CBFA Superliga Playoffs: Conferencia Oeste – #2 Portuguesa Lusa Lions v. #3 Tubarões do Cerrado

#2 Portuguesa Lusa Lions


#3 Tubaroes do Cerrado

Estadio do Caninde – São Paulo, São Paulo
Sunday, October 23, 10 AM local time

The Tubaroes do Cerrado (TdC) make their way from the nations capital, to São Paulo to face Coach Paulo Henrique Martins’ Lusa team that has been working toward making this a special season.

James Springfield (Tennessee State) is a big, strong athlete who opens holes for the TdC offensive line, creating running room for TdC running back tandem of Bruno Oliveira and Bruno Cavalcante has run all over opponents this season. The TdC’s wing-T attack, one of the only of its kind in Brazil, has proved difficult for most defenses to prepare for, and these two hard-running backs have taken advantage all year long. The caveat? The Lion defense, whose team the two Bruno’s will be running in to Sunday, is the same group that held the TdC to a season low of 3 points earlier in the year.

Led by flying outside safeties, Marshall Farias and Lucas Santos, the Lions swarm to the football quickly with players like fellow DBs, Nathan Santiago, Argentine Mattias Peinado, linebacker Henrique Barbosa and the versatile Anderson Maua. Add to that, the late season addition of super-pass rusher, Lincoln Silva to a defensive line that already features veteran, Gui Cupertino, and the Lion defense has a group that can stop the run, pressure the passer and get to the ball in the air.

above: The dynamic Johnny Santos will need to have a big game for Lusa against a big and fast TdC defense. Ricardo Corrêa/StudioRGB

above: The dynamic Johnny Santos will need to have a big game for Lusa against a big and fast TdC defense. Ricardo Corrêa/StudioRGB

Adding to the murky waters for the Tubaroes, is the Portuguesa offense, who hung a season high 34 points on a solid TdC defense in the seasons previous matchup. Led by quarterback, Catullo Goes, one of the toughest grittiest competitors in the entire country. Goes has run Martins air raid offense with a a lot of skill and poise this season, and some of his favorite targets are Laercio ‘’Chokolate’’ Lima Junior, veteran, Leandro Fratini, and Vinicius Seya, who has had a ton of tough catches and is having a breakout season.

The Portuguesa run game is led by one of the most complete backs in Brazil, Johnny Santos, who can run for power, cuts on a dime, accelerates quickly and has break-away speed in the open field. Santos is also a threat to catch the ball out of the backfield and is effective in pass protection.

The Tubaroes have one of the best defensive lines in the country, and they will be looking for redemption. Along with Springfield, the 6’3, 305 pound Augusto ‘’The Bus’’ Oliveira has feet like a running back and uses his amazing combination of size, strength and athleticism to regularly penetrate opposing offensive lines with devastating effect. His fellow defensive lineman, the 6’4, 240 pound, Felipe Marques, has the athleticism to line up anywhere on the D-line, and can create havoc off the edge for a passer.

above: The TdC defensive line will need to come up big if they are to escape Estadio Caninde with a playoff victory. Photo Credit: Galera na Photo

above: The TdC defensive line will need to come up big if they are to escape Estadio Caninde with a playoff victory. Photo Credit: Galera na Photo

In the secondary, team captain, Pedro Yoshida, has an interception in every game this season. Lucca Michels is all over the field for the TdC, and always seems to find himself near the football.

An different-than-usual/early (10a start time) and playoff atmosphere likely means a a closer game than the previous contest, and those venturing to Caninde for the double header (there will be a friendly match between the Corinthians Steamrollers and Sorocaba Vipers at 2p) will enjoy one of the best game day atmospheres in the country, as Portuguesa President, Renato Afonso, has put together a lively event for the fans featuring food trucks, cheerleaders, and sometimes even a marching band. Regardless of the outcome, it will be a great day of football in Sao Paulo.

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

bruno-gentil-salaBruno Gentil, Salão Oval

Lusa – This is a team (Lusa) that is constantly evolving. Lusa still needs to mature on the field, but the team is on track to win its first playoff game. The TdC come in as an underdog, but I see a game close game, being decided in the details.”

overtimefalgoGeraldo Takanage, Overtime do F.A.

Lusa – I don’t see Lusa having trouble here, they have had a great season thus far, losing only to the Arsenal. THey also have the advantage of playing in front of their home fans.”

romuladofinalVictor Romulado Francisco, Salão Oval

Lusa – This one might be tricky, but I believe that the home field advantage will be a determinant in a win over Tubarões, with the passes from Catullo to Seya and Fratini being the key.”

riffellogopicHenrique Riffel, Futebol Americano Brasil

Lusa – The Paulistas have earned their best regular season record since begining to play on the national scene in Brazil (5-1). They are the current São Paulo Football League Champions as well. Lusa features a cast of experienced players coming some of thir rivals within São Paulo. Not to mention, they have not lost in Caninde this year.”

ygormartinghcbrsilYgor Martins, Head Coach Brasil

”Lusa – The Lions won in regular season and should win again in the playoffs. Tubarões have a good football team, but this pick is a no-brainer right now.”

haim-finalHaim Ferreira, Blog Touchdown

Lusa – Undefeated at home, the Lions will have a very tough game against the TdC, but should be the winner. Quarterback Catullo Goés is usually efficient in decisive matches, and this weekend should be no different.”

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,