Sada Cruzeiro make history, win Brasil Bowl VIII

The first year Belo Horizonte Sada Cruzeiro under head coach Dan Levy, scored 23 unanswered first half points and then cruised to a 30-13 victory over the previously unbeaten João Pessoa Espectros in Brasil Bowl VIII  Saturday at the Independência Arena in Belo Horizonte.

This was the first time a brand new team had won the Brazilian title. The Sada Cruzeiro was formed earlier in 2017 in a merger between the Belo Horizonte Get Eagles and Cruzeiro Esporte Clube.

Sada Cruzeiro quarterback Alvaro Fadini, who was named MVP of the game, threw three touchdown passes and ran one in himself. Victor “Mega” Hugo caught two touchdown passes and Sagat caught the third while Charlston Charles kicked a field goal and three extra points.

The Cruzeiro defense picked off Espectros quarterback Rodrigo Dantas, three in the first half.

Dantas threw one touchdown pass to Carlos Cox while Diego Aranha kicked two field goals and the extra point.

Both offenses looked tentative in the early going until Fadini executed a “flea flicker” to perfection finding Sagat for a 71 yard touchdown with Charles adding the extra point.

Then the Cruzeiro defense stepped up intercepting a Dantas pass and returning it to the Espectros 30 yard line. Fadini made them pay, hitting Hugo from 38 yards out extending the lead to 13-0.

On the  very next series, Dantas was again picked off, this time by Andrew Bernardini with Charles kicking a 34 yard field goal three plays later to increase the lead to 16-0.

Then Cruzeiro linebacker Igor Mota blocked a João Pessoa punt, recovering the ball on the four yard line. Fadini bulled his way in and Sada Crueiro took a 23-0 halftime lead.

The Espectros seemed to make some adjustments during the break and came out fired up, driving the ball deep into Cruzeiro territory. Aranha kicked a 34 yard field goal, reducing the gap to 23-3.  With the João Pessoa defense now keeping Fadini & co. in check, the offense maneuvered into position again and Aranha kicked his second field goal to make it 23-6 heading into the fourth quarter.

With thoughts of the New England Patriots fourth quarter Super Bowl comeback dancing in their heads, the Espectros got a boost when Dantas connected with Cox on an 18 yard touchdown and suddenly the gap was down to 10 points with time left on the clock, 23-13.

The flames of hope were fueled again as Cox fumbled just yards from the Espectros goal line. However, Dantas threw his fourth interception of the game and Fadini capitalized, throwing a long, game-clinching touchdown pass to Hugo with just over two minutes remaining.

The Expectros were unable to respond and Sada Cruzeiro began celebrating their first ever Brazilian championship.

Check out the highlights from Brasil Bowl VIII

Roger Kelly is an editor and a writer for AFI. A former PR Director the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League for 7 years, he now lives in Sweden writing about and scouting American Football throughout the world.