Brazil’s hottest new team, Sada Cruzeiro Futebol Americano–formerly known as the BH Eagles–opened their BFA (Brazil Futebol Americano) season with a bang last Sunday (July 16) with a dominant win over their crosstown rival the Minas Locomotiva in matchup that has become referred to as the Belo Horizonte “classico”–the Brazilian version of a derby.
After a high-profile offseason which began in March with the partnership between the BH Eagles and Cruzeiro Esporte Club–one of the most successful sports organizations in Brazil–Sada Cruzeiro has become one of the most talked about teams in the country. In what was expected to be a highly-anticipated game held in one of the great World Cup stadiums in Belo Horizonte, the Minas Locomotiva instead chose to host the game 150 kilometers away in the city of Nova Serrana.
This change of venue proved to be a non-factor for head coach Daniel Levy and the Sada Cruzeiro offense who began lighting up their scoreboard on their opening drive with a 44 yard strike from QB Alvaro Fadini to WR Joao Pedro Conrado. The Cruzeiro defense, not to be outdone, harassed Locomotiva QB Abraao Coelho relentlessly. An interception by national team cornerback Raphael da Cruz quickly handed the ball back over to Fadini and the Sada Cruzeiro offense.
Their second offensive possession showcased the versatility of the Cruzeiro attack. Starting at their own 15, Sada Cruzeiro marched the ball relentless toward the Locomotiva end zone behind a craftful mix of runs, passes, screens and RPOs. The drive even featured some trickeration with a lateral pass to 330lb. offensive lineman Dhiego Taylor before culminating with Fadini rushing the ball in from five yards out.
The final score of the first half would come courtesy of punt block, scoop, and score–all at the hands of Sada Cruzeiro DB Rodolfo Santos. The two teams left the field at halftime with Sada Cruzeiro leading 21-0.
With the game well in hand, Sada Cruzeiro decided to double down on their efforts, finishing the game by shutting out the Locomotiva by a score of 42-0. Game MVP, Alvaro Fadini, was once again efficient and dynamic, passing for 201 yards and 4 touchdowns while adding another 88 yards and 1 touchdown rushing. WR Pedro Medici led the Cruzeiro receiving corp with two touchdowns, while Joao Pedro Conrado and Clinton Greenaway cashed in one each.
The victory carried extra significance for Sada Cruzeiro as it marked their first victory ever in Brazil’s top division since winning the Minas Gerais State Championship in June and the Liga Nacional title in December, 2016–the team’s first year of national competition. It also marked the club’s first victory against the Minas Locomotiva, a team against whom they were previously 0-2.
Sada Cruzeiro will be off for the next two weekends before hosting the national vice-champions–the Flamengo Imperadores--at home on August 5. Riding a streak of 395 days and counting without a loss, rest assured that Coach Levy and his staff won’t be resting too much during the time off.