CBFA Superliga Playoffs: Conferencia Nordeste: #1 Ceara Caçadores v #4 América Bulls Potiguares

CBFA Superliga Playoff preview:

Conferencia Sul: #1 Ceara Caçadores vs #4 América Bulls Potiguares

Estadio Presidente VargasFortaleza, Ceara

October 22, 4 PM local time

Ceara Caçadore quarterback, Romário Reis, leads Conferencia Nordeste's number 1 seed into the playoffs. Photo Credit: Shot4Time

Ceara Caçadore quarterback, Romário Reis, leads Conferencia Nordeste’s number 1 seed into the playoffs. Photo Credit: Shot4Time

The Ceara Caçadores are a clock munching, ball pounding, touchdown scoring, gang tackling, turnover-inducing, good-special-teams-having, well-coached, efficient, disciplined and talented group of football players. But they couldn’t beat the Bulls.

Sunday afternoon in Fortaleza’s Estadio Presidente Vargas, the Caçadores will try to right the only wrong they have committed this season, in vanquishing the Bulls season and advancing to a Conferencia Nordeste final against the João Pessoa Espectros. While many think that the Caçadores sole blemish on the year was nothing more than an aberration, a post-big-win hangover of a game after beating the Espectros during the regular season, Joe Small and his Bulls team has other ideas.

Joe Small will need to continue to level the competition to give his Bulls squad a chance beat the top-seeded Caçadores for a second time this season.

Joe Small will need to continue to level the competition to give his Bulls squad a chance beat the top-seeded Caçadores for a second time this season.

The Small-led squad out of Natal faced an ‘’early playoff game’’ in a win-and-you’re-in victory against the Recife Pirates just a couple of weeks ago, and hopes to carry that momentum into this first round matchup against this Ceara squad who is undoubtedly foaming at the mouth for a little revenge. In their upset bid, the Bulls will rely on the linebacker, Small, and fellow linebacker Aleff Alomedo, defensive lineman, João Henrique, corner, Igor Rogue, and rangy safety, João Octavio Pires. Pires and Small, especially, will need to be all over the field for the Bulls, as they have been all season.

Offensively, the Bulls go as far as shifty, elusive, play-extending quarterback, Brian Gessel, takes them. Gessel seems to be at his best in the midst of the chaos of a broken pocket, breaking off big runs, or scampering to, fro, hither and yon behind the line of scrimmage, until finding an open receiver, as he did on a do or die overtime play for their season – a 3rd and 15 strike to key wideout, Felipe Eric, to extend the Bulls drive and ultimately their season. Bruising runner, Eric Ferreira will need to grind out tough yards against the Caçadore defense on Sunday as well.

Caçadores all-purpose athlete, TB Battle, has a great football name, and even better game, scoring on receptions, interceptions and punt returns this season. Photo credit: Diego Dinelly

Caçadores all-purpose athlete, TB Battle, has a great football name, and even better game, scoring on receptions, interceptions and punt returns this season. Photo credit: Diego Dinelly

The Caçadores have the look of a team on a mission, and are a bit of a paradox. At times, they are the most boring, un-exciting team in the country, grinding out yard after hard-earned yard on the legs of workhorse back, Eduardo Maranhão. Who has toted the rock 105 times this season for 626 yards and 3 scores, eclipsing the century mark in 5 of 6 contests this season. This same Caçadore offense, though, has a Superman to their Clark Kent, or, rather, SupermEn – The Brothers Reis, quarterback Romario and receiver/return-specialist, Marlos, are two of the most athletic and exciting players in the country, breaking off big play after big play. Add in to that mix, the electric TB Battle, who is a threat to score every time his fingers touch the football, and the ho-hum ‘’netflix and chill’’ run game of Maranho turns into one of those Fridays that become Monday morning at Berghain.

Caçadore running back, Eduardo Maranhão has run for over 100 yards in 5 of 6 games this season. Photo credit: Diego Dinelly

Caçadore running back, Eduardo Maranhão has run for over 100 yards in 5 of 6 games this season. Photo credit: Diego Dinelly

Romario Reis has made it happen in the air and on the ground this season, going 37/93 for 742 yards and 8 TDs in the air, while adding 3 scores on the ground behind 150 yards on 31 carries. It’s a credit to Coach Mike Lima and staff for continuing to bring this young talent along slowly and with care. Those touchdown launches have gone to his younger brother, Marlos (16 catches for 273 yards and 3 TDs), Battle (2 catches for 137 yards (you read that correctly) and 2 scores), and Talon Rogasch (5 snags for 63 yards and 2 touchdowns).

