Brazil’s Superliga Entering Crucial Stage

Vila Velha Tritoes definitely made a statement in downing the Vasco da Gama Patriotas as we highlight the games of the week in week 7 action in Brazil’s Superliga. Parana, Santos and Flamengo also prevailed as Brazil’s top league tightens up.

Vila Velha Tritoes 34 – Vasco da Gama Patriotas 7
Estadio Jose Maria Brita de Barros – Margaratiba, Rio de Janeiro

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Above: Giorgio Bryant shows some speed in the open field. Photo credit: Face mask foto facebook page

Welcome to Brazil, Giorgio Bryant. Bryant, who touched down in Brazil only Tuesday after playing the season in Polandwith the Warsaw Sharks, got in Wednesday and Thursday practices with his new Vila Velha Tritoe teammates before leading them to an impressive 34-7 victory over the Vasco da Gama Patriotas, by contributing 4 touchdowns (three passing, one rushing) on 148 yards on 14/20 passing and covering 80 yards with his legs.

“I did not know much about Brazilian football, but there was just something about this team that made me want to come. I had heard a lot of great things about this group and the players and coaching staff,’’ said Bryant of his decision to head south of the equater.
“I had never been to Brazil, and I thought ‘you only live once, so why not come to Brazil?’ Why not come to a great organization that I have heard great things about?’’ he added.

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Above: Junis Bozetti comes down with an interception. Photo credit: Face mask foto facebook page

Bryant’s arrival was one of the best kept secrets in Brazilian football, as everyone (including AFI!) has penciled in the Tritoes signal caller for their first two games, Altivo ‘’Tivim’’ Ribeiro, as the man to once again take the Vila Velha snaps With the arrival of Bryant, Ribeiro was able to move back to his original and preferred position.

“Tivim knows his limitations and he was playing QB with his heart, but he had always wanted to move back to WR,” said Tritoes Head Coach, Lener Fernandes.

Dynamic DB, Junis Bozetti, intercepted a first quarter Vasco pass to set up Bryant, the speedster who initially signed at Louisiana Monroe only to go on to win an NCAA long jump title at Cal State LA and be clocked as low as 10.55 in the 100 meters, who darted out of the pocket on a broken passing play, and galloped 78 yards to open the scoring.

In addition to the Tritoes touchdown, the first quarter had other devastating implications for Vasco, as RB Romulo Ramos, receivers Lipe Fernandes and Diego Slaxis and CB, Bruno Rosa, all left the field with injuries. The afternoon didn’t get any better for the Patriotas.

The second quarter saw Bryant hit Danilo de Sá and Weberton Junior with touchdown throws. Speedy Tritoes linebacker Jefferson Martins provided the nail in the Vasco coffin in the third quarter, by bumping out from his inside linebacker position post-snap to jump in front of an inside route run by slot receiver Ruda Andrade. Martins snagged the pass and took the interception 90 yards for a touchdown, making it 27-7.

Fernandes was flagged on the play for leaving the coaches box as he sprinted the length of the field with Martins on his trip to the end zone. “I was almost in tears,” said Fernandes.

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Above: Alex “A-Train” Allen skies above Vasco defenders for the football. Photo credit: Fask mask foto facebook page

Bryant added a touchdown pass to Pedro “Golden Boy” Medici in the 4th.

‘’Coming here straight from Germany to be the starting QB was a lot of pressure, not only because I had to learn the signals and playbook, but because we were playing against one of the top two teams in Brazil,’’ said Bryant

Playing a mistake-free game and being a leader were Bryant’s focus when faced with the gargantuan task of learning a playbook and game plan in 72 hours.

‘’I tried to absorb the basic plays and things we would run in the game. I did a lot of studying. My game plan was to run the offense without turning the ball over and be a great leader for my teammates,’’ said Bryant.

Even with his masterful performance, Bryant says there were still nerves coming in to the game.

‘’I was nervous about messing up and I wanted to make sure that I got every play off right, no fumbles or interceptions, didn’t open up the wrong way on a run or throw the wrong pass to the wrong guy,’’ Bryant added.

For Fernandes, this week’s performance was a glimpse of what his squad can do if it plays mistake and penalty free football, problems that marked the Tritoes first two games of the season.

