Sunday, December 30, 2012

Derech Etz Chaim Secures the #2 Seed While Crushing Torat Shraga

In the last week of the AFI regular season Derech Etz Chaim manhandled AFAC - Torat Shraga (A team) 27-8 32-6 to capture the #2 seed going into playoff qualifying round.
After a terrible start with Doni Raskas fumbling the kick off return on the one yard line leading to a safety and a 2-0 Torat Shraga lead. That was the last time they would lead as the DEC defense held the entire night only allowing two TD's with three interceptions. The DEC offense led by new father Gilad Silverman was precise marching down field time and again with Gilad hitting both Doni Eastman and Rafi Kintzer with long bomb touchdowns to cap the games. Daniel Macks had several receptions and even Gilad did when Doni Eastman took over at QB.
The game was a great way to finish the regular season. The next round DEC needs to win 2 out of 3 games to advance to the upper tier, Holyland Bowl playoffs. This coming week they face the same team they did last year int he first round (different name same players) .
Highlights should be up later this week (and with 49 points there are allot of them!)Stay tuned

Thursday, December 27, 2012

DEC Splits with Big Blue

Last Saturday night Derech Etz Chaim took on the number one ranked Big Blue and came away with a split.
The first game started poorly for DEC with the opening kick off returned by Big Blue for a touchdown. From that point on the DEC defense held Big Blue until the very end of the game. DEC marched down field and was in the red zone on their first drive when QB Gilad Silverman threw an interception on a mix up on the receiver’s route. Big blue got the ball but was forced to punt and DEC came right back scoring on a great catch by TE Ari Silberstein that tied up the score 6-6 .
Big Blue could not get anything going and it came down to DEC with the ball in the final minutes. The DEC offense stalled on the 40 and decided to go for the win on a long pass with a minute left. It failed and Big blue with good field position was able to score to take the first game 13-6.
In game two once again DEC controlled the ball driving down on every possession to score two touchdowns while holding Big Blue to one score. The big play of the game came on the Big Blue extra point try with Ben Barel intercepting the ball in the end zone and out ran the entire Big Blue team to take it back for the score.
With the DEC defense holding Big Blue, DEC got the ball back with the ability to run out the clock but Dani Eastman stepped out of bounds on a run to give Big Blue the ball back with 40 seconds to go. The DEC defense held and the final score was DEC 14 Big Blue 6
Highlights this week are once again from Ben Spear productions (warning – the subtitles with the scores are incorrect)

Mazal Tov

Mazal Tov to Gilad Silverman, long time quarterback of the DEC football team on the birth of a baby boy! He and his wife Avital should be Zoche to raise him to Torah, Chuppah and Maasim Tovim and to bring him into the Bris of Avraham Avinu in its proper time.

Monday, December 10, 2012

DEC splits with Dhani's Bowties

Derech Etz Chaim suffered its first loss of the season as Dhani's Bowties played 5 men in coverage to thwart DEC's potent passing game. In game #1 QB Gilad Silverman could not solve their defensive coverage and DEC lost 7 - 12.
In the second game the offense continued to have trouble until Dani Eastman threw a TD to Daniel Macks to tie the game 7-7. The DEC defense failed to stop the Dhanis drive and they were on the verge of scoring when Dani Eastman came through again with an interception in the endzone , running it back he lateraled to Dani Raskas who ran the length of the field for the game winning TD.
Here are the highlights (thanks again to Ben Spear productions)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Derech Etz Chaim crushes Kesher in Week 3

Derech Etz Chaim crushed Kesher (Yoeli’s Cholent Fiends) this past Saturday night to bring their record to 6-0 going into the bye week. It was another display of an offense that worked, with Gilad Silverman hitting all of his receivers, Raphy, Daniel, and especially Dani Eastman for TDs throughout the game. The defense dominated including two stands in the red zone. Aryeh “short shorts” Eastman had two interceptions one returned for a TD and Dani Raskas ended a red zone drive with a pick. The D- line stopped Kesher’s main weapon, the run, consistently and forced a safety as well.
Here are the highlights: (Thanks again to Ben Spear)

