Br(u)no: A Lot of Bang for Your Buck
The Brno Sígrs host the Brno Alligators this Sunday in Brněnské Ivanovice at 5 p.m. The Alligators running game versus the Sígrs may be the key to the game. Photo Credit: Brno Alligators / Martin Tajč.
HC Kometa is the king of sports in Brno. The hockey team, which just started its 2020-21 season on Friday, has the most titles in this country and it rightfully attracts the lion’s share of the attention, whether they are winning or not. FC Zbrojovka, the men’s football team, is also a huge draw.
Unfortunately, the level of interest drops off from there.
That is too bad, because there are many great sports teams and a lot of dedicated athletes who provide a lot of well-worth-it amount of entertainment for a negligible price.
This weekend is a great example of the bounty of options that are available:
• Draci Brno are playing for, and possibly have already won (depending on last night’s result), their 22nd Czech baseball title.
• Brno Cricket Club has teams that will play this weekend in the semifinals of both Division 1 and Division 2 of the national cricket league.
• Women’s volleyball, including KP Brno and defending champion Selmy Brno, and Volejbal Brno, the men’s team, all start their seasons today.
• Basket Brno attracted new international owners and just won the first game of its season last week (then, unfortunately, went into voluntary and precautionary quarantine because of the coronavirus).
• Two top women’s basketball teams — KP Brno and Zabiny Brno — start the women’s basketball season next week.
• Lokomotiva Brno Horni Herspice plays in the top women’s football league in the country.
• The Brno Amazons are the top women’s American football team in the country.
And there are many others, including rugby, tennis, swimming, diving, water polo, floorball, handball, and on and on. All of them are interesting. All of them offer a window on life in Brno.
But, really, when it comes down to it, the sport that is really building steam is American Football.
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On what should be a beautiful end-of-summer day, the two American football teams of Brno — the host Sígrs and the visiting Alligators — will face off against each other for the second time this year.
The first meeting this season between the longtime rivals, which was won by the Sígrs, was last month (Click here to watch the professionally produced recap video). This second meeting starts the second half of the season and the drive to the postseason.
And every intracity rivalry game is special.
“We know how good the Sígrs should be,” said John Stevenson, the head coach of the Alligators. “They lost their last game, but they lost against a very good (Vysočina) Gladiators team. They will be at home and very big favorites for the game. We hope that they underestimate us.”
The Sígrs have an exciting offense that is getting better with every game. Douglas Webster, a 31-year-old from San Jose, Calif., is the leader, both as the quarterback and the play-caller. Through four games, he has completed nearly half of his passes (68 of 142), with 12 passing touchdowns and only one interception.
“I am more of a traditional pocket passer,” said Webster, who has rushed for two touchdowns. “I can scramble. If I need to run, I can do it. But that is not my first priority. I prefer to distribute the football.”
Jan Hampl, who has four touchdowns and 185 yards, has been a top target through the first half of the season. However, in the most recent game, Kris Wedderburn, an import from the United Kingdom, made a spectacular Czech debut with seven catches for 161 yards and three touchdowns in a losing effort against the undefeated Vysočina Gladiators, who happen to have the stingiest overall defense in the league.
“The more time (Webster) has, the more that he will be able to settle in,” Stevenson said. “He is a very, very good quarterback.”
The Alligators offense has two quarterbacks who push each other: Czech veteran Tomáš Fortelný, who has three touchdowns this season, and Alejandro Arce, a native of Mexico who is playing in his first Czech season.
Fortelný led the Alligators offensive to victory on Sept. 6, beating the Prague Mustangs, 15-41, and snapping a 13-game losing streak. He threw touchdown passes of 34 and 14 yards to Jaroslav Doležal.
“Football is a game where all parts of the team have to contribute to be successful,” Stevenson said about the victory. “The offense sparked first and that inspired the defense. It was a much better performance, team-wide, than the three previous performances. Obviously we are delighted that we were able to stop that (losing) record and record our first victory of the season. We are grounded enough to understand that one win does not change our entire season.”
David Kilian, who had scoring runs of 7 yards, 32 yards and 1 yard, was part of a solid, multi-pronged running attack in the Alligators win. Jan Nestr added scoring runs of 33 and 22 yards. They will need to bring their A game on Sunday, because the Sigrs defense has allowed a league-low 49 points.
The Alligators (1-3) are in third place in the Eastern Division, 32 points ahead of the Přerov Mammoths (1-3).
The Sígrs (3-1) appear to have an excellent chance to make it to the postseason, although, after the loss to the Vysočina Gladiators (4-0) on Sept. 6, they dropped below were below Ostrava (3-1) in the Eastern Division standings, given that Ostrava has scored 155 points this season and Brno has scored a third-best-in-the-league 101.
Brno sports are everywhere and almost every day. The entertainment value is high: there will be a lot of bang for your buck.
Plus, there is always beer for the fans.