Sunday, December 18, 2005

Game 6 - Postponed

Yerushalayim recieved plenty of rain over Friday night. As a result, the field at Ramat Eshkol was not playable on Saturday night, so Derech Etz Chaim's game was postponed. No make-up date has been scheduled yet.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Team News -Vol. 2.5

  • Derech Etz Chaim is now 0-5 and in 23rd place in the Saturday Night Division. The team has been eliminated from the bowl game qualifying-round. After their sixth game this weekend, the team's remaining games will be against teams who are of the worst 20 in the league.
  • DEC's upcoming schedule includes a game in Week 8 against Waxman Warriors, followed by two consecutive bye weeks.
  • The team would like to wish a tzeischem l'shalom to team captain, Moshe Franklin, who is going back to America on Sunday to begin his studies at Lander College for Men.
  • So far, Isaac Manaster has raised 25 shekels for tzedakah through his "I-Sack For Tzedakah" promotion. If you would like to donate 5 shekels to tzedakah for every sack that Isaac records this season, please email

Monday, December 12, 2005

Game 5 Recap

Derech Etz Chaim played another exciting game on Saturday night against Olive at Kraft Stadium. The team was trying to win their first game of the season.

Olive gained possesion after DEC failed to score on 4th-and-goal. They put together a drive that culminated in a touchdown, giving them a 6-0 lead.

Later in the first half, DEC tied the game when quarterback Betzalel Gersten threw a 50-yard touchdown pass to wide-reciever Elan Noorparvar. On the extra-point attempt, Gersten found Noorparvar in the back of the end zone, giving DEC a 7-6 halftime lead. It was DEC's first lead since Week 1.

After recieving the kickoff, the offense was able to push the ball downfield. The drive was capped with a touchdown. Wide-reciever Max Gornish caught Gersten's tipped pass, doing so for the second consecutive game.

Up now by seven points, the defense still had alot of work ahead of them. Olive scored another touchdown with four minutes remaining in the game. The defense did not allow Olive to score on the extra-point attempt, retaining a 13-12 lead.

The offense had an opportunity to run out the clock by gaining a couple of first-downs, but was forced to a 3-and-out, giving the ball back to Olive with a minute remaining.

By then, the momentum had shifted towards Olive, allowing them to pull-off this last-minute drive. The drive ended in a touchdown, giving Olive an 18-12 lead with 20 seconds on the clock. Although there was enough time for a few plays, the offense could not come up with an answer, adding one more loss to their already frustrating season.

The offense had plenty of time to put the game out of reach. Their play after reaching 1st-and-Goal had improved in the last few games, but this week they scored just once in three chances. They could have won or tied if they had converted on one more of those chances.

Even so, the defense was playing well enough for the first three-quarters of the game for them to win by scoring just 13 points. Why the defense couldn't maintain their level of play for the last quarter of the game we will never know. Both units continue to play very well, but not for the duration of the game. How to fix this problem has been the mystery of the season.

The video crew didn't have any problems this week. We hope you'll enjoy the highlights we've prepared.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Game 4 Recap

Derech Etz Chaim played its best and most exciting game of the season on Saturday night against the Ner Yaakov Cobras.

On the first drive of the game, DEC took a huge risk by going for a first-down on 4th-and-10 from their own 15-yard-line. When wide-receiver Jonah Zisquit had his defender beat, it looked as if the gamble would pay off, but the usually sure-handed Zisquit let the pass slip through his hands.

The defense was unable to stop Ner Yaakov from scoring on that drive. In all, Ner Yaakov scored three times in the first half to take a 20-0 lead.

When they regained possession with just minutes before halftime, DEC was determined to send a message that they weren't just going to bow down to the defending Holyland Bowl champs. Though they were able to drive downfield, it appeared that the offense wouldn't put up any points on the board before halftime as a 4th-down pass fell incomplete. Fortunately, the offense was redeemed when a defensive penalty gave them an extra play. This time, quarterback Betzalel Gersten found wide-receiver Max Gornish in the end-zone to make the halftime score 20-6.

