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Friday, October 18, 2019

On a relatively mild winter Sunday morning on December 29 four teams composed of men aged 18 and up got together to decide the championship of the 5th season of the Teaneck Flag Football League (TFFL). The event was the culmination of a season where 14 teams from all over the New York metropolitan area competed every Sunday morning from late August through mid December in a 6-on-6 flag football league modeled after the AFI League many, if not most, of the participants played in while spending their years learning in Israel.

Green and Orange as the top two seeds entered the semi-finals with matching 12-0 records with Green being the higher seed due to having given up fewer points over the course of the regular season. In fact, Green, captained by Joe Skydell, hadn’t lost a regular season game in the TFFL in all three of the years its team had participated. Orange, captained by Ari Schwartz, brought over much of a team that had won DegelUSA the previous season in the Five Towns, also hadn’t lost at all during the regular season, with all of their victories coming by double digit points. Lime, also a new team to the league, captained by Yoni Levine of Teaneck, finished its first regular season in the league with a 10-2 record, with its only two losses coming at the hands of the aforementioned undefeated Green and Orange teams. Black, in its fifth season in the league, captained by Commissioner Moshe Rosenberg, finished with an 8-4 record, losing some close games to Green, Lime and White during the season.

The four remaining teams entering the semi-finals hd all won their quarterfinal games the previous week, with Green as the #1 seed easily defeating Gold; Orange, the #2 seed, handling Purple; Lime, the #3 team, edging out a nail biter over the #6 seeded Grey team by 3 points, and Black, the #5 seed, winning over the #4 seeded White team by 4 points when a potential game winning touchdown by Akiva Rindenow for White, was ruled incomplete as he landed on the out of bounds line in the back of the end zone.

In a somewhat surprising turn of events, both undefeated teams fell in the semi-finals, with Lime rolling over Orange, 36-6, and Black defeating Green 33-28 in a back and forth game that ended on a phenomenal interception by Noam Block of Black with 20 seconds left, as Green was driving for the potential game winning touchdown.

After a short break, Lime and Black faced off in the TFFL Championship game. Black got the ball first and scored immediately to take a 6-0 lead, but failed to convert the 1-point attempt. After an interception by David Lang of Black, Josh Katz scored on a long QB scramble and added a pass to Alex Lubat for the 1 point conversion to give Black an early 13-0 lead.

Lime answered with a TD of its own to cut the score to 13-6, but also failed to convert the 1-pointer. Following another long QB scramble and conversion by Black for a 20-6 lead, Lime was able to score late in the first half to cut the deficit to 20-13. Black drove down the field but was unable to complete the drive as the first half expired and the score remained 20-13 at halftime.

Lime received the second half kickoff and scored to tie the game at 20, with the drive highlighted by QB Yoni Levine, scrambling to avoid two pass rushers, converted on a long 4th down pass to Etan Potash for a first down.

Both teams traded touchdowns and conversions to leave the game tied at 27 with about seven minutes to play. Black went up 34-27, on another drive highlighted by Josh Katz’s running ability and capped off by a short TD pass to Judah Fuld and the one point conversion. After converting on yet another 4th and long, Lime scored as the clock hit the two-minute warning to cut the score to 34-33. Choosing to go only for 1 point rather than attempting a 2 point conversion that could have given Lime the lead, Black got a huge championship winning defensive stop when Levine’s pass barely sailed over the outstretched arms of Potash.

With three timeouts and two minutes remaining Lime could still get the ball back with enough time to mount another touchdown drive to take the title. After two running plays by Katz followed by timeouts from Lime, Black faced a 3rd and 10 from their own 20 yard line with 1:35 remaining. On 3rd down Katz completed a 15 yard pass to Moshe Rosenberg, who slid down to seal the game and the title for the Black team.

After winning the inaugural season of the TFFL, Black was able to return to championship form having fallen short the previous three seasons. Retooling in the offseason, adding Shamir Seidman, Alex Lubat, David Lang, Daniel Katz, and Josh Katz, to original team members Jeremy Neiss, Harold Rosengarten, Amir Bednarsh, Rafi Zlotnick, Noam Block, Judah Fuld, Aryeh Cooper, and Moshe Rosenberg helped Black get back on top.

Congratulations to both Black and Lime for an excellently played championship game and congratulations and thanks to all those who participated in the TFFL this season, making it our best season to date. Enjoy the offseason and see you all next year!

The TFFL is a Flag football league that plays on Sunday mornings in Teaneck, modeled after the AFI League in Israel. To learn more about the TFFL please visit the website at teaneckflagfootballleague.com