“We played the same Tritoes football that we’ve been playing for three years. Defensively, we didn’t make the same mistakes that we had made against Flamengo. I’m proud of my athletes. They stepped up to the challenge,’’ Fernandes said.

AFI’s take: Adding Bryant to the backfield with Alex “A-Train” Allen gives Vila Velha a potent backfield that can likely produce yards against any defense in the country.

Parana HP 34 Curitiba Brown Spiders 0
Top Line Arena – Campo Largo, Parana

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Above: Paraná HP runningback, Jefferson Lourenço, stretches his torso and jersey for the extra yard, as André Berluscone, of the Brown Spiders, hangs on for dear life. Photo credit: Alexandre Amorim and Fernando Shuartz

The HP defense didn’t allow a first down until the midway point of the 3rd quarter in a dominant performance. Dynamic DB brothers, Cleverson and Anderson Kvas each snagged Brown Spider footballs, with Anderson notching an interception and Cleverson recovery a Tiago Dalcanale-forced fumble for 25 yards.

‘’Our offense did a great job of controlling the clock,’’ said injured-linebacker-turned-assistant-coach, Eduardo Viana. ‘’I think our defense was only on the field for 9 plays in the first half.’’

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Above: Paraná HP DB, Cleverson Kvas, runs the HP flag on to the field before kickoff against the Curitibab Brown Spiders. Photo credit: Fotos de Alexandre Amorim Fernando Shuartz

Jefferson “Jack Bauer” Lourenço opened the scoring with a rushing touchdown and Patrick Oliveira closed the game out with a terrestrial TD of his own. Duylian Lima dos Santos caught TD passes from both Maycon Rodrigues and Mateus Rosa. Lucas Copi swung his mighty leg for field goals of 46 and 47 yards.

AFI’s take: Ball control and defense can be a recipe for championships, and the HP appear to be banking on it.

Flamengo 78 Cabritos 0
Campo de Barcelona – Serra, Espirito Santo

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Above: Flamengo safety, Fernando Giovonnotti, lowers the boom and forces a fumble against the Cabritos. Photo credit: Silveira Leonardo

This weekend saw yet another dominant performance for Otavio Roichman’s club. This time, the victrim was the Cabritos.
KC Frost found three different targets for touchdown passes (Felipe Leira, Gabriel Curty and Douglas). Rafael Garcia and Yolandis Pratt each ran for a score, while Felipe Florencio ran for two. The Flamengo defensive line, led by agile d-linemen, Denis Baros and Edilso ‘’Jow’’ Azevedo, got into the scoring act as well, with Pratt taking his interception to the house, and Lucas Leguizamo recovered a Cabrito fumble in the end zone for a score. Luiz Honks added a pick as well.

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Above: Flamengo QB, KC Frost, dives for more yardage as Coach Otavio Roichman looks On. Photo credit: Silveira Leonardo

Azevedo shed some light on all of the lopsided scoreboards that have been seen at Flamengo contests this season.

“We treat every opponent the same, so our performance does not vary (from game to game),’’ he said.

AFI’s Take: There is just no taking their foot off the pedal for Coach Roichman’s squad.

Santos 15 Locomotiva 7
CT Meninos da Vila – Santos, Sao Paulo

A 30 yard interception return for a touchdown by Matheus Furlaneto was the difference Saturday in Santos. For Furlaneto, the game was won with Santos’ preparation.

“We studied so much for this game, so we just did our job and had a great win,” Furlaneto said of a defensive performance that saw Santos create 3 turnovers that, in addition to his pick-6, included a red zone interception.

That preparation stymied the Locomotiva passing game.

“Our offense did not play well, especially in the passing game,’’ said Locomotiva Coach, Italo Mingoni.

The Locomotiva’s lone appearance in the end zone came when running back Marco Geller crossed the goal line on the ground.
The bright spot for the team from Minas Gerais came defensively, with DL/LB hybrid, Roberto Schor, forcing two fumbles, one of which was recovered by linebacker, Vinicius Drummond. Mingoni also sited strong safety, Bruno Bachur, as playing well for the Locomotiva defense, which held Santos to just a field goal by Amilcar Neto, and a 3 yard rushing TD by running back Alexandre Bonifácio.

“We played together all game, everyone was supporting their brother,’’ said Furlaneto

AFI’s take: It will be tough for either of these teams to catch the leaders in the Conferencia Leste groups.

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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