Zisquit intercepted a tipped pass on Ner Yaakov's first drive of the half, but the play was negated by a roughing-the-passer penalty. They eventually scored a touchdown on that possession to take a 28-6 lead.

On the next drive, the offense looked to have had enough of the physical and emotional abuse they had taken from Ner Yaakov and their fans, respectively. The game seemed to be over when DEC lined up to punt on 4th-and-20. The same was the case even after a 5-yard penalty against Ner Yaakov. But when Ner Yaakov incurred another 5-yard penalty on the next play, the offense decided to go for a first down on 4th-and-10. Gersten first connected with Zisquit to gain a 1st-down and then again for a touchdown, making it a 28-12 game.

The defense made a tall stand and quickly gave the ball back to the offense. Gersten led a drive that culminated in another touchdown pass to Zisquit. A successful extra-point attempt made the score 28-20.

With just a few minutes remaining in the game, the defense had to make a huge stop if the offense was going to get another shot at the end zone. Ner Yaakov advanced towards the end zone, but the defense survived a few incomplete passes that could have ended the game.

The offense took over with a minute remaining in the game. They demonstrated beautiful clock management by gaining quick clock-stopping first downs and were aided as well by some defensive penalties. After driving close to the goal line, there was only time for one more play. Ner Yaakov was able to deflect the touchdown pass away from the intended receiver, but the ball was miraculously tipped directly into Gornish's hands. The comeback was not yet complete. DEC still needed to make a 2-point conversion. Gersten scrambled away from pressure, then threw a pass to his receiver. Ner Yaakov knocked the ball to the ground, escaping with a 2-point victory, their second straight win by 3 points or less.

So another game and another "coulda, woulda, shoulda." One thing that seems to be missing from this team, that is an evident attribute of the teams that are beating DEC, is a killer instinct. This is most likely because it's a team of nice yeshiva guys(which is a good thing).

DEC hasn't had a lead since they led 6-0 over Norman's in Week 1. They've been right there the last two games, but they just can't seem to get that extra little "umph" their opponents are getting.

This was the second game in a row where the team played very well, but for just one half of the game. They probably won't get a win until both units put in a solid effort for an entire 50 minutes.

The team will head into the bye week with a record of 0-4. They can really use a week off to regroup because if they're going to make the bowl game qualifying round with four losses, they're gonna need to make up the gap in their point-differential, the first tie-braking statistic, which currently stands at -82.

The video crew ran into some technical difficulties during the game, so the video quality, and the amount of video taken, are sub-par this week. At any rate, we do have a highlight clip.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Game 4 Preview

Derech Etz Chaim will start on a trek to save their season from the fire-breathing dragon this Saturday night. Their journey will first take them to Ramat Eshkol Field where they will have to daringly dance their way past a throng of Ner Yaakov Cobras.

DEC, who sits at 0-3, is in a must-win situation because it is not likely that they will enter the bowl game qualifying round with four losses. Although they are coming off their best performance of the season, it will probably take an even better game to defeat the defending Holyland Bowl champions.

The Cobras are coming off an emotional 3-point win over Tiferes Yerushalayim(TJ) in Week 4 but are just 1-1 on the season as a result of their loss to Tov Pizza. They are DEC's first non-undefeated opponent of the season. Still, they are not the kind of team you want to face in a must-win situation.

Commentary 1

Anonymous said...

Why do you guys have the hardest schedule in the whoooooole world!

