Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Game 4 Recap

Derech Etz Chaim played Pizzeria Efrat at Kraft Stadium on November 25.

DEC received the ball to begin the game, but the offense had trouble building any momentum.
Meanwhile on defense, quarterback rushes and missed flags helped Pizzeria Efrat quickly build a two-score lead.

Finally reaching a 1st-and-Goal, the DEC offense stalled in the red zone. A dropped touchdown pass and a sack on 4th Down helped Pizzeria Efrat maintain their lead.

After DEC managed to score twice on acrobatic touchdown catches by wide receivers Sam Israel and Jonah Zisquit, it appeared the clubs would go to halftime with an even score. But two long rushes by the Pizzeria Efrat quarterback with under a minute left in the half gave them a 19-13 halftime lead.

DEC's first drive of the second half featured two long passes to wide receiver Jonah Zisquit, the second of which was for a touchdown.

Unfortunately, the defense was met with an immediate response and another Efrat touchdown.

After some confusion among the referees delayed the game for several minutes, quarterback Betzalel Gersten ran the ball into the end zone from the 12-yard line.

Holding on to a five point lead with less than a minute left to play, Pizzeria Efrat had 4th-and-Goal, which represented an opportunity to put the game out of reach. But a block by cornerback Yitzi Adelman gave DEC the ball at the their own 18-yard line and 35 seconds remaining.

The potential winning drive started steady, reaching midfield with 13 seconds left and a couple of opportunities to hit the end zone. Though an interception on the next play seemed to seal their fate, DEC was given renewed hope when a defensive pass interference penalty gave the ball back to them at the Efrat 5-yard line with two seconds remaining. But a blitz together with a covered Zisquit on the ensuing play proved too much to overcome to record a victory. An incomplete pass secured another stinging defeat. The final score was 31-26.

Here are the highlights...

Game 3 Recap

On November 11, Derech Etz Chaim faced Kesher in their third game of the AFI season.

DEC received the ball to start the game, and tallied the first score when quarterback Betzalel Gersten threw a touchdown pass to wide receiver Jonah Zisquit.

The first half saw the sides trade four touchdowns. DEC held a two point lead late in the half by virtue of their two extra-point conversions. Just before halftime, Kesher had an opportunity to tie the game up with a successful two-point conversion. However, they were denied by cornerback Dovi Zwebner, who made a diving play to prevent a catch.

On their first possession of the second half, DEC scored on a 50-yard touchdown pass from Gersten to wide receiver Sam Israel. A missed extra-point attempt kept it a one-possession game.

With Kesher driving, looking to tie the game up with a score and a minute remaining, Zisquit intercepted a pass at the Kesher 20-yard line, forcing a crucial turnover.

With point-differential in mind, DEC elected to try to score another touchdown, instead of just running out the clock. They accomplished their mission when tight end Eli Mirlis caught a pass from Gersten, and rumbled to the end zone, eluding several defenders. His second touchdown of the game gave DEC a 38-24 win.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Game 2 Recap

On Motzei Shabbos November 4th, Derech Etz Chaim took on the defending Holyland Bowl Champions, Big Blue, in the second game of the season.

A tremendous upset seemed possible early when wide-receiver Jonah Zisquit caught a touchdown pass from quarterback Betzalel Gersten for the first score of the game.

The defense kept open the possibility of an upset with their play throughout the game. They held Big Blue to a slim 7-6 halftime lead and just 19 points overall, including three impressive goal-line stands.

Unfortunately, the offense wasn't able to keep their end of the bargain. Big Blue's defensive line harassed Gersten all night, keeping the offense out of rhythm for the entire game, and sacked him about ten times.

Here are the highlights from the game...

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Game 1 Recap

Derech Etz Chaim kicked off their 2006-2007 AFI schedule with a matchup against Vringo on Motzei Shabbos at Kraft Stadium.

Things started out well. After kicking off to start the game, DEC's defensive unit forced Vringo to punt after three unsuccessful downs.

DEC received the ensuing punt at the 12 yard-line, but began their first offensive drive from their own 7 yard-line after an illegal procedure penalty was enforced on 1st Down. The offense overcame the early setback when quarterback Betzalel Gersten found wide-receiver Amitai Scott for a first down. Three downs later, Gersten found wide-receiver Jonah Zisquit in the left corner of the end zone for the first score of the season. DEC went up 7-0 when Gersten connected with tight end Eli Mirlis for the extra point.

