Lions, Silverbacks Win Big

Betzalel Friedman
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Liad Versolker hustling 65 yards for the Silverbacks to score the game's first touchdown
Liad Versolker hustling 65 yards for the Silverbacks to score the game's first touchdownCredit: Tom Nudelman
Betzalel Friedman

This past weekend’s pair of football games were a lot less close than had been expected.

While the Jerusalem Big Blue Lions blew out an injury-depleted Petah Tikva Troopers’ squad 46-0, notching their third straight shutout, on Thursday, the Mazkeret Batya Silverbacks registered the franchise’s first-ever blowout win on Friday, defeating the Be’er Sheva Swarm handily, 40-6.

Petah Tikva (3-3), the defending champions, were forced to start their fourth-string QB, second-string RB and their fourth-best WR against Jerusalem (6-0), the league’s top team, and it wasn’t pretty.

Gideon Reiz got the start at QB for the Troopers, and his first pass attempt was intercepted by IFL interception leader Binyamin Schultz. David Abell threw a touchdown pass to Ezzy Jaski, 6-0. The rest of the game wasn’t that much different.

After Troopers punter Enrique Roth knelt to pick up a low snap, and was whistled down at the PT 6-yard line, Jerome Wojtalik promptly ran in a score, 12-0. Abell connected with Jaski for two more first half touchdowns to take a 26-0 lead into the break.

Wojtalik rushed for a 52-yard touchdown on the first play from scrimmage of the second half before backup QB Moshe Shear threw a TD pass to Abell to make it 40-0. Wojtalik ran in the final score.

Abell completed 7/12 passes for 149 yards and three TDs, all TDs to Jaski, who caught 6-137-3. Wojtalik had seven carries for 60 yards and three scores. Leib Sklar was dominant on defense with nine tackles and three sacks.

Reiz completed 5/20 passes for 10 yards and an INT, also leading the team with 24 rushing yards. Yoav Romem had five tackles.

Sensational Silverbacks

On Friday, the win by the Silverbacks (2-4) left the Swarm alone in the league basement at 1-5.

The ‘Backs’ started the scoring when QB Ido Eisikovits threw a screen pass to RB Liad Versolker, who rumbled 65 yards for the first score of the game. The hosts then took advantage of getting great field position, as Eisikovits threw a TD pass to Rotem Oz and a 13-0 lead.

The Swarm answered with a TD pass from Matanel Katz to Ronnie Hayes, 13-6, but that was as close as they’d get.

The Silverbacks scored twice more in the first half, as Oz ran in another score and Eisikovits hit Amit Zamir for a comfortable – and unusual – 27-6 lead.

Mazkeret Batya added two more touchdowns in the second half, both on runs by Ohad Samuely.

Eisikovits completed 8/14 passes for 128 yards and three scores. Samuely rushed 19 times for 122 yards and two scores and Versolker caught one pass for a 65-yard score as well as 37 yards on 11 carries. Tomer Hazan led the defense with eight tackles and a sack.

The Silverbacks travel to Tel Aviv on Saturday night to play the Pioneers, and the Swarm have a week off to regroup before a pivotal home-and-away series against the Haifa Underdogs.