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.