Jerusalem Lions Clinch Top Seed

Big Blue, gunning for second straight title, beats Tel Aviv 52-34 ■ Judean Rebels inch closer to No. 2 seed with 72-54 win over Petah Tikva

Credit: Daniella Dolgin

The defending champion Jerusalem “Big Blue” Lions clinched the No. 1 seed with a 52-34 victory on Saturday night over the Tel Aviv Pioneers, as they prepare their pursuit of a second consecutive title.

On Thursday night, the Judean Rebels inched closer to clinching the No. 2 seed with a 72-54 victory over the Petah Tikva Troopers, while the Haifa Underdogs on Friday clinched at least the No. 5 seed with a 20-8 win over the Be’er Sheva Black Swarm.

Credit: Daniella Dolgin

Jerusalem initially found itself down 8-0 after Yuval Fenta made a touchdown run, but David Abell tied the game with a TD pass to Misha Belov. The game would be tied twice more, as the Pioneers twice answered touchdown passes from Abell to Alan Tover, first with a scoring pass from Omri Mizrachi to Shachar Regev and then a 74-yard kickoff return by Regev.

The Lions then went up 38-22 after Abell hit Ezzy Jaski for two scores. Fenta ran in another score with under 2 minutes to play in the half, 38-28.

Jerusalem put the game away in the second half as Jerome Wojtalik carried the ball 3 straight times for 62 yards and a Lions TD, and Jaski threw a screen pass to Abell, who took it 70 yards to the house for an insurmountable 52-28 lead.

Abell completed 9/16 passes for 194 yards and 5 TDs in one half at the helm, as well as catching 2 passes for 88 yards and a score. Wojtalik rushed 11-127-1 and Jaski caught 5-147-2. Leor Markose had 6 tackles.

For Tel Aviv, Mizrachi completed 12/27 passes for a career-high 255 yards, 2 scores and a pick. Fenta rushed 14-130-2, Regev caught 4-108-2. Or Shalom led the defense with 13 tackles.

Getting closer

The Rebels neared the No. 2 seed in a shootout with the Troopers.

The Rebels set the pace taking a 14-0 lead just 64 seconds into the game as Yehuda Mendlowitz found Aviad Kalifa for a 38-yard touchdown and then scored again one play after recovering an onside kick (Mendlo to Zevi Katz). The Troopers narrowed the lead to 30-26 late in the second quarter, but Chesky Tomor returned the ensuing kickoff 70 yards to take a 36-26 lead into halftime.

In the second half, the Rebels extended their lead to 52-26 after Mendlowitz ran 39 yards up the left sideline for another score and Tomor intercepted a Farkas pass and returned it 40 yards for a score. The lead would grow to 32 points, before Farkas hit Reiz for a pair of TDS passes for the final 72-54 result.

Mendlowitz completed 14/26 passes for 318 yards, 4 scores and 2 picks, adding 51 yards and a score on the ground. Hughes caught 6-153-1. Jason Hess had 10 tackles.

In the loss, Farkas attempted a record 54 pass attempts, completing 24 for 376 yards (3rd all-time), 6 touchdowns and 3 picks. Kol El rushed for 59 yards and a score, while Reiz caught 7-94-4 and Hartman caught 9-184-2. On defense, Enrique Roth had 8 tackles.

No underdog this time

On Friday, Haifa rallied past Be’er Sheva 20-8 to seal at least a fifth seed.

The Swarm went up 8-0 on the first play from scrimmage on a 59-yard catch-and-run from Matanel Katz to Ronnie Hayes. But the rest of the game belonged to Haifa, as Ron tossed TD passes to Harrison Duke-Fearnley. Amitai Chubinsky and Matan Fourier, all in the first half.

Dafni completed 12/21 passes for 147 yards, 3 scores and 3 picks. Hillel Meran rushed for 58 yards and Chubinsky caught 4-51-1. Rattner had 7 tackles, including 2 sacks.

Katz completed 11/26 passes for 130 yards, a score and 2 picks, adding 16 yards rushing, plus 2 picks on defense. Hayes caught 7-103-1. Sandro Kalandadze led the defense with 9 tackles.



Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

Subscribe today and save 40%

Already signed up? LOG IN


Yair Lapid.

Yair Lapid Is the Most Israeli of All

An El Al jet sits on the tarmac at John C. Munro International Airport in Hamilton, Thursday, in 2003.

El Al to Stop Flying to Toronto, Warsaw and Brussels

An anti-abortion protester holds a cross in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C.

Roe v. Wade: The Supreme Court Leaves a Barely United States

A young Zeschke during down time, while serving with the Wehrmacht in Scandinavia.

How a Spanish Beach Town Became a Haven for Nazis

Ayelet Shaked.

What's Ayelet Shaked's Next Move?

A Palestinian flag is taken down from a building by Israeli authorities after being put up by an advocacy group that promotes coexistence between Palestinians and Israelis, in Ramat Gan, Israel earlier this month

Israel-Palestine Confederation: A Response to Eric Yoffie