The Reis Family DNA is exceptional. Marlos Reis, younger brother of Caçadore star QB, Romário, is making quite the name for himself in Brazil. Photo credit: Stephan Eilert

The Reis Family DNA is exceptional. Marlos Reis, younger brother of Caçadore star QB, Romário, is making quite the name for himself in Brazil. Photo credit: Stephan Eilert

The credit for this offensive output must be laid at the feet of the Caçadore offensive line, who has block for a team rushing average of 186 yards a game, and give up a nearly unbelievable 2 sacks this season.

The Caçadore ofensive line has been mthical this season, laying pipe for 168 rushing yards per game and allowing only two sacks all year. Photo credit: Diego Dinelly

The Caçadore ofensive line has been mthical this season, laying pipe for 168 rushing yards per game and allowing only two sacks all year. Photo credit: Diego Dinelly

The special teams, which Lima and his staff devote upwards of 30% of practice time to, has overwhelmed opponents, and allowed the Caçadores to leave most drives this season with at least some points, with kicker Danilo Arrais hitting field goals from as far out as 52 yards this season, Battle returning two punts for touchdowns and Marlos Reis returning a kickoff to the promised land as well.

Coach Mike Lima's investment into special teams this year has paid off, and one of the biggest beneficiaries has been kicker, Danilo Arrais, who has banged from as deep as 52 yards this season. Photo credit: Stephan Eilert

Coach Mike Lima’s investment into special teams this year has paid off, and one of the biggest beneficiaries has been kicker, Danilo Arrais, who has banged from as deep as 52 yards this season. Photo credit: Stephan Eilert

Defensively, teams should be scared to put the ball in the air too often against a sticky-fingered Caçadore secondary. Battle has 5 picks on the year, three of which he took to The House, while corner Paulo Alberto has added two more. End, Marco Giovati leads the team with 4 sacks on the season (he has also forced and recovered a fumble), with DT Xikao Junior (1 forced fumble, 1 recovered) and hybrid DE/LB, Kaleo Melo (2 forced fumbles) each notching three QB take downs behind the line of scrimmage.

For Caçadore Coach, Mike Lima, it’s just another week in his methodical approach to football, that has paid dividends. ‘’We’re very mechanical in our approach to the game. Everything our coaching staff does is based solely on results and the ability to adjust if said results are not what we expected them to be,’’ he said.

Whatever you’re doing Coach Lima, it’s working.

AFI asked some of Brazil’s top American football bloggers to pick the first round. See their thoughts on this game below:

haim-finalHaim FerreiaBlog Touchdown

Caçadores – No doubt that the Caçadores should be the winner. They are unbeaten at home and beat their main rivals (Mariners and Espectros). The great import, TB Battle, should also help the team from Ceará. Their only defeat in the league, however, was to the Bulls. So it is best for them to be 100% tuned in the game.”

romuladofinalVictor Romulado FranciscoSalão Oval

Caçadores – Even in the Northeast Conference, as the unpredictable territory land it is, and the Caçadores their only defeat to the Bulls (on the road), I take the Caçadores. Home field advantage and the stars, Maranhão, Romario e Battle will be the key to victory.’

ygormartinghcbrsilYgor MartinsHead Coach Brasil

Caçadores – Caçadores are a #1 seed over the likes of the Espectros and Mariners for a reason. They should win this game with no major problems.”

bruno-gentil-salaBruno GentilSalão Oval

Caçadores – Playing at home with Battle and Reis, they should win. Even though the Caçadores lost to this team during the regular season, they have evolved a lot and are ready to play for a conference final.”

riffellogopicHenrique Riffel – Futebol Americano Brasil

”Caçadores – Coach Mike Lima coach drew national attention after defeating the two Northeastern powers: João Pessoa and Recife. These two victories that assured the Cearenses their unprecedented first position in the conference – the Caçadores have also been in the first position in 2014 (6-0) and 2015 (5-1), but in a different division. The team puts their hopes on the backs of quarterback, Romário Reis, and the do-it-all American, TBattle, to reach the Norhteastern Conference final for the first time.

overtimefalgoGeraldo TakanageOvertime do F.A.

Caçadores – Despite their regular season loss to the Bulls, they should win this one. They have had the best season in the conference.”

 

 

 

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.