This year, 10 teams are competing for the Portuguese League of American Football title.
From last year we have the Algarve Sharks, Cascais Crusaders, Lisboa Navigators, Lisboa Devils, Braga Warriors, Braga Black Knights, Porto Mutts and Paredes Lumberjacks. The new teams are the Évora Eagles and the Portuscale Dragons. The Eagles are a team formed in the same city were last year the championship game was played. The Dragons are a team that was born from the demise of the Maia Renegades, last year’s runner ups.
This year the teams were divided in two groups (South and North) and the top three teams from each group will move into the playoffs. The playoffs will be played between groups, with both first seeds getting a bye week and with second place in the south playing with third in the north and second place in the north playing the third in the south. The championship game is scheduled for April 28, 2018.
Algarve Sharks – Lance Heron (new HC)
Cascais Crusaders – Paulo Terrinca (3rd year HC)
Lisboa Navigators – Filipe Campos (new HC)
Lisboa Devils – André Amorim (5th year HC)
Évora Eagles – Yoann Crochet (new HC)
Porto Mutts – Brett Smith (new HC)
Paredes Lumberjacks – Michael Davis (4th year HC)
Braga Warriors – Bruno Panta Ferreira (3rd year HC)
Braga Black Knights – Michael Andrzejewski (3rd year HC)
Portuscale Dragons – Awal Umaru (new HC)
Portuguese League of American Football South Group
Lisboa Devils (5-0-0)
The Devils have played five games and they have won all of them which gives them a 25 game winning streak in the Portuguese league. With a new leader on offense, quarterback Kyle Nolan, the Devils have been on a mission. Averaging 60 points per game they look like the team to beat in the current edition. With a running game very versatile with the offseason addition of Juzz Tiny and the power back Willian La’Prado, the Devils have great weapons on the ground with both of this players compiling 17 touchdowns. In the air, Bernardo Solipa, Bruno Cardoso and Pedro Flores have been the “go to go guys” for Nolan who has thrown 17 passing touchdowns for six different receivers.
The defense has only allowed 10.4 points per game and has also put some points on the board.
With five games to go the Devils look to be in great position to make an appearance in the playoffs and be one of the teams to play for a spot in the championship game.
Algarve Sharks (3-0-0)
The Sharks team have some new faces in their roster but also some “old faces” coming back. Last year quarterback John Holloway joined the Sharks for a second season. With him you also have Cochise Jones, Traveis Gravey and Ashley Bailey playing as imports. The Sharks team has been playing great for their first three games of the season. Right now they have the best defense in the league, led by Portuguese talents Filipe Correia and Davi Martins only allowing 4 points per game. The running game has been outstanding with Cochise Jones showing work and the offensive Line taking care of the road to the end zone. With the longest streak of games yet to play (seven) the Sharks are undefeated and they look like a team that you can count to see competing in the playoffs and also for a spot in the championship.
Lisboa Navigators (1-3-0)
After a 2-8 record last season the Navigators look like a new team this season. When you look to their current record of 1-3-0 it’s easy to miss that all their defeats came with less then 9 points margin. They are a team that are a couple plays away from being a potential 4-0-0. Up until now they were the team to challenge the current champions (Devils) in a very hard fought game in the opponents home.
On offense they have been using their two biggest weapons in WR Bruce Furtado and TE Nélson Fidalgo. Last year’s head coach André Monteiro is this year’s quarterback and has 10 touchdowns in 4 games. On the defensive side their defensive line (Edinaldo “Naca” Estrela, Daniel Lourenço, Francisco Malheiro and Frederico Chaveca) have been a very challenging group for opposing offenses. Look for the Navigators to fight for a spot in the playoffs in the upcoming weeks.
