HP Parana and Timbo Rex bounce back in a major way; a down to the wire finishes in Florianapolis and Recife, and the “Catullo Mary” in São Paulo
Brazil’s new unified American football league, the Confederação Brasileira de Futebol Americano (CBFA)’s Superliga, is full-steam ahead into their inaugural season. Let’s review last weekend’s action.
Parana HP 41, Foz da Iguaçu Black Sharks 0
Arena Top Line – Campo Largo, Parana
The Parana HP shook off a tough opening weekend loss to Conferencia Sul rival, Curitiba Crocodiles, with a 41-0 drubbing of the Foz da Iguaçu Black Sharks. The scoring, for the HP, came from all over the place, with the offense scoring 4 TDs, while defensive and special teams coordinator, Carlos Copi’s units added a touchdown and 2 field goals.
Quarterbacks Mateus Salim and José Vidal both connected with the same target, WR Pedro Molina, in the end zone for passing scores, while running backs Demerson Cambuhy and Jefferson Lourenço found the goaline on the ground. Kicker Lucas Copi added field goals of 27 and 44 yards for his older brother’s special teams unit.
‘’HP had good field position the whole game,’’ said Black Sharks nose tackle, Elio Jacob, ‘’their specialists repeatedly had us (backed up) against our own end zone,’’ he added, speaking of 3 punts that the HP’s Lucas Copi was able to pin inside the 5 yard line.
Pitching a shutout was a big statement for a defense who lost one of their top players, linebacker Eduardo Vianna, for the season in week 1. Linebacker Rodrigo Zandona Phillipsen had two sacks and a pick 6, while Gustavo Rios added 4 sacks of his own, and two tackles for a loss.
AFI’s take: There are very few cupcakes in the Superliga’s Conferencia Sul, so getting back to 1-1 is huge for the HP. They remain in the conversation for a conference title. This was the last game for defensive and special teams coordinator, Carlos Copi, before he heads to Belhaven University to volunteer under the tutelage of the legendary Hal Mumme. Keep an eye on how HP adjusts in his absence.
Santos Tsunami 23, Botafogo Challengers 0
CT Santa Íria – Ribeirao Preto, Sao Paulo
Two defensive scores highlighted this win for Santos. Play-making linebacker, Gabriel Almeida, scooped and scored on a fumble recovery and DB, Rafael Ferreira, returned his interception for a TD.
The Tsunami offense showed a different look under new QB, Wallace Silva, who ran for a TD. Alcimar Neto added a field goal.
‘’Our defense played outstanding and our offense played with a lot of heart,’ said star Tsunami safety, Matheus Furlaneto.
AFI’s take: A solid first win for Santos, especially with a new QB. They will need to acclimate to their new offense quickly to have success in Conferencia Leste.
Sao Jose White Sharks-Istepos 18, Curutiba Brown Spiders 13
Colégio Forquilhã – Sao Jose, Santa Catarina
White Sharks Istepos QB, Igor Clemes, connected WR Marcos Vinicius Almeida for the game winning touchdown pass with 20 seconds remaining in the game. Clemes also forced the ball into the endzone on a QB sneak and connected with WSI’s two way star, TE/DE Vinicius Zanon for a touchdown pass.
For Zanon, time of possession was a big factor in the WSI moving to 2-0. ‘’We had some nice drives that allowed our offense to stay on the field,’’ he said.
Brown Spiders quarterback, Anderson Candioto contributed both touchdowns scored by his squad, with a QB sneak of his own, and a strike to speedster receiver, Athos Daniel. The Brown Spiders lost more than just the game this weekend, though, as talented wideout, Bernardo Horevitch, suffered a serious arm injury and didn’t finish the game.
Highlight: See Igor Clemes’ game winning TD pass to Marcos Vinicius Almeida: Video Credit: Salao Oval and Victor Romulado:
Touchdown WSI com o WR #88 Marcos Vinicius! XP no good! Agora 18×13 para WSI, faltam 15 segundos! pic.twitter.com/XOIlkQMUGe
— Salão Oval (@SalaoOval) July 24, 2016
Highlight: WSI Safety, Paulo Torquato, with an unbelievable int return for a touchdown. The play was annulled with a clipping call, but the return was too electric not to share. Video Credit: Salao Oval and Victor Romulado:
AFI’s take: 0-2 is a tough place to be, but even moreso in Conferencia Sul. The Brown Spiders will need some help to get back in the conference title conversation. WSI will need to increase production from other members of its talented defense, to replace dominant linebacker, Gerson Santos, who is off to Aachen, Germany on an engineering internship for the rest of the season.
Lusa Lions (Portuguesa) 26, São Paulo Storm 23
Estadio Quintino de Lima – Sao Roque, Sao Paulo
When Storm running back, Allan Giamas, scampered into the end zone to give his team a 23-19 4th quarter lead, it looked like the Storm would avenge their loss from a few weeks earlier in the Sao Paulo Football League’s state championship game, but Lusa QB Catullo Góes had other plans.
