Brazil earned its first ever victory in IFAF World Championship competition in blanking the South Koreans 28-0 at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium Sunday and proved to the world that they belonged to be here.
Playing in a downpour for much of the game, Team Brazil dominated the game from the outset. Quarterback Rodrigo Dantas was 8-18 for 84 yards and two touchdowns, while his backup Rhudson Fonseca had a touchdown and 45 yards passing. Receivers Rodrigo Pons (5 catches, 60 yards, 2 touchdowns) and Heron Azevedo (3, 38, 1) created havoc in the Korean secondary all game long.
Wide receiver Heron Azevedo was naturally happy with the win:
“It gives a lot of confidence to us,” wide receiver Heron Azevedo said. “We kept going back to our first half against France (a 31-6 loss). We weren’t quite performing. The game was bigger than we thought. In the second half, we calmed down, so we could kind of battle against them.
“That builds a little confidence for us and transferred to this game. The people in Brazil that are trying to build football, this win means a lot to them.”
Running back Bruno Santucci led all rushers with 108 yards on 8 carries and Romulo Ramus joined him with a 93-yard performance on 10 carries.
South Korea’s defense had a day to forget. They gave up 6.0 yards per play and 6.8 yards per carry – 237 yards on 35 carries.
Brazil’s offensive line can take a great deal of credit for that. Center Dhiego Taylor, guards Rufo Neto and Hatila de Oliveira and tackles Anselmo Bauer and Lenin Caldeira, were blowing open huge holes while keeping both quarterbacks safe the entire game.
“They’ve worked for several years together,” Ramus said. “It’s very good when they can do their job because it makes it easier for us.”
A key turning point in the game came after Brazil’s only turnover. Down 18-0 midway through the third quarter, and still in the game, South Korea had the ball on Brazil’s 38 and was looking to cut into the lead.
But Marcos da Rocha jumped the pass of quarterback Hoon Kim and returned it to the South Korea 19. Pons then scored the second of his two touchdowns on the next play to seal the win.
“Very simply, we lost control,” South Korea coach Seong-Il Beak said. “We had the chance to make it happen, but after the interception we lost total control.”
With six days to practice before its next game, South Korea will go back to the drawing board in an effort to figure out a way to score its first offensive touchdown in IFAF World Championship play.
“We’re not playing in unison,” running back Hong Duck Jeon said. “We need to play as one, but unfortunately it’s not happening. We need to practice more.”
Brazil now plays Australia on Wednesday July 15 at 12 noon.
With info and excerpts from Brad Bournival from USA Football. Photos: USA Football/Joe Frollo.