Anonymous may have been asking a rhetorical question, but I'm going to answer anyways because it's not often that I get to write commentary in this fashion.
The schedule is made up mostly of teams that signed up to play in the same time slot as us. In other words, it's basically arbitrary. And even more so in our case because unlike every other team, we didn't get to choose our time slot; we were placed in a time slot by the league.
Within each time slot there are more teams than there are games. So we don't play every team in our time slot. Which teams you play and which teams you don't is also determined pretty much at random.
The only games that aren't scheduled incidentally, for the most part, are those that the league schedules because they are high-interest matchups. For example, in Week 2 a game featured a rematch of last year's Holyland Bowl.
So the answer to your question is that there is no answer. The sensible follow-up question to that is, "Why us?" There are 52 teams in the league, and somehow Derech Etz Chaim gets the hardest schedule.
The standings go by points. A win is worth three points; one point for a tie; and no points for a loss. I determine a team's Strength of Schedule Number(SOS#) by dividing the sum of all their opponents' points by the sum of all their opponents' games played(their average points per game).
The league has revealed the identity of four of DEC's opponents: Norman's has 6 points after 2 games; Tov Pizza has 9 points after 3 games; Pizzeria Efrat has 9 points after 3 games; and Ner Yaakov has 3 points after 2 games. The equation then is (6+9+9+3)/(2+3+3+2). That comes out to be a league leading SOS# of 2.7!
This is one of the reasons why we are so upset about the referees not giving us a safety against Pizzeria Efrat. The league has already given us the hardest schedule. We don't need the referees to make it even harder for us to win by taking points away from us. What's next? Three-down-sets for DEC?
The good news though, is that we may have a way of removing the randomness of the schedule. News about this development will hopefully be announced in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!

If you have any more questions for us at DEC Football, we'd be more than glad to answer.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Team News - Vol. 2.4

  • Derech Etz Chaim's loss to Pizzeria Efrat drops their record to 0-3. They are now in 22nd place in the Saturday Night Division.
  • DEC will face the defending Holyland Bowl champion Ner Yaakov Cobras in Week 5. It will be the league's first game this season at Ramat Eshkol Field. That will be followed with a bye in Week 6.
  • Before Week 4, Moshe Herzig was deactivated to open a roster spot for Eliyahu Kenigsberg.
  • With this sack, Isaac Manaster raised 25 shekels for tzedakah through his "I-Sack For Tzedakah" promotion. If you would like to donate 5 shekels to tzedakah for every sack that Isaac records this season, please email

Friday, November 18, 2005

Game 3 Preview

Derech Etz Chaim will face their third undefeated opponent in three games when they take on Pizzeria Efrat this Saturday night at Kraft Stadium. DEC will try to record their first win after dropping their first two games.

The record of the teams that Pizzeria Efrat has defeated is a combined 0-3, so it's difficult to tell how good they are just based on their record. But Pizzeria Efrat is a franchise that has existed since the days of American Touch Football in Israel. So old, in fact, that they could probably have a promotion where they wear throwback uniforms for one game. One has to assume that this is going to be a tough game to win because of Pizzeria Efrat's tradition of excellence.

In order for DEC to win, the offense will have to not only drive down the field, as they have shown to be capable of doing, but will have to punch the ball into the end zone once they get to the goal line. The offense's ineptitude in doing this is mainly why their record sits at 0-2. If they don't find a way to score more points soon, the top tier may become out of reach.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Team News - Vol. 2.3

  • After their 62-7 loss to Tov Pizza, Derech Etz Chaim fell to 0-2 on the season, good for 21st place in the Saturday Night Division. If the first round of the season were to end today, DEC would be in the second tier for the next round.
  • The Week 4 game against Pizzeria Efrat will be the second and final game of the DEC Pizza Tour.
  • Eliyahu Kenigsberg was deactivated prior to Week 3 to make room on the roster for starting quarterback Betzalel Gersten.

Game 2 Recap

On Saturday night, Derech Etz Chaim found out first hand why Tov Pizza is the early favorite to win the Holyland Bowl. They scored early and often, on offense and defense, ultimately putting 62 points on the board. That's not to say that the DEC defense played poorly. Rather, Tov Pizza's offense was just too much to handle.

