João Pessoa Espectros halt Galo FA win streak, advance to Brazilian final

After two straight championship final defeats to the Belo Horizonte Galo FA, the João Pessoa Espectros finally broke the jinx while also snapping Belo Horizonte’s 44 game win streak, by beating the Galo 20-7 in the Brazilian semifinal.

The Espectros took a 13-0 halftime lead and then let the defense and Carlos Cox do the rest. Cox scored on a 60 yard run to put the game away and the defense held strong.

Jonatha Carvalho scored one touchdown for the Espectros and Carlos Cox the other while Diego Aranha kicked two field goals and both extra points for the Espectros. Veteran quarterback Alex Niznak was efficient in leading the João Pessoa offense.

For the Galo, Parris Lee scored the lone touchdown from one yard out.

Espectros RB Carlos Cox was named Game MVP. Photo: Anderson Silva Fotografia

Carvalho was a workhorse for João Pessoa, leading the opening drive, putting the Espectros in field goal range. Aranha made good on the field goal attempt adding another later in the period to give João Pessoa a 6-0 lead.

When the Galo offense finally kicked into gear, with Lee powering the way, quarterback Yaggo Brito coughed the ball up and Cox recovered.  Another key turnover was crucial. The Espectros special teams blocked a punt midway through the second quarter to give them the ball on the Galo goalline. Carvalho made no mistake, plunging into the end zone to extend the lead to 13-0.

Game images: Anderson Silva Fotografia

Brito marched his team early in the third quarter deep into Espectros territory and Lee finished the jog, taking the ball in to reduce the lead to 13-7.

The Galo got a golden opportunity when the secondary picked off Niznak at the Espectros 27 yard line. But linebacker Igor Nery returned the favor, forcing a fumble, ending the threat. Cox then rambled 60 yards to give João Pessoa a 20-7 lead they would not relinquish.

With the win, the Espectros are making their sixth trip to the title game since 2012 but will be looking for only their second win. They reached the Brazilian final in 2013, 2014,2015,2017 and 2018 but won only once, in 2015. They will face Timbo Rex who downed the Brasilia Tubaroes 31-6 in the other semifinal.

Carlos Cox sealed the win with a 62 yard touchdown run

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