Rebels Survive Late Scare to Take Hanukkah Bowl

Pioneers dominate Black Swarm in easy 74-0 victory.

Betzalel Friedman
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Judean Rebels cut lose against Be'er Sheva.
The Judean Rebels in action.Credit: Coby Raz
Betzalel Friedman

The Kraft Family IFL’s weekend was a tale of opposites. At the Hanukkah Bowl last Thursday, local rivals the Judean Rebels and Jerusalem “Big Blue” Lions faced off, with the Rebels surviving a late scare to triumph 28-22. Last Friday, however, the Tel Aviv Pioneers completely dominated the visiting Be’er Sheva Black Swarm 74-0.

The Rebels and Lions met in the seventh annual Hanukkah Bowl, and the Rebels held off a late Lions rally to win 28-22.

The Rebels started off on the right foot with Chaim Aaron forcing a fumble on the opening kickoff, which was recovered by teammate Ami Notis. Former Lion Chaim Schiff got the start at QB for the Rebels and he earned his new team 28 yards in seven plays, finishing off with a seven-yard touchdown pass to Misha Belov, to make it 6-0 Rebels. The Lions took an 8-6 lead in the second quarter, as QB David Abell ran in the TD and then found Avi Wolasky for the conversion.

The Rebels came back with an eight-play, 50-yard scoring drive, which included three straight completions from Schiff to second-year receiver Shmuel Avruch, and ended with an Avruch two-yard TD catch to go back up 14-8.

Schiff led the Rebels on a scoring drive to start the second half, this one also ending in a seven-yard scoring strike to Belov and then went 60 yards in two plays – a 35-yard catch by Avruch, who made a great adjustment to the ball, and then a 25-yard scoring pass to Belov, which gave the Rebels a commanding 28-8 lead.

The Lions made a switch at QB, which immediately paid dividends as Binyamin Schultz found Abell with a 38-yard touchdown pass at the end of the third. In the final quarter, Schultz found Abell deep for another TD, making it 28-22 to the Rebels with 1:22 to go. The Lions’ squib kick ended up in the Rebels’ hands to end the game.

Schiff led the Rebels – who were forced to play without ill star Dani Eastman – with 18/34 passing for 215 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. Belov had six catches for 62 yards and three TDs, while Avruch had six catches for 86 yards and one TD. Ami Notis led the defense with eight tackles, a fumble recovery and a pick.

Abell finished 6/12 for 58 yards and an interception, adding 21 yards and a score on the ground, and then caught two passes for 64 yards and two TDs.

Pioneers 74, Black Swarm 0

The Pioneers added another lopsided win to their season-opening stretch with an easy victory over the Black Swarm.

The host Pioneers got off to a quick start as Charlie Gordon intercepted Be’er Sheva QB Itay Reuven on the latter’s first pass attempt of the game. Four plays later, it was Noam Dalal with the short TD run to put the Pios up 6-0.

The Pioneer pressure would not let up as Tel Aviv ran up the score to 58-0 by halftime, thanks to two rushing TDs by Bar Soffer, scoring passes from Alex Swieca to Travis Mascitelli (twice), Bar Rudich and veteran TE Omri Sapir, and a 32-yard pick-six by Daniel Ben-Zvi.

Tel Aviv added two more scores in the second half, with Steve Markoe hitting Rudich in stride with a 44-yard touchdown pass to open the third quarter, and Swieca finding Nimrod Pintel for the final TD of the day.

Swieca was 12/15 for 225 yards and five TDs, while Markoe finished 5/13 for 91 yards and a TD. Rudich caught four passes for 118 yards and two scores, while Mascitelli had five catches for 89 yards and two scores. Pintel added three catches for 69 yards and a score, while Soffer rushed for 38 yards and two touchdowns.

Or Shalom paced the defense with five tackles, two interceptions and a breakup, while Jason Leos added five tackles.

Reuven finished 5/14 for 34 yards and three interceptions, and Dani Sterer finished 2/14 for 30 yards and two interceptions.

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