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.