Football / IFL: Pioneers Escape Underdogs in Overtime

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Black Swarm running back.Credit: Gad Fogel

On a wet, cold and windy Friday afternoon, two of the IFL’s top (and original) teams met in a game dominated by defenses and running games, with the Tel Aviv “Hotel Gilgal” Pioneers emerging as 14-6 winners over the Haifa “Nemo’s” Underdogs in overtime.

The Underdogs (4-2) got on the board first with an interception returned for a touchdown by defensive back Amit Benvenisti, and the Pioneers (5-1) only tied the game midway through the fourth quarter on a beautiful, back-of-the-endzone catch by Travis Mascitelli. The game went into overtime (NCAA rules), and the Pioneers scored on a 2-yard run by Ari Wilen. Haifa got the ball to try and tie the game, but Or Shalom intercepted Matt Kauffman’s pass to seal the victory for his team.

Wilen lead the visitors with 89 yards and a TD on the ground, as they helped overcome a monster game by Underdogs’ rookie defensive end Rudi Rattner, who had 17 tackles, including 8 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks.

Black Swarm 8, Silverbacks 0

In another cold and wet affair, the Be’er Sheva “Travel Leaders” Black Swarm blanked the Mazkeret Batya “RC Cola” Silverbacks 8-0.

The Swarm (3-3) prevailed by getting two scores in the fourth and final frame. After a sloppy game in which neither offense got anything going (the teams combined for 13 yards passing), the Swarm came up with a safety and a rushing TD by rookie Almog Kriel to come away with the victory, their third of the season.

Yuval Tzvi led the victors with 25 rushing yards and Ehud Klein had 9 tackles, 2 breakups and 2 forced fumbles. Rotem Oz led the Silverbacks (1-5) with 55 rushing yards, while Tomer Hazan and Kwame Shapiro had 9 tackles and a sack apiece.

The IFL will go on a league-wide bye week, before resuming the playoff hunt next week.