Brazil’s CBFA Preview – Curitiba Crocodiles v. White Sharks-Istepos

Curitiba Crocodiles (Curitiba, Parana)

v.

White Sharks-Istepos (WSI) (Balneario-Camburio, Santa Catarina and Florianapolis/São Jose, Santa Catarina)

Saturday, September 24th
2:00 PM
Colegio Forquilhao – São Jose, Santa Catarina

The Stakes

No less than first place in Conferencia Sul is on the line as these two 4-0 teams clash, but neither team will have much time to celebrate or lick their wounds, as they follow this game up with equally tough games against the playoff bound Timbo T-Rex (for Curitiba) and Paraná HP (for WSI)

The Players

Crocodiles:

    • Drew Banks (Middle Tennessee State) is the speedy, shifty signal-caller for the Crocodiles. Banks, in his first year with the team, led the Recife Mariners to the national semi-finals in 2015, and is a threat to take the ball all the way to the end zone on every down.
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Above: Crocodile quarterback, Drew Banks’ Brazilian national championship hopes have eluded him like he elides defenders. A win Saturday against the WSI is another step toward a 1 seed, home field advantage, and the title he is chasing.

  • Everyone that takes hand-offs for the Crocodiles. The Crocodiles boast one of the deepest and most diverse corps of ball carriers in the country. Bruno Santucci hits his holes hard, and his shifty, elusive style in the open field has provided American football fans in Brazil without countless jaw-dropping highlights. Lucas ‘’Mullet’’ Nascimento runs with a piano on his back and nearly always falls forward to finish his runs. For years, the two aforementioned backfield mates were all anyone mentioned when speaking of the Curitiba backfield, but this year has seen the emergence of Suelber Rangel and fullback, Alexandre Oliveira, who have both played key roles in victories for the Crocodiles.

‘’Suelber is a guy that Brazil is going to be hearing a lot about in the future,’’ said Banks.

  • AFI would be remiss if we didn’t mention that all of those Crocodile rushing yards wouldn’t come without…The Crocodile offensive line, which is a big, nasty, veteran group highlighted by offseason acquisition, Dhiego Taylor, who came to the team after a 2015 campaign with Portugesa Lusa Lions.‘’Our O-line is meshing more with every practice and game, not only in blocking our zone and gap concepts, but growing in our aggressiveness and intensity as well,’’ said the 6’5, 320 pound Taylor, who is joined by the likes of 6’5, 300 pound Matheus Jakimiu (University of Toronto), Henrique Pucca and Felipe ‘’Prefeitura’’ Soares.
  • Defensive end, Delmer Zoeschke is a relentless pass rusher, who has terrorized opposing quarterbacks for years coming off the edge for the Crocodiles. This year, he is joined on the other end of the Curitiba defensive front by Guilherme ‘’Bala’’ Bida, an explosive athlete.

‘’ Bala is able to give the left side of our DL the same level of pressure Delmer does on the right,’’ said veteran Crocodile safety, Cleverson Freitas

  • 19-year-old outside linebacker Leonardo Tomadon continues to live up to the hype he developed by being a standout youth player. Standing a bit over 6’0, with a solid build, Tomadon fills his runs fits with vigor. He also has the speed and agility to play the edge, tackle in space, and run with inside receivers.
  • Crocodile safety, Cleverson Freitas. closest thing that Brazil has to a computer that plays football. Freitas is a key communicator for everything on the Crocodile defense does pre-snap, and a coach on the field. Freitas is also a veteran of big games and knows what it takes to win them.

‘’During the game, we will need to focus on keeping everything in front of us. We do not want to give up big plays,’’ he said.