The Storm defense had made it a rough day for Góes, with multiple sacks and pressures, and picking him off twice ( by DBs Anderson Forato and Allan Wallace), but it didn’t rattle him enough.
“I felt like they were respecting our (deep) passing game (on the final drive of the game), so we used short and intermediate passes, and the run. We wanted to score a touchdown, but I didn’t want to give them the ball back with any time left,” said Goes, who took the idea of waiting until the end of the game to score to epic lengths.
On 4th down and 20 yards between him and the end zone, Góes scrambled left, and put up a jump ball in the direction of the long, outstretched arms of TE Jose Laercio Lima Junior. When Lima Junior came to the ground, he was in the end zone with the ball in his hands and (after a PAT by kicker Renan Barbosa) a 26-23 lead. Only 3 seconds were left in the game. The ‘’Catullo Mary’’ was complete and Lusa would hold on by the skin of their teeth for a white knuckle victory.
“I just saw (Lima Junior) and tried to put it up there to give him a chance to make a play,” said Goes.
The game winner was Lima Junior’s second touchdown of the day. He also recovered a fumble in the end zone. Dynamic running back, Johnny Santos scored a rushing touchdown, while Vinicius Seya added a receiving touchdown, in addition to some stellar kick returns.
“Resiliency: I think that’s the word for the game,” said Goes. “We wanted to start fast and make it an easier game to handle, but thats exactly what they did. Then they kept pounding with their run game and good depth at RB. We did a good job of keeping ourselves in the game, even though we didn’t play well the whole game,” He said. “It was a great team effort to keep fighting and finish strong.”For Storm Head Coach, Ale Sagaz, although he say improvement, mistakes were still a factor. ‘’(For the Storm) it was different than the last game (against Lusa). We finished some drives and we had less difficulty playing our game, but mistakes, both offensively and defensively, are still our biggest enemy.’’ he said.
‘’We gave them too many first downs and were negative on first down too many times,’’ added Sagaz.Allan Giamas and Felipe Finex scored on long runs for the Storm, with Malcolm Gasque contributing the other TD by returning the opening kickoff to the endzone. Nick Lobo added a field goal.
Moving forward, Goes and his Lions will look to improve early game performance.
“We must start fast. We know we can finish games, but we really need to start fast,” he said.
Highlight: Lusa RB, Johnny Santos, makes a nifty move to avoid traffic in the backfield, and scampers into the endzone:
TD Jhonny Santos #6 . XP good e tudo igual em São roque 7×7 pic.twitter.com/FYUrp4CVTD
— Salão Oval (@SalaoOval) July 23, 2016
AFI’s take: Lusa remains on a collision course with the Cuiaba Arsenal for control of Conferencia Oeste.
Recife Pirates 22, UFERSA Petroleiros 18
Estadio Dos Aflitos – Recife, Pernambuco
A healthy Andrew Griffin led his team to the end zone on the final drive of the game this weekend in Recife. The Pirate QB had been sick in the Pirates season opening loss to the Recife Mariners.
‘’Andrew being healthy made a big difference,’’ said Pirate Team President and Offensive Coordinator, Rodrgio Azevedo, ‘’we started out with a great tempo,’’ he said.
Griffin connected with Tulius Mota for 2 touchdown passes, while running back Sanches Holder added a rushing score on a speed option.
The defense, which Azevedo described as ‘’focused’’, was led by great play from DB Erivelton Pessoa.
After getting back to .500 (at 1-1), the Pirates will look to improve.
‘’We need to continue work on our running game and blocking,’’ said Azevedo.
John Smith had a unique trifecta of touchdowns for the Petroleiros, scoring one each by rushing, passing and receiving.
AFI’s take: These two squads might not be on the level of the Mariner’s or Espectros yet, but they are definitely taking steps in the right direction. This could be the year that propels them into Conferencia Nordeste title conversations in years to come.
Tubaroes do Cerrado 28, Sorocaba Vipers 9
Centro Esportivo JD. Simus – Sorocaba, São Paulo
The team from Brasilia ground, pounded and rumbled their way to a decisive victory with a nod to the old school. Running the ball on an estimated 90% of their snaps, the Tubaroes do Cerrado (TdC) utilized a flexbone formation offensively. TdC runningbacks Bruno Cavalcante and Bruno Marques, and QB Guilherme Rasi all scored rushing touchdowns.
As good as the offense looked for the squad from the nation’s capital, it was the TdC defense that set the tone in this game.
‘’We know they are a team that likes to run the football, and we came in prepared for that,’’ said TdC DB, Rafael Nakamura. After back-to-back 3 and out’s to start the game, Sorocaba spread out their formation. ‘’I don’t think they were very comfortable spreading out and throwing the ball,’’ said Nakamura.
