CBFA Superliga Playoffs: Conferencia Sul – #1 Timbo T-Rex v. #4 White Sharks – Istepos

#1 Timbo T-Rex

v.

#4 White Sharks – Istepos

Saturday, October 22, 3p local time

A lot can happen in 3 months. The University of Oregon football team can wear something like 700 different uniforms combinations within that time.

A lot can happen in couple of weeks. Lil B can release 10 mixtapes in that span.

A lot can happen in a day. Ken Bone can go from America’s mustachioed sweetheart and sure fire go-to costume for Halloween 2016, to ‘’Who was that dude in the red sweater?’’

Three months ago, the White Sharks – Istepos (WSI) marched in the Timbo T-Rex’s Complexo Esportivo (which should immediately be given the nickname ‘’Jurassic Park’’) and handed the Rex their first CBFA Superliga loss in as many games. The WSI defense harassed first year starting quarterback, Luiz Bassani, as veteran linebackers, Ramon Franco and Vinicius Zanon, picked off two of his passes and took them to the end zone. That win put the WSI in the Conferencia Sul drivers seat.

A couple of weeks ago, WSI was still in first place in Conferencia Sul, until dropped a hard fought game to the C0ritiba Crocodiles, and then another game to the Parana HP. They now limp into the playoffs as the lowest seed in the South.

In one day, the T-Rex went from two great quarterback options, to having to likely start a wide receiver at that position. Going in to their last game of the regular season, the T-Rex’s trajectory from the first game of the season was as meteoric (behind a scorching hot Bassani) as the WSI’s was descendent. That momentum carried into a hot start in one of the years most anticipated matchup, a contest with the Coritiba Crocodiles. Bassani injured his collar bone early in the game, which was not the death blow that it would be for many teams, as import Drew Hill, the same man who led the T-Rex to the TTD National Title the year before stepped in … only to break his wrist before games end. Although they emerged with the win and a 1-seed, the Rex also now had a lot of unanswered questions.

Timbo Rex - Parana HP

The above timeline sets the tone for a game that has everyone guessing the outcome, and thinking about who will come out of what now could be a wide-open Conferencia Sul.

Even with the critical injuries at quarterback, the Rex should still be able to put points on the board with their speedy skill position players and athletic linemen who fit their zone scheme perfectly. Claire Jose Simoes Junior and Well Garcia might be the fastest backfield tandem in the country, and Lucas Passarini leads a fleet footed OL that includes two-way star lineman, Caio Perreira. The big questions are: If Bassani plays, can he be at all considered a threat to pull the ball and keep it? If emergency quarterback, Ivan Tonolli, has to take snaps, will his timing in the Rex zone and RPO game be sufficiently crisp? Tonolli, arguably the teams top receiver, is certainly athletic enough to handle the duties, but anyone who runs and RPO-heavy offense knows that reps and timing are critical. Whatever the outcome, one thing that is for sure is that Coach Amadeo Salvador and his staff have examined the situation from every angle and carried out a detailed and specific plan of action.

As if the QB injuries weren’t bad enough, the Rex could hardly have drawn a tougher defense to face. The WSI defense is full of dynamic athletes that love to hit and create turnovers. 6’5, long armed, Marcus Vinicius Bunn uses his long arms to get extension when coming off the ball from his defensive end position, making him extremely hard to move in the run game and a pass rushing nightmare for most offensive lines. Ramon Franco is a big physical linebacker that loves contact. Paulo Torquato lines up at safety and cornerback for the WSI, and is an excellent runner after he snags an interception or when her returns punts. The WSI also boast speed in their defensive secondary in the form of DB, Guylherme Grudtner and electric CB, Vinicius Araujo.

Vinicius Zanon does it all for WSI. Catching passes and setting the edge as a tight end, rushing the passer as a down lineman, or playing linebacker, Zanon is not only his teams most diverse player, he is also its heart and soul in the leadership department. Zanon has a motor that never stops and plays as hard as anyone in the country. He will likely be heard from in this game.

WSI's #94 Vinicius Zanon does it all for the Istepos' defense

WSI’s #94 Vinicius Zanon does it all for the Istepos’ defense

The Rex also boast a standout two way player in OL, NT Caio Perreira. The former soccer standout now looks more like Vince Wilfork than Pele, but still has those magic feet that make coaches drool when they come on a guy with his size. Perreira is and absolute beast to deal with and has wreaked havoc in backfields across southern Brazil all season.

Lining up behind Perreira are Luis Polastri and Dariel Suarez, two beefy linebackers who can run and always seem to end up wth the football in their hands. Polastri, specifically, has found the end-zone on multiple occasions this season after scooping fumbles or snagging picks. The Rex defensive secondary is absolutely loaded, headlined by headhunters Andrew Bernardini and Keith Smith II. Corner Marco Okopny uses his long arms to make life difficult for receivers at the line of scrimmage.

That group will present a challenge for WSI quarterback, Igor Clemes, and his offensive mates. Clemes has a big arm and will look to get the ball to receivers like Alexander Girolometto in the WSI passing attack. A great athlete, Clemes uses his feet to make things happen when his pocket breaks down.

Running back JP Ramos is one of the fastest ball carriers in the country and is tough to catch when he turns the corner. That speed is balanced by the bruising style of the other Ramos that the WSI have in the backfield, Marcos Vinicius.

While the offensive output of these two teams on Saturday is tough to predict right now, the one certain thing is the the city of Timbo, and their rabid fan base, will show up en masse and support the home team with the passion and noise that it has become known for. For certain, the Complexo Esportivo Timbo will be rocking. Now, if we can just get the name changed to Jurassic Park.

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

overtimefalgoGeraldo TakanageOvertime do F.A.

”T-Rex – Despite losing to WSI in their first game, despite losing Hill, and not knowing the status of Bassani, the Rex should win a close game.”

riffellogopicHenrique RiffelFutebol Americano Brasil

”T-Rex- Owner of the best season in Conferencia Sul, the team from Santa Catarina lost only its opening game WSI, then rattled off five consecutive victories. The team led by coach Amadeo Salvador is the second highest scorer in the Brazilian championship, with 279 points, and allowed on 33 points to be scored on them, the second best total in the country.” 

bruno-gentil-salaBruno GentilSalão Oval

”T-Rex – The current TTD champs arrive in this game as the favorites, principally because of their strong finish to the season. Even with the injuries, I see Rex as the superior team.”

ygormartinghcbrsilYgor MartinsHead Coach Brasil

”T-Rex – This should be a really tough game. I don’t know how bad is Bassani’s injury, but he should be able to play. WSI already have beat T-Rex in the regular season, but I’m picking Rex because it’s a playoff game and Rex is a playoff team.”

haim-finalHaim FerreiraBlog Touchdown

”T-Rex – I believe it will be a difficult game, and decided by a touchdown. The Rex have one of the most complete rosters in the country, but will face an experienced team in the WSI. Based on what they have shown us in the regular season, I believe that Rex can come out the winner.”

romuladofinalVictor Romulado FranciscoSalão Oval

”T-Rex – Rex would be the favourite to go to the final if their two excellent QBs were fit to play. But without Drew Hill for the rest of the season (broken arm) and Luiz Bassani with a bruised shoulder, the uncertainties are now bigger. Even with all of this, I think they will pass through WSI, in a very tough contest.”

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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