CBFA Superliga Playoffs: Conferencia Sul – #2 Coritiba Crocodiles v. #3 Parana HP

#2 Coritiba Crocodiles

v.

#3 Parana HP

Brown Spiders Sports Complex – Curitiba, Parana
Saturday, October 22, 2p local time

2017’s third installment of this crosstown rivalry is not only the rubber match for a series tied at 1 game each, but has the biggest stakes: a trip to the Conferencia Sul finals.

Although both teams have talented athletes on the offensive end, they rely on stingy defenses, full of gang tacklers. Holding on to the ball offensively, while creating turnovers, will likely be a major factor in this contest.

For Crocodile quarterback, Drew Banks, the playoffs in Brazil are nothing new, but this time, he is experiencing it on the other side of the country. Banks came within a few key plays of leading the Recife Mariners to the CBFA national championship in 2015. He hopes that 2016 is the year that he and Coach Fabio Naldino’s Crocodile squad go all the way.

‘’HP is never an easy game,’’ he said. ‘’We know we’ve got two tough games to get out of our conference, but we are confident.’’

Coritiba Crocodiles' QB Drew Banks

Coritiba Crocodiles’ QB Drew Banks

Protecting Banks on this playoff march will be one of the biggest and most veteran-laden offensive lines in the country. When asked to name a ‘’key’’ lineman, between LT, Matheus Jakimiu (formerly of the University of Toronto); LG, Dhiego Taylor; C, Rodrigo Cardoso; RG, Henrique Pucca; and RT, Daniel Cross, Banks couldn’t do it.

‘’They all play well and are important, I don’t know if one is more key than another,’’ he said.

That girthy group will be plowing holes for a stable of runners who bring a variety of skill sets to the field. There is the shifty Bruno Santucci, then there is Lucas ‘’Mullett’’ Nascimento, who ‘’carries a piano’’ when he bursts through gaps. Throw in power-runner, Alexandre Oliveira, and Suelber Rangel, who does a little bit of everything, and one has to wonder how there are enough carries in a game for this group.

Banks will look to trusty targets Rodrigo Coletti and Adan Rodriguez in the passing game.

The Crocodile offense will have its hands full, though, against a defense that some are calling the best in the country. Led up front by João Pedro Ferreira and Thiago Fonseca, the HP defensive line penetrates the line and eats up blockers for linebackers Gustavo Rios and Rodrigo Zandona to make tackles.

The group that wreaks the most havoc for the HP, though, are the War Boys, as they are known, the HP defensive backfield. Led by brothers Anderson and Cleverson Kvas and anchored with Thiago Dalcanale’s veteran leadership, this group flys around the field breaking up and bogarting passes, and is a threat to block punts is they are left on the field during special teams.

Cleverson Kvas, Parana HP

Cleverson Kvas, left, celebrating with defensive teammates of Parana HP

The HP boast an offense with some really talented pieces, that must finish its drives and hold on to the football to walk out of Saturday with a victory. Running backs Fred Taurus and Jefferson Laurenço are rarely brought down with just one tackler, and linemen, Carlos Eduardo and Victor Sequinel anchor the big boys up front for Parana.

The HP have used two quarterbacks this season, Veteran Maycon Rodrigues and the younger Mateus Rosa. These two get to throw to one of the most physically gifted targets in the country, Guilhermo Gulin, and his fellow receiver, Duilham Lima.

The experience-heavy Crocodile defense is ready for the challenge. When teams think about scoring on Curitiba, they have to account for and block DE, Delmer Zoeschke, every time he is on the field. Fernando Alves leads the Crocodile linebackers, along with youngster, Leonardo Tomadon, and vets Cleverson Freitas and Gino Santoro roam the secondary with Henrique Rocha, one of the most athletic safeties in Brazil.

It only seems right that these two teams should face each other with the season on the line, and fans in Curitiba can plan some physical, hard hitting football as they watch another chapter of this budding rivalry unfold. It’s a Two Chinstrap Game.

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

romuladofinalVictor Romulado FranciscoSalão Oval

Crocodiles –  I’m betting on a low score here- 2 possessions tops – as the recente history of this matchup shows (low scoring contests). Elimination would be a disaster for the Crocodiles – the biggest champion in Brazil’s  history – two national titles, seven state titles and reaching virtually all the finals.”

haim-finalHaim FerreiraBlog Touchdown

Crocodiles – Another evenly matched game. HP has one of the best defenses in Brazil, while the Crocodiles have perhaps the most dynamic quarterback in the competition, Drew Banks. In the (Parana) state finals, HP fared better, and in the Superliga regular season, the Crocodiles won. This time, bet on Croco.”

bruno-gentil-salaBruno GentilSalão Oval

HP – The Strong HP defense must contain Drew Banks. If this happens, I see the HP coming out on top in this duel. In my opinion, this is the time for HP beat their biggest rivals and strengthen their position as a national power in the sport.”

ygormartinghcbrsil Ygor MartinsHead Coach Brasil

Crocodiles – A tough pick. I’m picking Croco only because they’re playing better football right now. but, HP is not that far behind.”

riffellogopicHenrique RiffelFutebol Americano Brasil

CrocodilesCuritiba’s most storied team are always in the title conversation. The current national runner-up (CBFA) is 5-1, only losing in their last game of the year to the T-Rex. Their cast is full of players with Brazilian National Team experience, like Adan Rodriguez, Delmer Zoeschke and Bruno Santucci. Their offense has experienced American quarterback, Drew Banks, who helped the US National team to a World Cup title in 2015.’’

 overtimefalgo Geraldo TakanageOvertime do F.A.
”Crocodiles – This should be the best game of the first round, but the Crocodiles have the edge, always getting results when then need them. Also, they have Drew Banks, and this should make a big difference in the game.”
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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