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Derech Etz Chaim demolishes Toras Moshe (Idaho Burgers Bar)

Derech Etz Chaim dominated Toras Moshe (Idaho Burgers Bar) this week with the final scores of 20-0 21-0 . The offense clicked with Gilad Silverman connecting primarily to Dani Eastman and touchdowns scored by Rafi Kintzer, and TE Daniel Romero and big catches by Daniel Macks as well. The O-line led by veteran center Aron Hertz gave Gilad as much time as he wanted and the offense, with few glitches, controlled the ball the entire game.
The big story this week was a dominating defense with ToMo only getting two first downs the entire night. Their QB was hassled the entire night with three sacks recorded by Brennen Muller and Ari Silberstein and Tully Margolese putting pressure and stopping the QB consistently. Aryeh Eastman replaced Avi Raskas (who is done for the season) at CB and made a number of big plays. And Ben Barel and Doni Raskas came up with an interceptions. Special teams had a great time with Raskas, Dani Eastman and Ben Barel all having big run backs on kick returns.
Next week DEC takes on Kesher
Highlights (produced this week by Ben Spear and Eitan Parnass – thanks Ben and Eitan)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

DEC Defeats Lobos In Season Opener

Derech Etz Chaim opened its season with two big wins over defending champions Lobos 12- 7 and 20 -19 . The games were not as close as the scores indicate with DEC’s new defense never allowing a true drive by Lobos. The offense clicked with great catches and clean plays and tremendous blocking by Aron Hertz and Daniel Romero on the O-line throughout both games.
In the first game DEC kicked, held Lobos to three and out. Once Gilad Silverman took over on offense, passes to Daniel Macks and a TD pass to Avi Raskas and DEC took a quick 6-0 lead.
Lobos was able to quickly get on the board with a long Pass downfield to score and make the extra point DEC 6 Lobos 7.
DEC came right back driving downfield with a pass to Dani Eastman, a great catch by Daniel Macks and a TD to Dani Eastman to take the lead 12-7 . Lobos went three and out and a pass to Rafi Kintzer and them to Dani Eastman gained first down. DEC then ran the clock out to take a 12- 7 win in game one. The only bad news was Avi Raskas getting hurt defending the Hail Mary pass to end the game
DEC received in the second game and quickly moved the ball with a pass to Dani, then new TE Daniel Romero , then to Rafi Kintzer who took it in for the TD and a 6-0 lead.
A missed flag let Lobos get right back to tie 6- 6 . DEC came right back a quick 15 yard pass to Dani Eastman who turned it into a DEC TD when Dani outran the entire Lobos team down the field for a TD. Extra point to Romero. 13-6
Lobos went three and out and DEC came right back with passes to Daniel Macks, and Dani made it DEC 20-7.
Lobos finally put together a drive and scored to bring the score to 20-13 and DEC suffered from dropped passes to give Lobos one more shot with less then a minute left to play. Lobos QB Micha Muschal sent a Hail Mary pass to Aryeh Rudman with 18 seconds left to bring the score to DEC 20 – Lobos 19 . They went for the win and a 2 point conversion which was stopped by a great defensive effort by Dani Eastman to end the game.
DEC starts its season against one of its most difficult opponents and walks away with two wins – a great start to what will be a great season.

Monday, October 22, 2012

DEC begins new season against Lobos

We have been waiting months but the new season finally begins this Saturday night with the new look Derech Etz Chaim team taking on last years AFI champions Lobos. Lobos and DEC have had a friendly rivalry since DEC surprisingly defeated Lobos during the 2009 regular season then went on to trounce them in the championship game. Ever since, the two have met not only in the regular season but in the playoffs, until last year when they ended up on different sides of the playoff divide.

Lobos brings back many of its players and has bolstered its offense with QB Micha Muskal formerly of Tov Pizza who was injured in his last AFI game which just happened to be against DEC!

