Israel Football: Petah Tikva, Tel Aviv Advance to Semifinals

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FILE PHOTO: The Pioneers taking down the Underdogs. January 11, 2018.
FILE PHOTO: The Pioneers taking down the Underdogs. January 11, 2018.Credit: Sleeman Amer

The Petah Tikva Troopers and Tel Aviv Pioneers didn’t have a difficult time with their respective wild-card opponents, advancing to this week’s semifinal football games.

The Troopers ruined Mazkeret Batya’s first post-season appearance with a 38-6 thrashing. Petah Tikva reeled off the game’s first 30 points before the Silverbacks managed to get on the scoreboard. QB Avrami Farkas made immediate use of former MVP Dani Eastman, finally back from a year-long injury, finding him for the game’s first touchdown, which Petah Tikva followed up with two scoring passes from Farkas to Jonathan Curran for another score and another from Farkas to Gideon Reiz for a score.

Five straight Ido Eisikovits completions set the big QB up for a TD run of his own, but the Troopers kept pouring it on, as Farkas found Reiz for another score before the half for a 38-6 lead. After running up the first-half score, Petah Tikva went quiet on the offensive end but in shutting down Mazkeret Batya was able to claim the franchise’s first-ever playoff victory.

Farkas completed 16/34 passes for 220 yards and five touchdowns. Curran caught 4-78-2, Reiz caught 4-57-2 and Daves rushed for 73 yards on eight carries. Dani Eastman had six tackles.

Eisikovits completed 13/31 passes for 83 yards and an interception, adding a rushing TD. Ohad Samuely rushed for 39 yards on 12 carries. Roi Artzi led the defense with 10 tackles.

The Troopers are on to the semifinals where they will play the Judean Rebels this Saturday night at the Kraft Family Sports Campus in Jerusalem. Pioneers 28, Underdogs 6.

The Pioneers, eyeing their fifth straight Israel Bowl appearance, started off this year’s playoff run with a decisive victory over the Underdogs.

Star RB Yuval Fenta ran in a touchdown less than a minute into the game, giving Tel Aviv an early 6-0 lead. Haifa punted and Omri Mizrachi passed to Nimrod Pintel for a 23-yard score, 14-0. After several exchanges of possession, Ron Dafni found Harrison Duke-Fearnley on fourth down to bring the ‘Dogs to within a score before the half, 14-6.

Tel Aviv pulled away in the second half, as Mizrachi threw a 61-yard catch-and-run touchdown to rookie Shachar Regev, 20-6, and David Weitzman ran in another score late to seal the 28-6 win.

Mizrachi completed 8/19 passes for 175 yards and two scores and Pintel caught 4-80-1. Fenta rushed 14-54-1 as the coaching staff clearly tried to limit his carries heading into the semifinals. Asaf Katz lead the D with 13 tackles.

Dafni completed 11/24 passes for 110 yards, a score and a pick. Allon and Rattner also led the defense with 11 tackles each, Rattner adding a sack.

The Pioneers faced the defending champion Jerusalem “Big Blue” Lions in the semifinals on Thursday night  in Jerusalem, in a rematch of Israel Bowl X. The game ended after press time.

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