By halftime it was apparent that the only accomplishment that would be attainable was to become the first team in three games to score against Tov Pizza. As the second half moved along, it seemed unlikely that even this would happen, until quarterback Betzalel Gersten's 50-yard pass got tipped into the hands of receiver Elan Noorpavar for the touchdown. Everyone was relieved to learn that Tov Pizza is indeed human.

From the offense's play, it was evident that one area in particular needs significant improvement. Three different times DEC's offense reached 1st-and-Goal, but all three times they were denied a touchdown. In their first two games, the offense has had a 1st-and-Goal seven times but has scored just once. This is a problem that needs to be fixed soon or the team can kiss their season goodbye.

You can watch some of our players in action by clicking here.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Game 2 Preview

Saturday night will bring another opportunity for Derech Etz Chaim to notch their first victory of the season. Their Week 3 opponent will be Tov Pizza, a team mostly composed of players from last season's second place finishers, Lyons Capital.

Anybody outside of yeshiva will tell you that this game is going to be a walkover. There is no way that an 0-1 team is going to be able to upset the first place team that hasn't given up a single point in their first two games.

The players and fans, on the other hand, are a little bit more optimistic. The bye week gave some members of the team an opportunity to conduct an in-depth scouting report on Tov Pizza. The report may have
uncovered some clues as to how to topple this seemingly unstopable football monster.

Though the team did lose in Week 1, the defense allowed Norman's to score just twice. A similar performance will surely be required this week. The unit is confident that they can play with this weapon-loaded opponent and come out with a similar outcome.

The biggest reason to believe that DEC can win this game is the offense's untapped potential. In Week 1, with backup quarterback Moshe Franklin at the helm, the offense reached the goal line multiple times, but scored just once. With starting quarterback Betzalel Gersten making his DEC debut, there is hope that his talent, experience and offensive scheme can get the team over the hump that kept them from handily beating Norman's.

Tov Pizza is an opponent that can be used as a good measuring device. Playing well against them could be a morale lifter, but a victory would be a real confidence booster. A win would suddenly put DEC on the map of Holyland Bowl contenders.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Team News - Vol. 2.2

  • DEC's Week 3 opponent will be Tov Pizza-Baltimore's Finest Kosher Pizza(Chanan Baer insists that his father's is better).
  • Starting quarterback Betzalel Gersten has returned from America and will be making his football debut for Derech Etz Chaim.
  • The team spent the bye week kicking themselves over their six-point loss to Norman's Steak N' Burger.
  • When the AFI standings were updated after Week 2, it revealed that Derech Etz Chaim had moved up from 17th to 16th place in the Saturday Night Division. If the season were to end today, DEC would be in the top tier for the second round of the season.
  • Rav Mendel was suspended indefinitely for comments he made in an interview. Consequently, retailers marked down all Rav Mendel replica jersey's to almost free. In an attempt to cash in on the debacle, Eli Mirlis marched through Yerushalayim, and bought all the jerseys he could find and then sold them as a wholesale lot on eBay.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Game 1 Recap

Derech Etz Chaim began its 2005-2006 schedule on Friday October 28 against Norman's Steak N' Burger at Kraft Stadium. The game was highlighted by veteran Moshe Franklin's first career start at quarterback, necessitated by the absence of Betzalel Gersten, who will be the starting quarterback when he returns from America.

The game started on a positive note when the special teams unit only allowed Norman's to return Franklin's kickoff to their own 5-yard-line. The defense then held the Norman's offense to a three-and-out and took possession at the Norman's 23-yard-line as a result of a botched punt.

DEC's first drive began with a rush by Eliyahu Kenigsberg for 7 yards and a rush by Franklin for 10 yards which brought a 3rd-and-3 from the 6-yard-line. The Norman's defense held for the next two plays and DEC had to give up the ball on downs.