Derech Etz Chaim brings back veterans from last year with QB Gilad Silverman, C Aron Hertz, WR Rafi Kintzer, and CB Doni Raskas. Daniel Romero moves to TE from the D- line. Other veterans who have joined the team include WR-CB Avi Raskas, and WR Dani Eastman who is now first year at DEC but led the Israeli national team this past year. Other new players include WR Daniel Macks, CB Ben Barel and D-line Ari Silberstein. The team is filled out by a couple of DEC brothers Tuli Margolese and Ari Eastman on D-line.

DEC’s season ended disappointingly last year when the AFI official Dov Rabinowitz mis-counted the downs and gave the ball back for a 5th down with DEC leading their playoff game with 3 minutes left. The mistake turned the game around, ending DEC’s season prematurely in what looked like another DEC title run. DEC has looked very good through the preseason scrimmages and this week’s game is much anticipated by all.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Letter from Steve Leibowitz

Dear Rabbi Katz and the DEC Football Team,

I carefully read you account of the AFI quarter-final game and viewed the video of the "Five Down" incident a number of times. I also asked our Chief Referee and Game ref Dovi Rabinowitz to have our leading rules expert Avi Steinhardt review the "evidence" before a ruling was made about your appeal.

As far as I can tell from the video, a clear mistake was made by our referees in allowing a "fifth down" to take place. I think their confusion was caused on down two. After the play the refs had a discussion about ball placement or whether a penalty had occurred. Dovi may or may not have announced third down and fourth down on the next two plays. I could not tell by video. After fourth down there was clearly confusion on the field. DEC players were certain that it was now their ball and their offense huddled on the field. The announcement by the refs that it was fourth down coming up was argued, and the refs wrongly determined that it was fourth down and still Flying Pizza's ball. The DEC defense took the field. Based on the video I think that the Refs made an additional mistake by not allowing the DEC defense enough time to set up before allowing the snap. The play probably should have been blown dead.

I acknowledge the refs mistake(s), but the AFI rules do not allow for the re-playing of a game. During more than two decades of playing and refing in the AFI, I experienced more than a few calls that may have impacted the outcome of games. When I was on the winning side it felt like compensation for earlier calls against us. When it goes against us I would always feel like there should be a do over. As a ref I would just feel horrible if I got it wrong. Refs make mistakes and we all have to live with it.

The existance of a video proving the bad call makes the refs mistake that much clearer. But the fact is than not all AFI games are videotaped. Even if they were, we are not equipped to use video reviews to assist the referees. The video of the game is really only useful as a review of what took place, after the fact. The only way to efficiently run our league is to have the decision on the field by the refs stand. The most important thing is that we have refs that are capable, experienced and honest. Dovi is one of the two most capable and experienced refs, and is certainly one of the most honest men I know. He tries to do his best in every game. He is also human and makes mistakes. He made a crucial one in this game.

The DEC football team feels that they have been wronged and I can certainly understand their feelings. You had a great regular season and you were a very solid club heading into the playoffs with a real chance to win the title. It is possible that if the ball had been turned over to you after fourth down, you may have gone on to win the game. Unfortunately sports (and its refs) are not a perfect science, and it could be, that as a result, the better team was not the victor.

I applaud your team for its achievements on the field, both in terms of playing ability and more importantly in terms of sportsmanship.

With love of Israel

Steve Leibowitz
American Football in Israe

Official Decision

Having reviewed the video (see posting) there was an official AFI meeting regarding the possibility of replaying the last minutes or entire game between Flying Pizzas and DEC. Prior to the meeting DEC requested of Flying Pizzas to acknowledge that they had won through official error and agree to re play. Their response was that even though they knew they received an extra down - and they admit knowing it at the time, that it was irrelevant being as they convinced the game officials so it makes no difference.
The officials ruled to up hold the game's outcome even while acknowledging the mistakes made (and hoping to do better next time).
Derech Etz Chaim can add this to a feeling that there is a list of discriminatory decisions made by the league over the years and know their season finished prematurely due to official error. They also can at least find some comfort in a great season and the fact that they know they are the better team.
Flying Pizzas can continue their playoff drive hoping for more help by officials to beat teams they otherwise cannot defeat.
Season Recap and other stories coming up before we close down the Blog for the off season.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Flying Pizzas 5 Downs

Here is the video of Flying Pizzas 5 downs to win their playoff game against DEC this past Sat. night

Monday, February 06, 2012

DEC loses to Flying Pizzas on 5th down!

