Brazilian semifinals feature four familiar foes

The four semifinalists in this weekend’s semifinal matchups in the 33 team Brasil Futebol Americano league are all well known to one another.

On Sunday, December 1, last year’s finalists, the Joao Pessoa Espectros and the defending champion Belo Horizonte Galo square off while Timbo Rex and the Brasilia Tubaroes will do battle in the other game.

The same four teams reached this stage of the post season last year. But in a slightly different configuration. A year ago, the Espectros beat the Tubaroes to reach the final while the Galo downed Timbo Rex.

Joao Pessoa Espectros (7-1)  v. Belo Horizonte Galo (8-0)

This is a classic playoff matchup with the unbeaten Galo taking on the Espectros in a rematch of last year’s title game. The defending champion Galo marched through the regular and post season with only one close game, when they got by the Sao Paulo Portuguesa 22-19. The two teams have met in the last two championship finals with Belo Horizonte coming out on top both times, 17-13 in 2018 and 30-13 in 2017. The Espectros suffered only one loss during the regular season, dropping a 35-19 decision to the Recife Mariners. They avenged that loss in the playoffs beating the Mariners 26-12.

The Espectros have a familiar name at quarterback as veteran Alex Niznak (formerly of the Recife Mariners with stints in Sweden and Japan as well) is behind center. Meanwhile, the Galo will have Yaggo Brito at quarterback but Guilherme and Arthur may also get a chance, and American running backs Parris Lee and Michael James could also be used from the wildcat.

Joao Pessoa has been averaging 51 points a game but Belo Horizonte is on a roll and will have a 44 game winning streak on the line. Still, every game between these two powerhouses of American football in Brazil is a toss up.

Timbo Rex (7-1) v. Brasilia Tubaroes (8-0)

Interestingly, these two teams were eliminated in last year’s semifinals by the other two semifinalists. T-Rex were beaten by the Galo in last year’s semifinal round while Brasilia succumbed to the Espectros. Timbo Rex dropped their opening game of the season to Gaspar Black Hawks 10-6 and then found their offense reeling off seven straight wins, scoring 219 points in the remaining seven games. Meanwhile, Brasilia pummeled their opponents with the highest scoring offense in Brazil, averaging 55 points a game over eight games.

The quality of the opposition for the Tubaroes could be the question but still the T-Rex defense will be put to the test.

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