The defense gave up some yardage to Norman's on the ensuing drive but was able to keep them from scoring, regaining the ball at their own 6-yard-line. Even with the entire field in front of him, Franklin led the offense to a quick score, throwing a 50-yard touchdown pass to receiver Jonah Zisquit. DEC took just a 6-0 lead when a pass went right through the hands of receiver Moshe Ephron during the extra point attempt.

On their next possession, Norman's was once again able to drive down the field, but Franklin intercepted a pass at the DEC 2-yard-line to keep them from scoring. After the interception, the offense first avoided the threat of a safety with a 9-yard pass to tight end Eli Mirlis. Then Kenigsberg gained a first-down with a 9-yard catch and a 3-yard rush. The offense was unable to muster another yard on the drive, so a Franklin punt through the end zone gave Norman's the ball on their own 10-yard-line with about two minutes remaining in the half.

Though they were successful in keeping Norman's out of the end zone, the defense felt that the Norman's quarterback was able to run more than they were comfortable with. Subsequently, the defense switched schemes from a man-on-man to a zone defense. Although the quarterback was unable to run as much, he was able to find his receivers in the cracks of the zone. This was the case when he found an open receiver in the corner of the end zone from the 10-yard-line on 4th-down. A missed extra point attempt left the game tied at 6-6.

The DEC offense had the intimidating task of driving 50 yards in 17 seconds. The first play was a 25-yard pass to Zisquit, followed by a 23-yard pass to Kenigsberg, leaving enough time for a final play. As Franklin rolled right, it appeared that they might pull off the amazing feat, but he was sacked just before he released the pass as the clock ran out.

Mike Deutsch started the second half with a 22-yard kick return to the DEC 23-yard-line. Kenigsberg carried the offense on this drive with a 26-yard catch and a 6-yard rush to get the offense to the Norman's 5-yard-line. The offense was again unable to cash in from short distance on three consecutive plays.

After the teams exchanged interceptions, Norman's put together a scoring drive from their 10-yard line. Another missed extra point attempt put the score at 12-6 with just minutes remaining in the game. DEC wasn't able to formulate another scoring drive, and had to take a loss in a game they pretty much dominated.

This one will sting for a while as the team will have bye in week 2 of the AFI season.

The offense was able to advance the ball the entire game, and in that sense they looked great all day. Franklin put up a solid performance, considering the circumstances, gaining chunks of yards on the ground and going 8 for 15 in the air. But no team is going to win when they don't score in the red zone, like DEC, who was 1 for 4 from within the 10-yard-line.

There was some controversy after the game when it was revealed that Norman's used a few ineligible players, but long discussions with league officials have not resulted in the altering of the outcome.

The loss puts DEC's record at 0-1 on the season, good for 17th place in the Saturday Night Division.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Game 1 Preview

Derech Etz Chaim begins its 2005-2006 football season on Friday October 28 at Kraft Stadium against Norman's. It will be the first of the five-game initial phase of the season which will determine whether DEC is placed in the top or bottom half of the league for the second phase of the season.

In order for DEC to improve over last season's mark of 6-5, the team will have to jell quicker than last season. A season ago, the team didn't record a "W" until the fifth game. Although they did roll off a string of six victories, those first four losses put the team in a must-win position until the end of the season. A more comfortable season will require early-season victories.

A win in the first game will be hard to achieve considering that the starting quarterback this week, team captain Moshe Franklin, has never played quarterback in his two AFI seasons. Although his athleticism cannot be denied, whether or not he has the head and the leadership skills it takes to lead the team up and down the field remains to be seen. His play alone may be the deciding factor in the game and, if he is successful, how the rest of the season unfolds.

Another hurdle that stands in the way of the team jelling quickly is the amount of rookies on the team. The amount of rookies on last year's squad may have been what kept the team from winning their first four games. Both the offensive and defensive lines, units which are the keys to a winning season, are stacked with rookies as well as other key positions. The fate of the team will depend on how quickly this year's rookies can pick up the nuances of the game.

