Brno X Brno: Local Rivalry Starts American Football Season
The Brno Alligators face the Brno Sigrs on Sunday at 2 p.m. Photo credit: Brno Alligators
By Bruno Zalubil
Are you ready for some football?
The American football season will start with a rush on Sunday when the Brno Alligators meet the Brno Sigrs to resume a cross-town rivalry that picks up momentum with every game.
The game starts at 2 p.m. at Ragby Bystrc. Click here for a map.
“We are always excited at the start of the season and especially to start against the Sigrs,” said Alligators veteran quarterback Tomáš Fortelný. “Last year we met three times and every time it was super exciting.”
The teams finished the season in the second-league title game, Bitters Silver Bowl XII; the Alligators put together a fourth quarter rally to win, 38-31.
Both teams have moved up into the top league where they will play against traditional powerhouse teams from Prague and Ostrava. The Brno teams will play each other Sunday and also on June 17.
“You can expect a good game this weekend,” said Sigrs head coach Petr Švanda.
Fortelný has played football for 15 years. He is now 30 years old, but he is still out on the field leading the way.
“I prefer to throw the football to the guys,” Fortelný said. “I used to be like a moving quarterback. But I am getting older and slower so instead of running and I throw the ball more.”
His favorite targets are David Michálek and Jaroslav Doležal.
The Brno Alligators. Photo credit: SunDrive Exhibitions
Running back Ondřej Šimonek has played several years and youngster David Kilian is expected to see time in the offensive backfield.
The Alligators defense has mostly stayed intact. Jan Nestr the MVP of last year’s offense is expected to play linebacker.
“Me and a few other guys have experience from the first league,” Fortelný said. “That is our advantage.”
The Brno Sigrs
The Sigrs started as an organization six years ago and they have regularly moved up through the leagues. This will be their first season against top competition.
The Brno Sigrs. Photo credit: SunDrive Exhibitions
“We will try to have a multiple threat offense,” said Sigrs head coach Petr Švanda. “We have some very talented players and I believe that you can expect some great plays.”
The Sigrs have three imports from America: Linebacker Tyrone Clark; wide receiver/cornerback Michael Lindsey, who played for Pardubice last year; and cornerback Anthony Cesar.
“I think we can be a pretty good team from what I’ve seen on film,” said Clark, who hails from the center of the United States, a small town in Kansas named Cimarron. “I see a lot of players come to practice ready to compete. If they see someone make a mistake, they help each other. I think doing that helps build the team up.”
Quarterback Filip Ondrášek will lead the offense. Daniel Schmied is a 40-year-old veteran running back who will get a lot of playing time.
“Come Sunday when we play the Alligators, we’ll be ready to play,” Clark said.
The two Brno teams will play in the top league in the country: the Bitters League. The other teams are the Prague Black Panthers, the Prague Lions, the Pilsen Patriots, the Pardubice Stallions and the Aquaponik Ostrava Steelers.
The seven teams play a total of 10 games, twice (home and away) against four selected opponents and once (home or away) against two selected opponents. The top four teams at the end of the regular season in late June will advance to the postseason.
Last year, the Brno teams finished with identical 7-1-1 records. Their first meeting, on April 14, was a 21-21 tie. On June 10, the Sigrs won 40-21, to give the Alligators their only loss of the season. The Sigrs’ only loss was in the Bitters Silver Bowl.
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