Lisboa Devils Capture 2nd straight crown in Portugal

Eight months of hard work for two out of the 10 teams that started their season back in September 2016 were put on the line in the Championship Game for the Portuguese League of American Football, last weekend in Évora. On one side we had the Maia Renegades, the surprise team from the competition and rookies in a championship game, and on the other side the Lisboa Devils, the undefeated champions coming in for their second straight championship game.

The Renegades won the toss and elected to receive the ball. With a good offensive possession, they were able to move into field goal range and they tried to add the first points on the board. However, linebacker Bruno Fonseca was able to block the field goal and the Devils defense gave a great field position – inside the 10 yard – to their offense that then capitalized and scored the first touchdown of the game on a pass from quarterback Joey Bradley to receiver Collin Franklin.

On the ensuing offensive possession the Renegades were able to move the ball but again fell short of visiting the end zone and adding points. The Devils offense had then their first real offensive drive and they ended up scoring on a jump ball for Franklin again on a pass by Bradley. It looked like the Devils were going to have an easy ride but the Renegades replied on the ensuing drive on a 3rd down around midfield, Brian Gessel threw a deep pass to Awal Umaru and the Renegades were on the board.

The Devils offense looked unstoppable and added a few more points with a deep pass from Bradley to wide receiver Bernardo Solipa. However, and before halftime, the Renegades offense scored again on a short hitch route to Umaru who then avoided a couple of tackles and took it to the house. The Renegades kicker, Miguel Simões, was 2/2. But the Devils ended the half strong and scored again on a rushing touchdown by Willian La’Prado. The Devils kicker, Sérgio Moreno, was 4/4 and at halftime the Devils had the lead by 28-14.

After halftime the Devils offense went into the field looking to keep their positive track. However, a pass from Bradley was intercepted by Umaru and the Renegades scored on a “pick 6”. The extra point was good and we had a one possession game with lots of time to go.

After their misfortune the Devils offense was set to bounce back and on the first play after the turnover, on a short screen to the right side, Franklin grabbed the ball and went 70 yards for a big touchdown that took the momentum out of the Renegades. Kicker Moreno would miss this extra point and also the following one. On the ensuing drive the Devils defense was able to stop the Renegades and it looked like the game was done when Bradley found Franklin for is 4th touchdown of the match and a 19-point lead was set.

However, near the end of the 3rd quarter, the Renegades offense was able to score again on a pass from Gessel to wide receiver Bruno Pintão. On the ensuing offensive possession the Devils drove the ball down the field with short yardage runs and short passes. They were looking like they were going to score again but Renegades player Carlos Matos stripped the ball and recovered it for a big momentum shifter for his team.

The Renegades then engaged on a very well executed drive and moved the ball over then 80 yards on the field to end up scoring on a pass to Michael Campbell. At this point, kicker Simões was 5/5. With less than 4 minutes to go and with only two timeouts the Renegades tried an onside kick that was recovered by linebacker Bruno Fonseca.

At this point the Devils just moved the ball, managed the clock and ended up the game in winning formation to secure their second championship and their 21 game winning streak. The final result was 40-35 for the Devils.

After the game the Portuguese Association delivered their yearly awards (voted by the 10 Head Coaches of the League):

Championship Game MVP

Collin Franklin, Lisboa Devils. Scored 4 TDs

Offensive Player of the Year

Joey Bradley, Lisboa Devils

Defensive Player of the Year

Awal Umaru, Maia Renegades

Coach of the Year

Black Knights HC Michael Andrzejewski who improved the team from 0-8-0 to 4-5-0 record and almost made the playoffs

André Amorim has been involved in American Football in Portugal for over 9 years, having played and coached in the only two teams that have won championships in that country. From 2007 to 2013 he played and coached with the Lisboa Navigators the