Who said there is no 5th down in football! DEC lost in the quarter finals to Flying Pizzas when the officials mistakenly, and after protest, mis counted and granted Flying Pizzas a 5th down that began without the DEC defense on the field, where they went ahead and scored the winning touchdown.
It was a close game with DEC on incredible passing from Gilad Silverman leading by 1 point for most of the game. On Flying Pizzas (FP) opening drive they were forced to punt and DEC drove down field quickly but was unable to punch it in in the red zone. FP took scored on their next drive missing the extra point and DEC came right back to go up by 1. The teams each scored one more time to end the first half with DEC leading 14-13.
The second half contined as a defensive battle each team scorning one more time and DEC holding a 1 point lead late in the game. With FP in the red zone and 3 minutes left the DEC defense stopped them again. Chief AFI official Dovi Rabinowitz called 4rth down accurately, DEC held and as the offense was switching onto the feild the FP bench started claiming it was only 3rd down. After consulting with the other official FP was granted another down which they began while players were still protesting to the ref in spite of the fact that the clock had been stopped and the clock official was involved in the conversation and did not see the play start to start the clock. Video confirmation shows it was a 5th down. Fly Pizzas took advantage of no defense on the feild scored to go ahead 25-19 with less then 3 minutes on the clock.
DEC tried to drive and was forced with under a minute to go in the game to go for it on 4rth and long unsuccessfully and FP scored one more time from the DEC 20 to put the game away.
We hope to soon post video of the game as well as a season recap. This was another great DEC team whose season has unfortunately come to a premature end.
Stay tuned for more posts before we head into the off season.

Monday, January 30, 2012

DEC defeats the Goliath's (Torat Shraga) 32-20 in the first round of the playoffs!

Derech Etz Chaim defeated the Goliath’s (Torat Shraga) 32-20 in the first round of the Holyland Bowl upper tier playoff’s. On an off night for Gilad Silverman the defense took over making huge plays when necessary and the offense had enough to get the win.

The game began with DEC dominating. Torat Shraga who could not move the ball at all on their first set of downs and after punting DEC drove down field, a pass to Jacob Kon and the extra point to Raphy Kintzer and DEC took a 7 point lead. Torat Shraga came right back driving down field to score and tie the game at 7-7.

When DEC took over they were able to launch a drive but failed to score turning the ball back over to Shraga who threatened to take the lead but in the red zone the DEC defense came up big again with Dovi Pollack making a difficult interception in the end zone to get the ball back to DEC. Gilad took advantage of the turnover and drove down to score on a pass to Noam with 30 seconds left in the half. It looked like DEC would take a 7 point lead into the half but a Hail Mary found its target and Shraga tied it up to go into half time with the score tied 14-14.

DEC started the half with the ball and after a good return by Lior Goldstein, Gilad found Noam down field and then again for a TD to take a 20-14 lead. The defense held Shraga and DEC got the ball back. On 4rth and short Gilad under pressure made a desperate lob that turned into an interception taken to the end zone to tie the game for Shraga 20-20.

Things were tense with the game tied so late when Gilad found Jacob Kon open on a bomb, but the defender pushed Jacob and a pass interference call gave DEC the ball in the red zone. It seemed DEC was poised to take back the lead but another desperate pass by Gilad was intercepted in the end zone.

The turn over was soon redeemed by the dominant DEC defense. Coby Yudkowsky put intense pressure on the Shraga QB sacking him and forcing bad throws, this time an interception by Lior Goldstein who brought the ball back to the 2 yard line and DEC pushed it in to take a 26-20 lead. Another big sack by Coby forced Shraga to punt and what was almost a TD return by Lior gave DEC great field position and a pass to a leaping Jacob Kon in the back of the end zone sealed the game giving DEC a 32-20 lead.