From there though, it was pretty much downhill. On Vringo's next possession, they took advantage of a botched blitz attempt , and scored on a long touchdown pass. DEC's lead was maintained, for the time being, when a Vringo pass was dropped on the extra point attempt.

At that point, Vringo successfully adjusted their defensive scheme from "zone" to "man-to-man". Center Dani Meisels was playing hurt and Gersten was met with plenty of pressure from Vringo's defensive line.

The teams traded punts until Vringo put together a lengthy scoring drive to put them on top at the end of the first half by the score of 13-7.

DEC received the second half kickoff and looked like they were gonna turn the game around. Three consecutive passes to Zisquit earned the offense a 1st & Goal at the 5 yard-line. That's when last season's problem of scoring in the red zone showed its ugly head. An incomplete pass, an illegal rush and a false start penalty set up 3rd & Goal from the 15 yard-line. DEC was given a new set of downs to punch the ball into the end zone after a pass-interference penalty was called against the defense. But an ineligible receiver penalty and a sack led to a controversial 3rd Down where Vringo's interception was upheld by a bold "non-call" of a seemingly obvious pass-interference penalty.

Vringo's momentum continued to grow as they went up 20-7 on their next possession. They scored a touchdown on a 1st & Goal that was a result of a pass-interference penalty in the end zone.

Still having enough time to make a comeback, the offense went back at it. They gained a first down when Gersten completed a shovel pass to wide-receiver Sam Israel on 4th & Inches. On the next set of downs, miscommunication between Gersten and the receivers resulted in another interception.

Vringo continued to out-maneuver DEC's "zone" defense, and tacked on another score to make it a 26-7 game.

With seven minutes remaining in the game, DEC made a strategic move that shows how serious they are about qualifying for the top tier playoffs. Instead of trying to get a few quick scores for the win that would have had to involve several high risk plays, they decided to concede the victory. In an effort to keep their point-differential to a minimum, thereby improving their overall standing, they concerned themselves more with putting together a single scoring drive of less risky plays rather than running the risk of their deficit being increased.

Running the "hurry-up offense", they earned a 1st Down at midfield with three short passes, and another with a sideline reception by Israel. Gersten threw a touchdown shovel pass to Scott on 2nd Down, and a defensive penalty on the extra point attempt made the final score 26-14 in favor of Vringo.

The first two drives of the game show us that this team certainly has the potential to do great things. But there are obviously a lot of glitches that need to be worked on. It seems that the offensive line needs to give Gersten some more time to sit in the pocket. The defense apparently just didn't have it this week. In order for the secondary to have a chance in the future, the line has to get better penetration of the quarterback. Rookie mistakes always happen, but the fewer that occur, the more successful this team will be. For their first game though, Israel and Scott played at a respectable level.

Here are the highlights from Week 1...

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

2006-2007 Season Preview

Sukkos is over, and you know what that means: it's time for the AFI season to begin. After winning four of their last six games, Derech Etz Chaim looks to continue that success into the brand new season. Their first game will be on Motzei Shabbos October 21 at Kraft Stadium against Vringo.

If DEC is going have a successful season, they will have to be carried by the veterans. So let's meet the team's returning players and watch some of their finer moments from last season...

Last season, Isaac Manaster raised 367.5 shekels for tzedakah through his "I-Sack For Tzedakah" promotion. If you would like to pledge 5 shekels to tzedakah for every sack that Isaac records this season, please email to notify us of your pledege. At the end of the season we will email you how many sacks Isaac has recorded.

If you would like 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.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Team News - Vol. 2.9

  • With his 9.5 sacks this season, Isaac Manaster raised pledges for tzedakah totaled at 367.5 shekels.
  • As you might recall, we mentioned before the season began that how long it takes for the team to jell would be a big factor in determining what kind of season the team has. It indeed turned out that that was a big reason why Derech Etz Chaim finished with a 4-8 record. The team played at an extremely high level towards the end of the season, totally obliterating their opponents. But it took an extremely long time to get to that level.

    There were several reasons why it took so long for the team to jell. The roster included many rookies, and they, just like all other rookies before them, took a while to get comfortable with playing in the league. For most it was their first time playing competitive football. Quarterback Betzalel Gersten, who has been out of the game for a few years, had to get reacclimated with the game and with his abilities. Another huge stumbling block was the extremely hard schedule that was given to us by the league. The team really wasn't able to get going until the final weeks of the season.