They'll get their first opportunity to show what they can do this weekend.

Team News - Vol. 2.1

  • Starting quarterback Betzalel Gersten has not yet returned from his bein hazmanim trip to America and has been deactivated. Third year safety/punter Moshe Franklin will start at quarterback in his place.
  • Mordy Kramer returned from America just minutes before game time. He made the trip overseas for his sister's wedding. Mazel Tov!
  • The team would like to congratulate former Derech Etz Chaim football player Tzvi Finman upon his engagement to Malka Strajcher of Los Angeles. Mazel Tov!

2005-2006 Roster

Name - Shanah
Shaya Adler - 1
Michael Deutsch - 2
Zack Eisner - Billion
Moshe Ephron - 1
Moshe Franklin* - 3
Betzalel Gersten - Kollel
Ari Gold - Billion
Max Gornish - 2
Moshe Herzig - 1
Eliyahu Kenigsberg - 4
Mordy Kramer - 1
Yehuda Leeder - 1
Isaac Manaster - 2
Dani Meisels - 2
Eli Mirlis - 1
Elan Noorpavar - 1
Ben Tabaria - 2
Peter Tepler - 1
Jonah Zisquit - 2

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

New Feature

Have you ever visited us hoping to read about Derech Etz Chaim's latest victory only to be disappointed that the recap hadn't been posted yet? Have you ever visited us and found that you had some catching up to do? Then our new feature is for you!

Now you can sign up to receive an email alerting you that the DEC Football blog has been updated. Just click here or send an email to and you'll always know when the latest news on your favorite team or player is available.

Monday, October 10, 2005

And we're back...

In preparation for the upcoming 2005-2006 AFI season, Derech Etz Chaim played a 25 minute scrimmage game against Toras Shraga on Motzei Shabbos October 8. It was DEC's first action on the new FieldTurf installed at Kraft Stadium. The match up was organized just two hours before game time resulting in sloppy lineups as well as sloppy play.

DEC controlled the ball for much of the game. They marched down field on their first possession only to give up an interception at the Toras Shraga ten yard line. A deep pass to a wide open receiver gave DEC the lead, but went up by just six after the extra point attempt failed. DEC looked to the defense to maintain the lead because the offense was unable to put any more points on the board.

The defensive line's three sacks kept Toras Shraga's offense at bay for most of the night. When their starting quarterback suffered a dislocated shoulder, it didn't look like they would be able to mount a comeback. Much to DEC's surprise Toras Shraga's backup came in and played better than the starter. He capped a last minute drive with a 20-yard touchdown pass. The extra point with no time remaining was successful, giving Toras Shraga the victory.

The final roster will be announced shortly and will be posted once it is available.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

AP article

Here's an article from the AP which mentions the grand re-opening of Kraft Stadium, the league's central venue.

Kraft takes Lombardi trophy to Israel

JERUSALEM -- Ailing New England linebacker Tedy Bruschi's first responsibility is to his family, team owner Robert Kraft said, refusing to speculate about whether the stroke the linebacker suffered last week would end his career.

Kraft, in Jerusalem on Wednesday to attend the reopening of a stadium he funded for an Israeli flag football league, focused on the ailing Bruschi during a tour of the Old City. Last week, the linebacker asked the team's owner to pray for him.

Following up, Kraft said he tucked a piece of paper in the Western Wall, a common practice at Judaism's holiest site. Moments later, a man approached Kraft and asked him if the paper prayer was for Bruschi.

"The nice thing is that people in Israel are following football in America," Kraft said.

Kraft, whose team has won three of the last four Super Bowls, stood beside the Vince Lombardi trophy with the Old City behind him.

"This is the first time in the history of American football that the trophy has ever been outside of America," Kraft said.

Kraft drew a parallel between his very American sport and the way Israel is run.

"You get three out of four Super Bowls by subjugating the ego for the good of the whole," he said. "In Israel, this is in the fabric of the country, to create a democracy that thrives against the odds."