The stars of the game were the defense and Coby in particular he had several blocked passes, a blocked punt and big sacks and constant pressure on the QB. DEC now moves into the next round where it will face Flying Pizzas a team it beat easily in the season’s second game but who have improved dramatically since and are one of the favorites to take it all. The difficult regular season schedule has had DEC previously face all of its potential upcoming opponents during the season and 4 of the remaining 8 teams playing for a spot in the Holyland Bowl.

This week should see the return of Doni Raskas and Levi Klein who have been out with injuries.

Stay tuned for highlights and to watch DEC’s latest championship drive

Monday, January 16, 2012

DEC defeats Jerry's Kids to move on to playoffs!

Derech Etz Chaim defeated Jerry's Kids in a thrilling double overtime game to move on to the upper tier, Holyland Bowl playoffs for the 5th straight year.
In was a tough game that found DEC having to make several comebacks and struggling in the red zone for the first time this season. Gilad Silverman threw 2 interceptions for the first time all year and Jerry's had good field position that they took advantage of.
Several players came up big with Noam Silverman making several big catches, and Jacob Kon, who is playing at CB in place of the injured Doni Raskas, made several big plays including an interception in the end zone a long bomb and several runs to keep DEC in the game.
Though the defense struggled for much of the game they also made big plays with Dov Polack blocking passes and Sammy Blivaiss picking up an interception on D-line!
At the end of regulation the score was tied 19-19 and the game moved to overtime with each team getting the ball at the 20 and having 4 downs to score. Jerry's won the toss and elected to go first, scoring on their drive and putting the pressure on DEC. A long run by Jacob Kon led by superb blocking brought the ball to the 1 yard line on the first play of DEC possession and the offense punched it in to tie the game. On Jerry's next possession the defense shut them down and Gilad Silverman was able to direct the drive that gave DEC the victory.
Derech Etz Chaim now moves on to the playoffs as one of 8 one seeds all who went 2-0 in the intermediate stage. They get next weekend off while we wait to see who the 2-1 second seeds are.
The 8 top seeds are Ateret Cohanim (Bitach), DEC, Flying Pizzas, and the Gov on one side of the bracket and Orli Print, Mevaseret, Lobos and Tifferet on the other side.
Stay with as we begin playoffs in a little under two weeks.

Monday, January 09, 2012

DEC rolls over Ziontours 48-18

Derech Etz Chaim continued its annual push to the playoffs with a 48-18 thumping of Ziontours. The offense kept pouring it on, even getting regular center Aron Hertz an extra point, while running and passing well above Ziontours level.
DEC moves on this week to play Jerry's Kids. A win qualifies DEC for the upper tier playoffs.
Highlight reel:

Friday, January 06, 2012

Preview to the Intermediate Stage

DEC and the rest of the AFI finished the regular season last week and now advanced to the "play in" stage. The teams with the top 32 records advance playing to win at least 2 out of 3 games to advance to the upper tier Holyland Bowl playoffs.
Here is the explanation of how it works from the AFI web site:
Intermediate Stage Format
The Intermediate Stage format is unchanged from last year. If you want the simple version, here's all you have to know: The top 32 teams make the Intermediate Stage (the remaining lower teams continue in a separate format). You play against three different opponents. Win at least two games, you advance to the Top Tier Playoffs. Lose two out of three, you go to a lower tier.
If you want the more complicated version, here it is. (Even this part isn't too hard to understand if you see it on a chart - we'll try to post it at the field.)
The match-ups in the first game of the Intermediate Stage are: 1 vs. 32, 2 vs. 31, etc.
(Note that standings tie-breakers are listed in the Rules - the computer doesn't automatically list tied teams in this order on the website.)
In the second game, the winners face winners, and losers face losers. Specifically, the winner of 1 vs. 32 faces the winner of 16 vs. 17, and the loser of 1 vs. 32 faces the loser of 16 vs. 17. Likewise 2/31 vs. 15/18, etc.
In the third game, teams that are 1-1 face each other. (Teams that are 2-0 or 0-2 have already either clinched a spot or been eliminated. They get a bye, and go directly to the appropriate playoff tier)
The bracket for this third game is a bit harder to understand without a chart. Think of it like this. "9 vs. 17, 10 vs. 18, etc."
That is, if all the higher seeds win the first two weeks, then 9 will face 17.
But remember, it's a bracket without reseeding. So "9" really means "the team that won the 9 vs. 24 game in week one, and then lost in week two when they faced the winner 8 vs. 25".
Derech Etz Chaim completed the season with a 10-3-1 record which created a 6 way tie for the 5th best record. DEC was given the 5 seed on its strength of record. DEC played 5 of the teams it tied with plus the #1 seed Ateret Cohanim. It is important to note that DEC probably had the strongest strength of schedule in the league and the #2,#3,and #4 teams all were Friday teams where the schedule is significantly easier then on Saturday night.
From this point in the schedule games are 50 minute two half games. If we look at the overall scores combined from both "half games" that the league played in the regular season, DEC did not lose even once! Having defeated Ateret Cohanim, Flying Pizzas and Lobos during the regular season DEC enters the post season with a good shot at another title.
The biggest cloud over DEC's title hopes is injuries. Levi Klein has been out all season and is hoping to return for the playoffs which would give a tremendous boost to the D-line. Doni Raskas broke his hand in the last regular season game and also hopes to return during playoffs, shoring up an important CB position.
This week DEC faces the #27 seed and possibly its easiest game of the year, but Ziontours should not be underestimated. They are a Saturday night team with veteran players who are out to upset Derech Etz Chaim.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Derech Etz Chaim vs Lobos

In a match the league has been waiting for all season, Derech Etz Chaim took on Lobos in the final game of the regular season with seedings for the play-in round on the line. These are two of the leagues top teams and fans were treated to entertaining games, that started with Lobos in complete control and ended in a DEC rout of Lobs, with DEC’s defense overwhelming Lobos, but unfortunately getting caught again on a last minute bomb in game 1.
Game report:
Game #1
Game 1 began with Lobos quickly driving to take a 6-0 lead. DEC came right back but after a fumbled hand off which would have tied the game Lobos caught a tipped ball for an interception in the end zone and ran it back all the way to take a commanding 12-0 lead.
Derech Etz Chaim came right back and drove down field to bring the score to 12-6 and the DEC defense held Lobos to 3 and out and forced a punt. The only bad news of the drive was CB Doni Raskas going down with a broken hand after making a great stop on a pass. Doni will be out 2-4 weeks and hopefully will return for the playoffs. With Lobos backed up in their end zone DEC got good field position and quickly scored on a pass to Jacob Kon with Raphi getting the extra point to give DEC the lead 13-12.
Lobos came back and missed flags led to an easy touchdown to give Lobos a 13-19 lead.
Gilad got the ball back with a minute in the game and found Jacob Kon in the end zone on a bomb and Raphy again to give DEC the lead 20-19 with 48 seconds left.
Then the story of the year for DEC, the Lobos QB hooked up with Aryeh Rudman for an incredible catch to the 1 yd line and Lobos put it in to win 26-21.
Game #2
DEC received and quickly drove down field bringing it in on a run from Gilad Silverman and Noam catching the extra point. DEC 7 – Lobos 0
The DEC defense held firm and Lobos forced a throw into the arms of Gavi Guterson substituting for the injured Doni Raskas. Gilad Silverman turned it into points while running under pressure threw a beautiful pass to Jacob Kon with the extra point to Raphy gave DEC a 14-0 lead.
Lobos went 3 and out as the defense held again and though DEC started in good field position they failed to score and gave the ball back to Lobos, but Lobos could not capitalize and had to go on 4rth, did not get the 1st down. DEC got the ball back and a Jacob run followed by a Raphy TD gave DEC a 20-0 win.