The TdC defensive line, led by Augusto Oliveira and Felipe Marques, spent the day in the Viper backfield, harassing ball carriers and sacking QB Jonathan Leandro multiple times. That pressure led to two TdC interceptions, one by Pedro Yoshida, and another by Andre Luiz, which was returned for a touchdown. DB Lucca Michels was also all over the field for the TdC.
For Sorocaba, Leandro had one touchdown pass to talented WR, Adriano Bueno.
AFI’s take: After winning the Liga Nacional title in 2015, this was Sorocaba’s first experience in the Super Liga. Look for them to make adjustments and look a lot more solid before seasons end.
Timbo T-Rex 41, Juventude 0
Complexo Esportivo – Timbo, Santa Catarina
Timbo looked like a defending national champion on Saturday, in front a loud, packed house at Timbo’s Complexo Esportivo. Timbo QB Luis Bassani shook off a rough opening week to run for 2 TDs and throw another one to Ivan Tonolli. Speedster Clair Jose ran for a pair of scores, and linebacker Luis Polastri took an interception to the house.
For Timbo head coach, Amadeo Salvador, the key to the win was protecting Bassani.
‘’Without a lot of pressure, Bassani was able to demonstrate a lot more confidence. He hit 80% of his targets.’’
Salvador was also proud of how his front 7, led by a linebacking corp that, with Polastir, Dariel Suares and Laercio Anceleto, might have the best trio in the country, handled the Juventude run game.
‘’We think they (Juventude) have one of the best running games in the South (and they) didn’t have any significant runs.’’ he said.
Thiago Laux also added an interception for the T-Rex.
‘’They just played way better than us,’’ said Juventude head coach, Wesley Mota. ‘’Our offense couldn’t execute our game plan and our defense was on the field a lot,’’ he said.
Highlight: Timbo QB, Luis Bassani, connects with Ivan Tonolli for a TD. Video Credit: Salao Oval and Victor Romulado:
Na metade do 3o quarto, mais um TD do REX com um lindo passe de Bassani para o WR Ivan. XP convertido!
— Salão Oval (@SalaoOval) July 23, 2016
Highlight: Timbo RB, Carlos Black, takes a speed option pitch and heads off to the races. Video Credit: Salao Oval and Victor Romulado:
Menos de 2 minutos para o final do 2o quarto e o REX está na responde novamente com essa linda corrida do RB Black. pic.twitter.com/ad2K3JLN7u
— Salão Oval (@SalaoOval) July 23, 2016
Highlight: Timbo RB, Clair Jose, hits the hole hard and plunges into the endzone:
Em sua primeira campanha o REX marca um TD com o RB Clair, XP convertido 07×00. pic.twitter.com/VBrdlTyFkK
— Salão Oval (@SalaoOval) July 23, 2016
AFI’s take: Quarterback Drew Hill, who led Timbo to the 2015 TTD title, was just announced as returning. The Timbo offense just went from “good” to “scary-good.”
Goiania Rednecks 32 , Campo Grande Predadores 6
Estadio Jacques da Luz – Campo Grande, Mato Grosso do Sul
In the eviscerating heat of the Pantal during the dry season, the Predadores hosted the Candango cup runners-up in the first Superliga game of the season for both squads. The win was a historic one for the Rednecks, marking their first every Superliga victory.
The Rednecks front 4 proved to be tough for the Predadores to handle. Led by DT Diogo Santos, the down lineman swarmed all day, highlighted by Guilherme Marra forcing a fumble that Tommy Jones recovered in the end zone for the teams second touchdown of the squelching afternoon.
‘’Our front 7, led by the d-line, made it really hard for them (Predadores) to run,’’ said Goiania defensive coordinator, Igor Oliveira. ‘’It (defensive line) used to be a weak point for our group and they have turned it into a strength,’’ he added.
Goiania RB Conan Afonso ran for one TD, and nearly another. Fortunately, his fumble was recovered by teammate, WR Semer Bahmad, to add to the scoreboard for the Rednecks. A late 60 yard bomb from Paulo Paiva to Ewander Nunes rounded out the scoring for the Goiania club. The points didn’t come easily, though.
“They (Predadores) are really solid tacklers and very physical on defense,’’ said Oliveira.
“The Rednecks came in prepared,’’ said Campo Grande Offensive Coordinator, Edson Albuquerque. That preparation came in contrast to the Predadores, who are in the midst of absorbing another team, the Camp Grande Grave Diggers. ‘’We haven’t jelled yet, so there were many errors and a lack of organization. We believe that we will evolve throughout the season.’’ said Albuquerque.
AFI’s take: The Rednecks didn’t even have helmets and pads three years ago, so a win in Superliga shows some lightning-fast growth. They may not be ready to run with the big dogs of Superliga just yet, but this is a team to watch in years to come. While combining two teams presents many difficulties, especially in the initial stages, it is often beneficial in the long term. Look for the Predadroes to adjust and improve as the season continues.