ramat HaSharon put together a nice 12-play drive, which ended in Jovani Patterson’s 6-yard TD run, bringing the Hammers to within 6, at 18-12 with 8:38 to play. On the ensuing kickoff, Avi Rosenblum made another great play, stripping Haifa return man Tamir Shinar and recovering the ball at the Haifa 26. After a 14-yard Adam Kima run, Hakami found Tomar Curran for an 11-yard score to tie the game at 18, but the two-point-conversion futility continued as the Underdogs stuffed the attempt.

Haifa won the overtime toss and elected to go on defense first. A 21-yard pass from Hakami to Tomare Curran set up a 5-yard scoring pass to Jonathan Curran, but his next pass on the conversion was a tad too high. Haifa got the ball, and after two good Williams runs and a PI penalty, Kauffman found veteran Ran Breuer on a short catch-and-run for the tying score. Haifa brought in the field goal unit to go for the winning point, and Harrison Fearnley’s kick was true, sending the ‘Dogs to a 2-0 record.

Kauffman finished 18/29 for 157 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT, and a TD on the ground. Smith caught 8 passes for 53 yards and 2 TDs, while Chubinski caught 7 for 66 yards. Williams finished with 67 yards on the ground. Rattner lead the Underdog defense with 10 tackles and a break-up, while Guy Halberthal had an excellent game with 7 tackles (2 for loss), 2 break-ups and a forced fumble. Rephael Blum and Niv Medlinger each added 7 tackles.

Hakami finished 12/25 for 128 and 3 TDs. Jonathan Curran had 5 catches for 81 yards and 2 scores while Tomare Curran had 3 for 33 and a score. Patterson and Kima each had 35 yards rushing, with Patterson adding a score. Somberg lead the defense with 14 tackles, including 3.5 TFL and 2.5 sacks. Ehud Klein had 10 tackles and half a sack and Yair Ben-Moshe had 8 tackles and half a sack as well.

Jerusalem leaves Petah Tikva blue

The Jerusalem Lions opened their season with an easy 46-10 victory over the visiting Troopers, aided by a 1-minute, 3 touchdown scoring frenzy to end the first half.

Jerusalem quarterback David Arshavsky finished 9/27 for 100 yards and 2 INTs to go along with a rushing TD. Alon Hartanu caught 3 passes for 56 yards and Erez Maman caught 3 for 36. The defense was lead by a career day from MLB Elyasaf Benattia who had 16 tackles, including 3 tackles for loss. Leib Sklar lead the defense with 6 tackles and a fumble recovery.

The Black Swarm and Silverbacks continued their close-fought rivalry, and the Swarm came away with a victory in the lowest-scoring game in league history.

The lone score came in the second half, when Swarm quarterback Dani Sterer found Matanel Katz on a crossing route and the young star turned up-field and ran into the end-zone for the lone score of the game. Daniel Sarosy hit the XP, 7-0 Swarm, with 5-and-a-half minutes to go in the third quarter.