Entering the night against one of the best teams in the League without DEC's best player, Dani Eastman, would be quite the challenge. But the team stepped up and nearly came away with both victories, ultimately settling for a split.
Mercaz received the ball to start the game. Though they drove down the field and picked up a couple of first downs, the defense held up and kept them out of the end zone, with Meyer Tennenbaum intercepting the pass (his 3rd of the season) on 4th & goal.
The offense was missing their go-to receiver, but that didn't keep them from moving the ball. On their first set they drove all the way down to the Mercaz 5-yard line before a costly interception in the end-zone gave Mercaz the ball back in a scoreless game.
The next time with the ball, an unfortunate slip by a DEC corner lead to an easy pass & score for Mercaz. But DEC bounced back, Dani Strauss went to the ground to make a difficult catch, he bounced back up and got an additional 10 yards after the catch. This lead to DEC's first score of the night, a TD pass to Avner Denicoff. The PAT was good to Shlomo Berman and the score was tied at 7-7.
The ensuing drive by Mercaz lead them back down the field. Scoring again in the front corner of the end zone. They missed the extra point to make the score 13-7. The DEC offense turned the ball over with 1:20, but the defense held on to get them the ball back with 23 seconds and 1 timeout. Playing a deep prevent defense, QB Gilad Silverman was able to run for 20 yards to set up the final play of the game with 7 seconds left. He was unable to connect on a hail mary.
Final Score Game 1
DEC : 7
Not willing to back down, DEC was ready to earn a split in the 2nd game. Receiving the ball to start, the offense went to work connecting on a huge bomb to Zak Lenik who was caught and tackled at the 5 yard line. Unfortunately the red-zone INT-bug struck again, and Mercaz once again picked the ball off in the end zone.
The defense would come through, a couple of interceptions, one by Shlomo Berman (his 2nd of the season) and Doni Raskas (his 1st) set up shorter fields which DEC took advantage of. Scoring 3 times, including a beautiful Eastman-esque leaping grab by Lenik. After the game, Rabbi Katz commenting on the rookie's stellar game, which earned him the game ball, said "looks like we now have two #1 receivers."
Final Score Game 2
This win brought DEC's record on the season to 8-1-1, moving them into a 3-way tie for 1st place in the AFI Standings. DEC will look to continue their early season dominance following a 3-week break. Stay tuned...