    Though I won't name any specific players, it looks like there is a good core of players who will be returning for next season. Hopefully their history of playing together and the experience they have gained from this season will help them jell next season in a more timely manner, and ultimately put them in a position to fight for a bowl game.

    I hope you've all enjoyed following the team this season as much as I have enjoyed supplying the coverage. Hopefully there will be someone here next year who will be able to take the pain...

    ...and give you the coverage you want.

    Let's now take a look back at the fun we've had this season.

    Don't fret though my friends. You can catch the Derech Etz Chaim softball team on our sister blog. The season begins this weekend!

    Until next season, so long from DEC Football.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Game 12 Recap

All eyes were on Kraft Stadium this past Saturday night for the slew of AFI's championship games. Only METV stood between Derech Etz Chaim and the Tier 4 trophy.

METV took control early by returning an interception for a touchdown. As was the case in their earlier meeting, the defense was unable to take care of business and METV took an 18-0 lead.

DEC finally made it a game when they scored just before the half.

Quarterback Max Gornish found wide receiver Elan Noorparvar in the end zone, cutting the deficit to 12 points.

The offense did their part by scoring two more times in the second half. First on a pass to tight end Eli Mirlis...

...and then on a pass to wide receiver Jonah Zisquit.

But in the end, METV was too much for the defense to handle, and the game ended with the disappointing score of 40-18.

Please enjoy the highlights from the championship game.

We're not finished quite yet. Stay tuned for the blog's season review.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Game 11 Recap

Derech Etz Chaim continued their charge toward Tier 4 glory as they faced the #1 seed, Israel 21C, in a semifinal matchup.

The offense carried over its domination from last week to this week's game. They got the scoring started on their first drive from scrimmage.

Quarterback Betzalel Gersten found wide-receiver Elan Noorparvar, who then found his way past the defenders and into the end zone. A reception by wide-receiver Jonah Zisquit on the extra-point attempt gave DEC an early 7-0 lead.

DEC's next score was the only one that came from within the red zone. Gersten found Noorparvar again, this time in the back of the end zone, to take a 13-0 lead.

DEC went up 19-0 on a touchdown pass to wide-receiver Jonah Zisquit.

Israel 21C finally got on the board late in the second half on a pass that the defense should have been able to block.

Having witnessed Israel 21C get a score they shouldn't have gotten, the offense felt obligated to get it back for the defense.

Gersten found wide-receiver Max Gornish for a touchdown on another fake run.

Israel 21C tried to gain momentum before halftime with a score but Gersten would have none of that. Filling in at safety, he intercepted a long pass by making a terrific catch. Then, with just seconds remaining in the half, he threw a nice pass of his own...

...which ultimately found Noorparvar's hands, giving DEC a 31-6 halftime lead.

The second half continued with more offensive brilliance.

Another fake run opened up the field for Zisquit who ran 30 yards for the touchdown after making the catch at midfield.

Israel 21C refused to close up shop and managed to score a touchdown, cutting the deficit to 38-12.

The lawyers teamed up for the next touchdown and extra-point, to go up by a score 45-12.

Israel 21C kept working though, and earned a touchdown for good measure.

Everyone knew that DEC was butter 'cuz they were on a roll. While the game was well in their pockets, they continued to play.

After catching a Gersten pass, Zisquit ran 35 yards for a touchdown. Gornish caught a pass on the two-point conversion to make it 53-18 game.

The defense wasn't about to let the offense take all the glory. They decided to close the game by making their own final impression. On the final play of the game...

,/p>...Noorparvar intercepted a pass at the DEC 20-yard line. After running the ball back 20 yards, he made a lateral pass to Gersten, who subsequently ran the ball into the end zone, making the final score 59-18.

With the victory, DEC heads to the Tier 4 championship game where they will face METV.

Please enjoy the highlights we have prepared this week.



Feb. 3, 2006 11:44
Yosef Goodman's funeral begins
By Yaakov Katz And JPOST STAFF

The funeral ceremony of Yosef Goodman, 20, began at Jerusalem's Mt. Herzl
military cemetery on Friday at 11:30 a.m.

Goodman, an IDF soldier from the elite Maglan unit, was killed Thursday in a
parachute training accident in a military base south of Ashdod. Goodman lived in
Efrat, but was originally from New York.

Goodman jumped from an IDF plane together with other soldiers in a training
exercise at the IDF's Nizanim base. When his parachute opened, however, it got
entangled with the squad commander's parachute. Both soldiers cut their
parachutes, and while one succeeded in opening his reserve parachute, Goodman
did not and fell to the ground. Magen David Adom medics pronounced his death at
the scene.

