Lions Beat Troopers in Last-second Thriller

Ramat Hasharon Hammers powers to 41-0 shutout of Be’er Sheva Black Swarm.

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The Mazkeret Batya Silverbacks against the Petah Tikva Troopers in October. In separate games this round, both teams lost.
The two Kraft Family IFL games last weekend were a tale of opposites.Credit: Vova Jandarmov

The two Kraft Family IFL games last weekend were a tale of opposites. On the Thursday night, Jerusalem “Big Blue” Lions scored a last-second touchdown to defeat Petah Tikva Troopers 22-20. And last Saturday, Ramat Hasharon Hammers waltzed to a 41-0 shutout of Be’er Sheva Black Swarm.

Big Blue overcame a slow start in Ma’aleh Adumim to defeat Petah Tikva in thrilling fashion.

The two teams traded early scores as two long Avrami Farkas passes to Danny Mikhailov and Gideon Reiz set up a Chris Davis TD run for the Troopers, and Big Blue answered with a 4-yard David Abell keeper to start off the second quarter.

However, another pair of Farkas passes (again to Mikhailov and Reiz) set up a 1-yard pass from Farkas to Dani Eastman for a 14-8 Trooper lead. After the Troopers’ Elyasaf Benattia recovered a fumble for Petah Tikva at its 2, Eastman was called for intentional grounding in the end-zone for a Jerusalem safety, 14-10.

Right before the third quarter closed, Farkas hit Aaron Karp for a 37-yard TD pass and a 10-point lead: 20-10. On the next drive, Eastman forced another goal-line fumble, this one by Abell, but Hillel Goldstein pounced on the ball for a Big Blue touchdown, making it 20-16 as the fourth quarter got underway.

With 2:50 to go, Big Blue got the ball back on its own 9-yard line. Abell methodically led his team down the field, and seemingly with time for one last play with five seconds remaining. Aaron Karp broke up his ensuing pass, but Troopers’ DE Ahmed Abu-Gaber was called for roughing the passer, plus an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for removing his helmet.

The ball was moved to the one-yard line. Abell’s next pass fell incomplete, but Troopers’ rookie lineman Yohannes Okba was called for offside, and the Lions got another untimed play. Abell took the snap from under center and forced his way into the end-zone (with Goldstein’s help as well) for the game-clinching score, 22-20.

Abell completed 22/37 passes for 214 yards and rushed 16 times for 48 yards and 2 scores. Wojtalik had 51 yards on the ground and 81 in the air, and Ezzy Jasky caught 11 balls for 105 yards. Steinherz had 4 tackles and a forced fumble.

Eastman had a record-tying 24 total tackles on the night, plus two forced fumbles, adding 52 rushing yards and a TD catch. Farkas completed 10/22 passes for 188 yards, 2 scores and a pick.

Ramat Hasharon hammers Swarm

Following a celebratory Hanukkah candle-lighting ceremony, Ramat Hasharon Hammers cruised to an easy 41-0 shutout of Be’er Sheva with a career day by Ben Landon, who got the start at quarterback.

Landon’s passing stats were mediocre at best (5/20 for 36 yards, a touchdown and a pick), but he more than made up for it on the ground, with 16 rushes for 218 yards (fifth best of all time) and five touchdowns (tied for 4th all-time). He connected with TE Ido Eisikovits from the 1-yard line for the lone passing touchdown, a play that followed a 46-yard run by Landon.

Former Swarm safety Ehud Klein led the Ramat Hasharon defense with seven tackles, including a sack, despite playing only the first half.

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