Aix-en-Provence Argonautes end scoring drought, Troy Rice scores first TD in France

After two disappointing losses, the Aix-en-Provence Argonautes rebounded with a 21-6 win over the Villeurbanne Falcons in the fourth round of action in the French Federation of American Football Elite league.

The Argonautes’ were off to a rough season start. Aix-en-Provence first suffered a 24-0 loss to the Marsellie Blue Stars and followed that up with a lopsided 51-0 loss to the Thonon Black Panthers. The Grenoble Centaures then beat them up 47-0. Nevertheless, the Argonautes did not quit. The fourth match-up ended the offense’s bad luck. The win against the Falcons may bring back the confidence of the players. For new signee,Troy Rice, it may also mean a huge boost, as his performance included a 60 yard touchdown reception, his first of the season. The receiver made a big leap this season to the top division in France after spending several seasons in Hungary. However, he is up to the challenge.


American Football International: The fourth game in France brought you the first touchdown in a new country. What was it like and how did it happen?

Troy Rice: Actually, even though my first touchdown was a 60 yard pass! It really did not go as planned! I ran a post route and the safety bit on my setup move and I was able to beat him inside! But as I was running to the end zone, I had looked back at the safety and I noticed that he had slowed down running because he knew he would not catch me. Therefore, I began to slow down too about the 10 yard line! And at the 1 yard line a player from the other team was running fast in my backside, so I did not see him, and he punched the bull out before I crossed the end zone! But luckily I was able to recover it in the end zone and score my first touchdown!

AFI: The drought of the offense finally ended. What did this breakthrough really mean?

T.R.: Well honestly, if someone were to watch the film in our first three games, he or she would see that we were moving the ball. Our offense would get in the red zone on numerous occasions but we could not capitalize! Turnovers in the red-zone hurt our offense and it puts pressure back onto our defense which is not good because we lose momentum that we had built up! And now that we have key players with injuries coming back finally, we are having more success. Therefore, we’re all looking forward to the next game and the rest of the season!

AFI: Can this victory mean that the Argonautes are coming back after a weaker start?

T.R.: We are definitely getting back on track! We know that 2 of the 3 games that we lost were away games! And we are looking forward to replaying both of those teams at home! But it started with getting this first win! Do now the ball is rolling and we can continue what we did right and not even on offense but also defense and special teams!

AFI: What is the French First League like compared to the Hungarian Football League?

T.R.: Every game is a challenge here in France! It makes me work hard both on offense and defense. There were times in Hungary where I knew we would win without much effort whether I was playing with the Steelers or Tigers. But playing here is tough! And I have only seen the southern league. I have no idea how the northern league is because we do not play any of those teams! But I do know that they have really good football teams there as well!

AFI: Why did you choose France?

T.R.: I chose France because one of my good friends in Jimmie Russell that I played with in another country rejoined the organization and reached out to me about joining Aix! We discussed about the history of the team and how it could possibly be this season! In addition, it is France elite league so there was not much to persuade me!

AFI: What is the atmosphere like?

T.R.: Well I can tell you about the atmosphere with the first few games! The atmosphere was beneficial for me! Despite losing the first few games, there were players on the field going both ways and never gave up or complained despite having a limited amount of players on the sidelines! And our opposing teams know it! Everyone gives 110 percent despite whatever injuries or position changes that has to occur during a game! I would not trade this group of hardcore players for anyone else! I made the right decision on which team to play for!


AFI: What are your goals after the season ends here?

T.R.: Right now there are not any goals after this season! My focus is on this season and the team that has signed me! Anything after this, I will deal with once the last game is finished! Maybe I will re-sign or play somewhere else! But that is not a top priority right now. My attention is on trying to turn the tables and make the playoffs right now!

László Makranczi is a radio reporter, announcer and American Football journalist in Hungary. He lives in Debrecen and works for the Hungarian American Football Federation. Studied at the University of Debrecen, got a master’s degree in American