The mishap marked the IDF's first training accident of 2006.

The army said the Military Police planned to launch an investigation into the
accident, which would also be probed by Col. Harel Knafo from the IDF Ground
Forces Command.

Goodman was the second of nine children, and his parents Mordechai and Ann
ran the local Efrat pizzeria. Both father and son played in the American
Football League in Israel (AFI).

"Yosef was an amazing athlete," recalled Steve Leibowitz, president of the
AFI. "He was a fearless player and had great athletic ability. He was by far one
of the best players in the country."

But beyond his athletic skills, Leibowitz - who has known the Goodman family
for years - said that Yosef was a "true Zionist" who believed in contributing
all of himself to the country and the IDF.

"His athletic skills led him to become a combat soldier," Leibowitz said. "He
wanted to be a combat soldier and he knew he would be good at it."

The Derech Etz Chaim football team would like to express their condolences to the Goodman family.

We have put together a video as a tribute to Yosef.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Team News - Vol. 2.8

  • Derech Etz Chaim will play in the Tier 4 championship game this Saturday night against METV. DEC lost 24-19 to METV a month a go, but the game ended on a positive note for DEC as they dominated the second half of the game.
  • With their semifinal victory over Israel 21C, DEC improved their overall record to 4-7.
  • Quarterback Betzalel Gersten is in America on a recruiting trip. He will be replaced this week by Max Gornish, who usually plays wide-receiver.
  • Linebacker Michael Deutsch will comes off the disabled list this week and will attempt to play in the championship game.
  • So far, Isaac Manaster has raised 287.5 shekels for tzedakah through his "I-Sack For Tzedakah" promotion. Please email before Shabbos if you would like to donate 5 shekels to tzedakah for every sack that Isaac records in the championship game.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Game 10 Recap

Last Friday, Derech Etz Chaim opened their playoff campaign with a quarterfinal matchup against One Hour Cellular. The team's goal coming into the game was to prove that they don't belong in Tier 4.

After receiving the opening kickoff, DEC got straight to scoring. Their first drive culminated in a touchdown pass from quarterback Betzalel Gersten to wide-receiver Jonah Zisquit.

After the defense stymied One Hour Cellular, DEC put together another successful drive, scoring on another Gersten touchdown pass, this time to tight end Eli Mirlis.

DEC was rolling through the game. The defense didn't allow One Hour Cellular to gain any momentum, and even when the offense didn't score, Gersten's punt was downed at the 1-yard line.

Just before halftime, DEC increased their lead when Zisquit caught his second touchdown pass of the game. The score was 18-0 with an entire half still to play.

While the defense continued to deny One Hour Cellular of any offensive production, the offense continued to dominate the opposing defense.
On their first drive of the half, Gersten found wide-receiver Max Gornish in the end zone, taking a 25-0 lead.

After yet another defensive stop, the law firm of Gersten & Gornish went back to work for a quick 50-yard touchdown.

Since the defense found the will to continue performing with the huge lead, the offense felt obliged to continue performing as well. They tacked another score on the board when Zisquit caught his third touchdown pass of the game.

And as if they were gunning for a point differential tie-breaker, they almost scored another touchdown, but the clock ran out on them just before getting off a final play.

By posting a 37-0 win, the team took the first step towards sending a message that they are better than Tier 4. They played with the no-nonsense attitude and confidence that the great teams in the league play with. After watching this game, we wonder why One Hour Cellular was able to score a touchdown against DEC a few weeks ago. A couple more performances of this caliber may do leaps and bounds towards convincing people that this season was overall a fluke.

Please enjoy the highlights we've prepared, which include a new feature this week.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Team News - Vol. 2.7

  • Derech Etz Chaim finished the regular season with a 2-7 record and in 44th place out of 50 teams.
  • DEC is the 4th seed in the eight team Tier 4 Playoffs. Their quarterfinal game will be this Friday against One Hour Cellular, a team they beat four weeks ago.
  • Linebacker Michael Deutsch fractured his hand in Week 12 against METV. He will miss the rest of the season.
  • Quarterback Betzalel Gersten was knocked out of the game in the second half last week after suffering an extreme bloody nose. His condition was stabilized on the sideline, and was released from the Terem medical clinic after a short visit. He has been cleared to play this week.
  • Former team captain, Ari Gold, played in the last two games during his winter break visit to Israel. Last season's team captain, Zack Eisner, also played last week during his visit.
  • So far, Isaac Manaster has raised 235 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
  • The team would like to wish a mazel tov to former teammate Ari Gold on his engagement to Rachie Jacobsen.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Game 9 Recap

Derech Etz Chaim closed out the regular season with an exciting game on Saturday night. The team was trying to avenge the game they lost to the Ner Yaakov Cobras in Week 5.

