The Haifa Underdogs (#3) made all the way to Tel-Aviv University Field to face the Tel-Aviv Pioneers (#2) in the 2014 IFL Semi-Finals game between the teams.

The game started at 10:00 am with 4 missing players for the Dogs (LB Yuval Fisher, DE Rudy Rattner, S Aviv Kruvi – injuries; K/WR Drew DeLozier – ineligibility) with the team trailing behind the Pioneers until the 2nd quarter (0-20) but then a 1-yard power rush by the team’s DT Alan Hearn puts the Dogs on the board for the 1st time this game.

It took only 2 minutes for Nimrod Smith to put another 6 points on the board when he returned a kickoff for 53-yards and into the Pioneers endzone.

Not long after that return, QB Matt Kauffman connected with Smith for another TD with 2 minutes remaining to the half.

During the 3rd quarter neither team could harvest any points as the teams went into the 4th quarter (20-20).

Less than 5 minutes to the end of the game, the Pioneers’ Ari Wilan was able to rush into the Dogs endzone and give the Tel-Aviv team the lead for the first time after halftime.

Altough the Dogs offense marched down the field for one last score to get them into the Israel-Bowl, they lacked 30-yards to win the game and get their first Bowl appearance since 2007.

QB Matt Kauffman finished 9/20 for 102-yards, passed for 1 TD and was sacked 6 times. WR Nimrod Smith caught 5 passes for 53-yards and 2 TD; DT Alan Hearn aided the offense with 1-yard rushing TD.

LB Niv Medlinger and RB/LB Jason Armstead led the defense, Medlinger had 9 tackles (2 for loss) while Armstead finished with 8 tackles, 1 fumble recovery and 1 interception for 29-yards return.

It was a hard faught match by both teams but in the end the Dogs couldn’t get the necessary points to bring themself to a shot at the title.

Now that the 2014 season is over the players and staff have 2 paths – most of the players in the team will get their rest after a long season, recover from injuries and start getting themself ready for the next season; while some players and coaches are getting ready for another challenge that lies ahead – the Israel National Team game in the summer.
Coaches Jay Armstead, Alan Hearn and Ori Shterenbach are all part of the national team staff. Joining them are the following players:

QB Matt Kauffman, RB Ndavyah Williams, G Leon Gikher, WR Nimrod Smith, LB Niv Medlinger, CB Guy Halberthal, S Mica Allon and S Harrison Duke-Fearnley.

We wish them all the best of luck in their journey to represent Israel this coming summer.

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