WSI:

  • Quarterback Igor Clemes has a big arm and will look to get the ball to receivers like Alexander Girolometto in the WSI passing attack. A great athlete, Clemes uses his feet to make things happen when his pocket breaks down.‘’ I think WSI’s biggest weapon is (Clemes). He can extend some plays, keep it alive, to find a deep, open WR. This will be a major challenge we will face. Keeping him in the pocket and not letting him scramble. If he does the DBs cannot give up on the coverage otherwise we will get hurt,’’ said Freitas.
  • Running back JP Ramos is one of the fastest ball carriers in the country. Even in the wet conditions that WSI has played in their last few games, he has broken long runs. If the field is dry on Saturday and he turns the corner, look out. ‘’We have to be able to stay on the field (offensively) and get our running game going,’’ said WSI tight end, Vinicius Zanon.
  • Vinicius Zanon does it all for WSI. Catching passes and setting the edge as a tight end, rushing the passer as a down lineman, or playing linebacker, Zanon is not only his teams most diverse player, he is also its heart and soul in the leadership department. Zanon has a motor that never stops and plays as hard as anyone in the country. He will likely be heard from in this game.
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Above: Marcus Vinicius Bunn (foregeound) and the White Sharks-Istepos defense have proved nearly unbkockable this season. Photo credit: Geraldo Takanage and Overtime de FA

  • The 6’5, long armed, Marcus Vinicius Bunn uses his long arms to get extension when coming off the ball from his defensive end position, making him extremely hard to move in the run game and a pass rushing nightmare for most offensive lines.
  • Paulo Torquato lines up at safety and cornerback for the WSI, and is an excellent runner after he snags an interception or when her returns punts. The WSI also boast speed in their defensive secondary in the form of DB, Guylherme Grudtner and electric CB, Vinicius Araujo.

The Game & Storylines

  • Who can score? There is talent on both offenses, but the two defenses squaring off on Saturday are arguably the two best in the country.‘’The Croco have always stood out so much for their defense. They have a very strong D-line and a good secondary. We identified some trends in their defense and have worked on trying to find some spaces in it,’’ said Clemes.
  • Containing the QBs. Both Banks and Clemes are good athletes and smart football players. Clemes has a knack of buying time until he can find one of his tall receiving targets down field. Zoeschke and Bida will need to do a great job of not only reducing his options outside of the pocket, but rely on their interior lineman to stop him from stepping up in the pocket.
    Banks has a knack for extending plays as well, but if he doesn’t have a man downfield, no problem. The speedy Banks runs a his offense impeccably, but sometimes seems to be at his best in the midst of chaos, and can scoot from one end of the field to the other in the blink of an eye. Zanon and Bunn’s will need to rely on their athleticism and team pursuit to contain any big runs.
  • Weather? Many recent games in the south have been anywhere from ‘’highly effected’’ to ‘’postponed’’ due to the torrential and continuous rains that Southern Brazil sees during this time of year. Saturday’s forecast for São Jose, Santa Catarina is for cloud cover, but no rain. For the sake of the speed that both of these teams have, we’ll hope that the clouds don’t burst until after the game.‘’I’m excited to see our defense play on a dry field as well. It’s been months since we played with no rain in a game,’’ said Banks

The Quotes

  • ‘’From here until the end of the season it will take great discipline and effort to win every game. Who has the least errors will win these games-It’s no secret. Our preparation has been really good. I’m really satisfied with our practices and our meetings. And I think we are ready to play. This will be our first test since the first game of season. I believe we are a much different team since that game. So We are just praying it doesn’t rain again so we can have a little fun running and throwing the ball. WSI is a good team and I’m looking forward to exciting game in São José Saturday afternoon. ’’- Crocodiles quarterback, Drew Banks 
  • ‘’In my view, the game between Croco and WSI will be highly disputed, not only due to the fact that one of the two teams will lose their unbeaten record in the Southern Conference, but also due to the level and performance of the teams.’’ Crodiles offensive lineman, Dhiego Taylor 
  • We know what we have to do both attack and defense. We are expecting a very hard game, as anyone who has ever fought over here in the Superliga (knows it will be).’’- WSI quarterback, Igor Clemes 
  • ‘’We’re treating as the most important game of the season.’’ – WSI TE/DE/LB, Vinicius Zanon

 

Clayton Lovett
Clayton Lovett has served football in Brasil in a variety of roles, including as the member of the coaching staff of two CBFA national champions (Cuiaba Arsenal 2010, 2012). Football is his hobby. Professionally, he is the founder of CS Educacional, which provides educational and competitive opportunities abroad for student-athletes.
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