Just like almost every other game this season, this one started off pretty ugly. On their opening drive, DEC went for it on 4th-Down from midfield. Ner Yaakov got good field position when DEC's 4th-Down attempt failed. Ner Yaakov took advantage of the opportunity by making a quick score, taking an early 6-0 lead.

And if anyone hadn't been convinced by then that it was going to be a long night, they were after quarterback Betzalel Gersten threw an interception on the next drive.

DEC got the ball back when Ari Gold intercepted a pass in the end zone for a touchback. Just a few plays into the ensuing drive, DEC got on the board when wide-receiver Jonah Zisquit ran 25 yards to the end zone after receiving a pass from Gersten. On the extra-point attempt, Zisquit made a highly disputed catch while he was on the ground, giving DEC a 7-6 lead at halftime.

DEC received the second half kickoff and pieced together a drive that culminated when Gersten found wide-receiver Elan Noorparvar in the back of the end zone to take a 13-6 lead.

While the defense continued to stymie the Cobras' offense, DEC continued to push. The offense added to the lead when Gersten found tight end Eli Mirlis, who rumbled in past several Ner Yaakov defenders.

Now down 19-6, Ner Yaakov made a comeback push. They cut the lead to 19-12 with 1:30 left in the game. When DEC was unable to run out the clock, Max Gornish was forced to punt from the back of the end zone. Luckily, the punt was not fielded and it rolled in DEC's favor. Ner Yaakov began their last attempt to tie or win the game from their own 20-yard-line with 30 seconds left in the game.

After two incomplete passes, and then a short gain on 3rd-Down, cornerback Mordy Kramer intercepted the pass on 4th-Down, and returned it 50 yards to the end zone, where he was mobbed by players and fans, who celebrated an enjoyable end to an otherwise frustrating regular season.

The most obvious thing that changed in this game was that the real defense decided to show up to this game and they stayed until the final whistle. They didn't show up late, nor did they leave early, which seemed to be the case for most of the previous eight games. They played with three games' worth of quality. It'’s as if they were accumulating a whole case of defense to spend on the last game. And spend it they did, amassing nine sacks in all, scoring a defensive touchdown, and virtually shutting down a team that beat them by two points earlier in the season.

On the other hand, the offense started slow and finished slow as well. They eventually got things going, and were able to put up a sufficient amount of points. On their second-to-last drive, it looked as if DEC was going to add to their lead before Gersten was knocked out of the game. A blow to the nose caused severe bleeding, requiring a trip to the emergency room. The offense, a little distracted, was unable to finish off the drive, giving up the ball on downs at the 5-yard-line. In order to win their tournament, the offense will have to play well from beginning to finish.

With the close of the regular season comes the playoffs. DEC is the 4th seed in the Tier 4 tournament. More details about the playoffs are coming soon.

We've prepared the first highlight reel from a game the team has won, woohoo! Enjoy.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Team News - Vol. 2.6

  • On Friday December 23, Derech Etz Chaim lost 38-20 to Waxman Warriors.
  • On Friday January 6, Derech Etz Chaim faced One Hour Cellular (affiliated with Bais Yisroel). DEC got off to a poor start, going down by a touchdown after the offense didn't convert on 4th-Down deep in their own zone. Then the offense was unable to score after driving to the red-zone. They tied the game just before halftime on a gorgeous one-handed touchdown catch by wide reciever, Jonah Zisquit. Both the offensive and defensive squads put it into gear for DEC in the second half, finally winning their first game of the season by the score of 27-7. (They even converted on each of their extra-point attempts!)
  • On Saturday January 14, Derech Etz Chaim lost 24-19 to METV.
  • DEC is now 1-7, good for 3 points and 48th place in the league.
  • DEC will play it's final regular season game on Saturday night January 21 against the Ner Yaakov Cobras. It will be a rematch of the Week 5 matchup that DEC lost by 2-points. If DEC wins, they will qualify for the Tier 4 playoffs, but a loss will drop them into the Tier 5 playoffs.
  • So far, Isaac Manaster has raised 165 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