Cascais Crusaders (1-3-0)
The Crusaders team has a lot of new players and a lot of young talent. They currently have a record of 1-3-0 and their only win came against their “biggest rivals” the Navigators. The Crusaders offense has been led by young quarterback Manuel Farano that has been connecting with Duarte Cruz, Alexandre Alvaro and Vinicius Moreira. On the defensive side, José Sarsfield and João Branco have been the team anchors. With a very small defensive line, the Crusaders have been struggling to stop the running game and have shown some difficulty to stop opposing teams. With still six games to play the Crusaders will be fighting for a playoff spot in the powerful south group”.
Évora Eagles (0-4-0)
In their first year competing in the league the Eagles are the weakest team in the bunch right now. With four games and four losses, the Eagles have yet to score a touchdown against an opposing team. They are competing in the “South Group” and they have very tough matches against the Navigators, Crusaders, Sharks and Devils so the Eagles task for this year is very complicated. Right now they look like the team out of playoffs hope and we just hope to see the Eagles fighting and improving more while the season goes on.
Portuguese League of American Football North Group
Portuscale Dragons (5-0-0)
The Portuscale Dragons are a new team in the league but their roster has a lot of experienced players with great athletic ability. The Dragons have won five out of five games and they look like the top contenders in the “North Group”. The Dragons offense led by head coach and quarterback Awal Umaru has been playing great. With his running ability he has compiled 17 rushing touchdowns and also passed for the same amount. His favorite target has been Miguel Sousa who is leading the league with eight receiving touchdowns. On the defensive side, the Brazilian cornerback Arthur Brandalise has been on a roll,shutting down receivers and safety Sandro Lopes has been delivering some big hits and making his presence felt. The Dragons still have some tough games ahead but they look like a “sure thing” in the playoffs and one of the contenders for a spot in the championship.
Porto Mutts (4-0-0)
The Mutts are one of the most historical and with highest winning percentage in the league. This year they have won four out of four games and they stand undefeated in the “North Group”. The Mutts offense has been performing well under quarterback Brian Lopes, and he has been able to connect often with receivers Christopher Miranda, Francisco Ferreira and Ricardo Alves. On the defensive side, Nelson Fernandes has been scoring touchdowns and making his presence felt. It’s hard not to mention João “Train” Marques, one of the best talents in Portugal and a very versatile player who can play offense, defense and special teams. The Mutts are looking to mark their presence in the playoffs and get back into a championship game in 2018.
Braga Warriors (1-3-0)
The Warriors are a team that every year finds a way to compete and show toughness. Led by quarterback Tiago Ranhada, the Warriors use their big offensive line (probably one of the biggest in the league) to open lanes for their quarterback and also their star running back, Rafael Vilaça. On the defensive side, they have head coach Bruno Panta Ferreira anchoring a big defensive line. The Warriors have a 1-3-0 record but they look like a team that will be fighting for a spot in the playoffs, with some of their most difficult games already behind them.
Paredes Lumberjacks (0-3-0)
The Paredes Lumberjacks have three games and three loses. Following a disappointing 2017 campaign the Lumberjacks are hoping to bounce back but they look like one of the weakest teams in the “North Group”. Right now their offense has difficulty to put points on the board even if their defense has been able to handle opponents to around 28 points per game. The Lumberjacks will have tough games in the second part of the season and right now they look like a team that will have trouble to find their way back into playoff contention. However, one of the most historical teams in Portugal, the Lumberjacks will fight for every game and they need to get a win right away if they want to turn their season around.
Black Knights (0-4-0)
The Black Knights have four games and four loses. After coming from no where last year and being able to succeed and get some great results, the Black Knights are playing under the expectations. However, if their is a team that is able to turn things around, is a team led by head coach Michael Andrzejewski (last years head coach of the year). Led by Brazilian quarterback Jalder Santos and with team’s top scorer Tiago Carreira, the Black Knights have been able to score points, however they haven’t been able to stop opposing offenses. With still some games to go, the Black Knights are a team capable of turning things around and still can have playoffs hope. However, they need to find a way to win their next game.
Paredes Lumberjacks @ Black Knights
Cascais Crusaders @ Algarve Sharks
Évora Eagles @ Lisboa Navigators