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Defense Puts JV Football Falcons in the Finals

Defense Puts JV Football Falcons in the Finals
Posted on 03/31/2019
Defense Puts JV Football Falcons in the Finals

With unseasonably cool, wet and windy weather conditions virtually grounding the offense, the Flatbush JV Boys Flag Football team looked to its defense to step up, and they provided all the points the Falcons would need late Sunday afternoon (3/31), as the Boys from Brooklyn defeated Long Island’s Rambam Ravens by the uncharacteristically low score of 2-0, securing a spot in the MFL Championships on the turf field at Lawrence High School in Cedarhurst, New York.

 joy

Rambam won the coin toss, and chose to defer the choice to the second half. With the choice now in hand for the start of the game, Flatbush Head Coach Teddy Beyda chose to start with the ball, hoping to put the pressure on the 4th seeded Ravens right from the start.

 coin toss Sabbagh gets the boys ready

It did not work well, though. It was readily evident from the first set of downs that the weather would play a major factor in the game’s outcome. Falcon quarterback Michael Smouha had difficulty gripping the ball, and Flatbush was a quick three plays and out.

Tackled for a loss 

The ball was now in the hands of the Raven offense, and from the get-go the Flatbush defense showed they would be a problem for Rambam all afternoon long. Gerry Sabbagh recorded a tackle behind the line, and Rambam also went three and out on their first possession.

Anteby gets pressure

The second time around, Smouha looked to connect on short passes, which proved to be a much better plan as he connected with Ronnie Novick and Isaac Soffer on back-to-back plays. He then looked long for his go-to deep threat in Sion Dweck, but Smouha left the pass floating and short, resulting in an interception on the underthrow. The Flatbush defense responded, with Jacob Kassin coming up with a sack on fourth down to reclaim possession for the Falcons.

 Offense Novick pulls in the ball
Soffer hauls in the pass

Flatbush then put together its first scoring threat of the game, as Rambam was flagged for a penalty deep in their zone giving Flatbush first down and goal from the 15 yard line. Soffer was open in corner, but Smouha struggled to get a good grip on the ball. The throw was in the ground, and Flatbush turned over on downs.

It was up to the defense to make something happen, and they did. Ikey Tawil made a tackle on the first play for no gain. Sion Dweck then defensed a pass downfield. That set up third and long from deep in the Rambam zone. The Flatbush defensive line was ready to tee off on the snap, and the Ravens O-line knew it. The snap sailed over the Ravens quarterback’s head and into the end zone. By rule, a fumble in the end zone is a safety. The Falcons’ defense got Flatbush on the board, taking a 2-0 lead.

 The defense Scores

Flatbush’s offense now had a chance to really bring down a hammer on the Ravens, but the offense went three and out. Rambam looked to take the momentum, and looked like they did exactly that when a receiver got loose downfield on third down and long. But, the pass was just a bit long and the Raven receiver had the ball fall off his fingertips for an incompletion. Flatbush got pressure on fourth down, and a Raven lineman was flagged for holding Bobby Anteby, handing the ball back to the Falcons.

 Anteby gets pressure

Flatbush had one more chance to add points before the half. Smouha connected with Dweck and Novik to advance the ball past midfield with 22 seconds left in the half. A Smouha run brought up fourth and 7. Smouha chose to run again, but was brought down two yards short of the first down. The game had reached halftime and the score stood Flatbush 2, Rambam 0.

 Smouha drops back to pass Ikey Tawil secures the ball

With choice in hand, Rambam chose to try to take advantage of the wind, selecting to defend the end of the field that allowed their offense to operate with the wind blowing from behind them. As a result, Flatbush started the half with the ball. The strategy was successful for Rambam, as Smouha was sacked on the opening play, and after two more unsuccessful plays the Falcons punted once again. The Flatbush defense continued to wreak havoc in the Raven backfield, with heavy pressure from Anteby, Kassin and Sabbagh causing fumbles on the first two plays. A holding penalty on fourth down handed the ball back to Flatbush. 

