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 isackfortzedakah@gmail.com to notify us of your pledege. At the end of the season we will email you how many sacks Isaac has recorded.

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