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Game 11

Derech Etz Chaim made its fourth appearance at Ziv Field in the first round of the Terem Bowl Playoffs on Motzei Shabbos. They're opponent was the sixth seed, Targum Shlishi, from Bais Yisroel.

Kicker Moshe Franklin began the game with another kick through the end zone. Even though Targum had to begin at their own 20 yard-line, they were able to score with a deep pass to the 1 yard-line and then a subsequent touchdown pass. They scored in similar fashion three more times in the first half.

DEC though didn't back down. They also scored four times in the first half, with three touchdown catches by Jonah Zisquit and one by Zack Eisner. They also scored one more extra point than Targum, giving them a 26-25 halftime lead.

Both teams made excellent defensive adjustments during the halftime break, which made for a very uneventful second half. Both teams were able to drive the ball downfield, but neither were able to punch it in until Targum scored with less than 10 minutes remaining.

On their second-to-last possession, DEC gave the ball over on downs after they didn't convert on 4th and 1 from the Targum 15 yard-line. With thirty seconds remaining, DEC took over near their own goal line, but quarterback Eli Berkowitz was unable to hook up with any of his receivers downfield before time, and the season, ran out.

After their six straight wins, it appeared that the team had worked out all the glitches, but this game proved that that was not so. It was a contest full of penalties. Both the defense and offense looked out of synch at different points in the game.

After the game though, the team was well spirited as they reminisced about the overall winning season they had just completed. The loss dropped the team to 6-5-0, a figure the team was generally happy about.

The DEC student body now turns its attention to softball. You can follow DEC's softball team, which is expected to begin play within the next four weeks, online: Derech Etz Chaim Softball Team

You can follow the remainder of the American Football in Israel playoffs online as well: AFI playoffs

We hope everyone will check back next year for a new season of Derech Etz Chaim football!

Mazel Tov

The entire team would like to wish a mazel tov to teammate Eliyahu Kenigsberg on his engagement. Mazel Tov, Eliyahu!

Monday, January 24, 2005

Game 11 Preview

The eleventh seeded Derech Etz Chaim begins its drive towards the Terem Bowl this Motzei Shabbos, January 29, against the sixth seeded Targum Shlishi(affiliated with Bais Yisroel). The game will be played at 8:25 at AFI's alternate venue, Ziv Field.

Targum Shlishi, with a record of 4-5-1, will try to win for the first time in two months. Alternatively, DEC, with a record of 6-4-0, will try to extend their six-game winning streak.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Playoff Preview

American football in Israel(AFI) released the seedings and brackets today for the two playoff tournaments after last night's games closed the regular season.

Derech Etz Chaim finished the second round of the regular season as one of only six teams to win all four of their games. That effort qualified Derech Etz Chaim for the Terem Bowl(aka "lower tier") Playoffs. They will be joined by (now stick with me folks) the next six best teams from the second-round lower-tier, and the nine worst teams from the second-round higher-tier, for a total of sixteen teams. The Holyland Bowl(aka "higher-tier") Playoffs will be contested by the sixteen best teams from the second-round higher-tier.

The nine higher-tier teams are seeded 1-9, and the seven lower-tier teams are seeded 10-16. DEC finished the second round with 140 points for and 36 points against for a difference of 104. Fantasy Sports, who also won all four of their games, finished with 144 points for and 36 points against for a difference of 108. Since DEC finished four differential points behind Fantasy Sports, they came a close second in the lower-tier standings and were placed as the eleventh seed.

Complete seedings and brackets

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Game 10

Although it did rain on Saturday in Yerushalayim, it wasn't enough to postpone Derech Etz Chaim's game against Medevils. It was to be both teams' final game of the second round. DEC was looking to complete the round without a mark to its record.

