2006: The Cleats Game
The 9th Annual Paul J. Blank Invitational Charity Thanksgiving Football Game will always be remembered as “The Cleats Game.” Just like the 1934 NFL Championship Game, known as “The Sneakers Game”, when the New York Giants changed to sneakers at halftime to have better footing on the frozen turf of the Polo Grounds, the PBI players would also learn the importance of footwear. On a brutally cold and rainy day at the old BJE Field, the Red Team and the elements handed the Blue Team their second consecutive loss on thanksgiving, an unforgettable 64-6 whitewashing and the largest margin of defeat in PBI history. In the weeks prior to the game much excitement and fanfare brewed at the thought of an even contest, mainly due to the absence of quarterback Noah Zimmerman which most veterans thought would level the playing field. What happened, of course, was one of the most lopsided games in PBI history, as the Red team won easily by a 58 point margin. Although the Blue Team received the opening kickoff, they were dominated from the very beginning. How dominated? The Blue Team did not score until early in the second half, already losing 38-0. The Red Team’s running game, mostly reverses to the wideouts, was effective, but the passing game made most of the big offensive plays. Elliot Totah had an outstanding PBI performance, throwing 200 yards and 4 touchdowns. Newcomer Yosi May put on a show, becoming only the second player to score a touchdown 3 different ways in a game (J.Dymond in the 2005 contest). Besides catching, rushing, and returning an interception for a touchdown, May also kicked 4 extra points and ran for another, giving him 27 points on the day.
The Blue Team received the opening kickoff, but after a 3 and out and a short punt by D.Fulop the Red Team had great field position. Red scored on their third play when Totah threw a wide receiver screen to Yosi May who weaved through the stumbling the Blue Team to the endzone. That set the tone for the day. The Blue Team was simply no match for the Red Team and their cleats. However the Blue Team never gave up and trailing 22-0 they drove to the 1 yard line thanks to a pass interference penalty on Ariel Oxman. From the 1 yard line Blue called a qb sneak, but Eric Horowitz panicked and threw a desperation pass that was intercepted by lineman Seffy Muller. On the next drive Totah broke the Blue Teams’ back. In the face of a fierce pass rush from Dan Fulop and Mitch Rothenberg, Totah scrambled right and lobbed a pass to Reiter in the endzone.
Down by 38 points at halftime the Blue Team tried to adjust their game plan and welcomed newcomer Ari Jacobavitz. Committed to running the ball, their only strength throughout the game, Blue tailback David Ochs ripped off a 60 yard touchdown run. Showing their enthusiasm and desire, the Blue Team celebrated in the end zone as several of the lineman performed the old Redskins endzone dance known as the “Fun Bunch.” But the comeback was not to be as Totah continued to mix short passes with a couple of reverses to slow the Blue Teams pursuit, ending the drive with a touchdown pass to Krakauer. The drive was highlighted by a 40 yard catch and run by Paul Blank, his first positive offensive play since PBI II. Two more interceptions returned for touchdowns and a recovered kickoff by Ariel Oxman closed out the scoring and ended the most lopsided PBI contest. In the end all the players participating had a good time and everyone was thankful that Dan Fulop would not have to spend another thanksgiving in the emergency room at Suburban hospital.
R: Oxman 2-15, Y.May 4-30, Reiter 2-70, 2tds, Krakauer 1-15, Blank 1-40
B: D.Ochs 2-12, Pressman 1-8, D.Fulop 1-7
R: Y.May 2-20, E. Totah 3-20
B: D.Ochs 20, 150, 1td, Nagler 3-8, I.Fulop 5-10, E.Horowitz 1-4, Pressman 3-15
R: E.Totah 200yds/4tds/1int, M.Krakauer 35yds, D.Foxe 1int
B: I.Fulop 7yds/3ints, E.Horowitz 20yds/1int, Nagler 1int
B: D.Ochs 2/0yds
R: E.Totah 2-45ds/1td, Y.May 1-20yds/1td, S.Muller 1-0yds, Krakauer 0/50yds/1td
R: A.Oxman 0yds/1td
“Totah? he's an old man and was never very fast to begin with...i wouldn't worry about him.” – Mr. Blank