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.