Kicker Moshe Franklin began the game with a kickoff that went through the end zone, making Medevils' line of scrimmage the 20 yard-line. Alumnus Benjy Sassoon, making his first appearance of the season, picked off the pass on Medevils' first play from scrimmage. The ensuing drive was capped by Eliyahu Keningsberg's 5-yard touchdown rush, which was lead by offensive linemen Ellis Ballew and, another alumnus making his first appearance of the season, Seth Faigen. The extra point was missed, but DEC still took a 6-0 lead.

Isaac Manaster's sack helped hold the Medevils' offense, but when DEC's offense took over, quarterback Eli Berkowitz's pass was intercepted near the goal line.

After the defense made a third consecutive hold, Berkowitz hit Zack Eisner with a pass from midfield on the first play of the drive to take a 12-0 lead.

Medevils began their next possession with a minute remaining in the half. They effectively employed their "two-minute offense" and succeeded in scoring, making it a 12-6 game at halftime.

DEC received the second-half kickoff and drove down the field, eventually scoring on a 15-yard touchdown pass. Jonah Zisquit's catch put the team up 18-6. A similar 15-yard touchdown catch by Zisquit on the team's last possession made the score 24-6. Since the 17-point mercy rule was in effect, the game ended with a minute remaining on the game clock.

DEC relied much more on the running game against Medevils than against any other opponent. Keningsberg gained about 60 yards on 6 rushing attempts. Berkowitz gained about 30 yards on 5 rushing attempts and also threw three touchdown passes. On the defensive side, Manaster and Ballew recorded 1.5 sacks each.

By winning their sixth consecutive game, DEC completed the second round with a record of 4-0, and 6-4 overall. Their undefeated record in the round is good for first place in their division and a spot in the lower-tier single-elimination playoffs, which are set to begin on January 28. In order for DEC to advance to and eventually win the Terem Bowl, they will have to face opponents who are decidedly better than the teams they have beaten in their last six games. Undoubtedly though, the team is much better off with this six-game wining streak, as it has given the team the confidence boost, as well as the much needed momentum, that it will take to defeat the competition they now face.

Additional information regarding the playoffs will be posted as it becomes available.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Game 10 Preview

This Motzei Shabbos, January 15, Derech Etz Chaim will try to clinch a spot in the final round of the AFI season as they take on Medevils. A win would give DEC a first-place finish in their secound-round division, and an automatic ticket to the final round. A loss would give the team a second-place finish, in which case tiebrakers would determine whether or not DEC advances to the next round.

DEC takes its five game winning streak into the game against the only other team in the secound-round division who is also undefeated. The game will be at 10:30 PM at Ramat Eshkol, where AFI games are being played while Kraft Stadium is being resurfaced with synthetic grass. A 50% chance of rain on Saturday may postpone the game until next week.

If DEC does advance to the final phase of the AFI season, they will be one of 16 teams in the lower tier single-elimination playoff, which leads to the Terem Bowl. Another 16 teams will be in the higher tier single-elimination playoff, which leads to the Holyland Bowl. Both bowl games are expected to be contested on February 18th at the refurbished Kraft Stadium in the presence of New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft..

Thursday, January 13, 2005


Player - Position - Shanah
Ballew, Ellis - off./def. lineman - 1
Berkowitz, Eli - quarterback - 3
Deutsch, Mike - wide reciever/cornerback - 1
Eisner, Zack* - wide reciever/linebacker - 3
Faigen, Seth - offensive lineman - billion
Franklin, Moshe - cornerback/safety/kicker - 2
Gonik, Jay - off./def. lineman - 1
Gornish, Max - wide reciever - 1
Keningsberg, Eliyahu - wide reciever/cornerback - 3
Malkin, Danny - wide reciever - 1
Manaster, Isaac - off./def. lineman - 1
Meisels, Dani - off./def. lineman - 1
Sassoon, Benjy - wide reciever/safety - billion
Zisquit, Jonah - wide reciever/cornerback - 1


Derech Etz Chaim's Official Website:
American Football in Israel