The Falcon offense looked like they might have something going as Smouha’s pass – intended for Dweck – was tipped and pulled in by Tawil, elating the Falcons and breathing some life into the offense. Smouha then ran for three yards to earn a first down. But, the drive soon bogged down and Coach Beyda chose to play for field position and punted.

The defense again brought pressure, and when Assistant Coach and Defensive Coordinator Sammy Dayan brought Novick on a safety blitz, Novick blocked the second down pass attempt. Sabbagh got a sack on next play and the Falcons forced another three and out.

 Novick blocks the pass

With the ball back, again Flatbush had a chance to get some breathing room, and when Smouha had running room on third down, it looked like Flatbush might get that breakthrough score, but he stopped running when he thought he was tackled, but no whistle had blown because his flag had not been taken. By the time he realized this, the defense recovered and pulled the flag. With fourth down and eight to go, Flatbush punted with the intent of pinning Rambam deep in their zone.

Deep in their zone, the Ravens them connected on the first big play of the game, giving them first and goal from the Flatbush 15 yard line. It looked like the receiver had pushed off, but it was not called. Rambam was knocking on the door, looking to take the lead. The Flatbush defense had other ideas. After a Ravens fumble on first down, it brought up second and goal from the 22 yard line. Anteby was held on the next play, pushing the Ravens back another ten yards making it second and goal from the 32. It looked like the defense got another big play when Sabbagh had the quarterback in his grasp, but he could not pull the damp flag from its socket. The play ended up going for 20 yards. A complete pass on third down gave Rambam fourth down and goal from the two. Once again, the defensive line rose up to make a big play. Making up for his earlier gaffe, Sabbagh made sure to hold ion to the flag and recorded the sack! The Falcons erupted on the sidelines, and their offense took over on downs.

Time was now on the side of the Falcons. If they could get just one score, they could salt away the game. Smouha finally connected on a long ball, finding Dweck downfield for a completion for 40 yards. And he was tackled on the play – actually tackled, which tacked on another 10 yards. Unfortunately, they did not advance the ball any further, but the clock kept moving. With fourth and long, Flatbush punted, again hoping to pin the ravens deep in there zone with just over one minute left to play.

 Sion Dweck is open Sion Dweck makes the catch

Rambam had one more chance to change the outcome of the game. They looked to make the most of it, advancing the ball to midfield and getting a new set of downs with 40 seconds to play. The Rambam signal caller then let fly a pass downfield, and it was heading directly to a waiting Dweck in the middle of the zone. He had the ball in his hands for an interception, but he just could not hold on to the slick ball. It left life in the Ravens, but only 14 seconds to play. The next play was an incomplete pass, leaving 7 seconds for one final fourth down play. With the game in the balance, it was the defensive line that would save the day as Kassin came hard from the outside to sack the Ravens quarterback one more time, sealing the victory.

 Almost Kassin gets pressure from the outside

Flatbush advanced to the MFL Championship game by the improbable final score of 2-0.

 VICTORY

Afterwards, Coach Beyda gave all the credit to his defense, and their coordinator Coach Sammy Dayan. “They have been doing this all season long, and it is a credit to the work Coach Dayan has done with them. He positions them in places to be successful, but it is the boys who have made all the plays when it matters most.” With one more game to play, the Falcons are where they want to be, and will look to cap an undefeated season which they can do with a win in the MFL Finals in two weeks’ time.

 Celebration

NEST NOTES: The win was the 8th in a row against no losses for the JV Football Falcons. It also secures the team a spot in the Finals. That game will be played on Sunday, April 14, where the top-seeded Falcons will take on third-seeded Mesivta Ateres Yaakov who defeated the second-seeded Darchei Torah boys in the second semifinal. Game time is set for 5:00 pm on the Turf Field at Lawrence High School in Cedarhurst, NY.

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