Last Friday, November 11th, the IFL held the first Annual Preseason Lightning Tournament.
League teams gathered in Ramat Hasharon for a fun-filled day of fast football; the rules were changed slightly to accelerate the games so that each team could play between three and four times.
The Rebels started the day against the Be'er Sheva Black Swarm and won the game 22-0. The defense was not satisfied with one shutout and continued their brilliant play with a 30-0 win against the Petah Tikva Troopers, followed by a 40-0 gem against the Jerusalem Kings. The Rebels' final match of the day was a 28-8 victory over the hosting Hammers of Ramat Hasharon.
While the entire defense was vicious all day long, the defensive playmakers put on a show at every position: Zaire Harris and Dani Eastman led the lockdown of the defensive backfield; Alex Gandler, Uria Loberbom and Ayal Frankfurter dominated the line of scrimmage; and Jeremiah Jelski's play at linebacker showed the league that the Rebels have big hitters at every level. The defense accumulated several interceptions and forced more than a few fumbles through the tournament as they demonstrated a great ability to take the ball away in the air or on the ground.
On the offensive side of the ball, it was a great day for rookie quarterback Avrami Farkas as he gave the league a preview of his talents. Receiver Daniel Weintraub also debuted well, with a variety of acrobatic and impressive catches. The offensive line started to connect and showed good potential as they paved the way for several big runs from Zaire Harris and Ari Levin. Yaniv Kovalski added an excellent performance at tight end, both making big blocks and recording a number of receptions. It seems like the youthful tandem of Farkas-Kovalski may pose a deadly threat to the league.
Former Rebel Betzalel Friedman also displayed his talents by orchestrating the tournament in just his first year as IFL Commissioner. Friedman's brief time at his new position has not prevented him from making several excellent contributions to league organization and function already, and we are all excited to see how the league continues to develop under his adept stewardship.
The Rebels now turn their attention to preparing for the first real test of the season, against the Kings on Thursday, November 28th. It will be a special night of football as the annual Hanuka Bowl falls on Thanksgiving and the Rebels will set out to avenge last season's tragic loss. The following week marks the start of the regular season when the Rebels face their other crosstown rivals, the Jerusalem Lions, on December 5th. Both games will be played at the Rebels' home stadium in Jerusalem.