France: Top teams in the North pulling away as playoffs loom

With three rounds to go in the French Elite D1 Championship, the favorites in Conference A in the north are pulling further away and the battle for playoff berths is heating up.

The Flash continued to show their absolute dominance of the North division while the second place Thonon Black Panthers are trying to keep pace. Meanwhile, the Saint-ouen l’aumône Cougars have begun distancing themselves from the bottom half teams.

La Courneuve Flash (7-0) 86, Villeneuve d’ascq Vikings (0-7) 0

Flash RB Guillaume Buquet Photo: La Courneuve Flash

In easily the biggest blowout of the season so far, the first-place, undefeated Flash absolutely steamrolled the last-place, winless Vikings, 86-0. This one was all but over after the 1st quarter, as the Flash went up 30-0, and they really sealed the deal in the second quarter, outsourcing the Vikings 35-0 to lead 65-0 at halftime. The Flash received great performances from a variety of players, as they used three different quarterbacks, each of whom threw at least one touchdown, and eight different players found the end zone. Three La Courneuve defenders recorded an interception, including Jaures Goke, who returned his pick for a touchdown. The Flash will stay in the Paris metropolitan area next week for a date with the third-place Cougars, while the Vikings face a much easier opponent when they host Molosses.

Flash TE Ryan Smith fending off Vikings defenders Photo: La Courneuve Flash

Saint-ouen l’aumône Cougars (4-3) 42, Amiens Spartiates (3-4) 14

The Cougars de Saint-Ouen-L’Aumône scored an impressive road victory on Saturday as they took down the Spartiates in Amiens, 42-14. In our preview of this matchup, we said that the Spartiates defense would have to figure out a way to stop quarterback Brody Hahn and the Cougars offense (which they struggled with in their previous meeting), but they were unable to do so this time around. Hahn went 19/26 for 276 yards with four touchdowns and zero interceptions in an impressive showing. Four different Cougars receivers found the end zone, including Jeff Alexandre, who finished with nine catches for 118 yards. The defense did their part as well, shutting out the Spartiates offense in the first half, allowing the Cougars to jump out to a 21-0 lead at the break. Amiens quarterback Cornelius Kinchen had a productive yet rather inefficient day, finishing 23/44 for 297 yards and two touchdowns, but the Spartiates offense could not muster more than 14 points on the day.

Thonon-les-bains Black Panthers (6-1) 34, Asnieres-sur-seine Molosses (1-6) 15

The second-place Black Panthers went on the road to face second-to-last place Molosses and took care of business, walking away with a 34-15 victory. Quarterback Brett Hunchak had a very efficient day for Thonon, finishing 14/17 for 146 yards and three touchdowns while not turning the ball over. Pierre-Yves Dayres was his favorite target on the day, recording seven catches for 65 yards and two scores, while Akiva Wedge had a good performance on the ground with 9 carries for 74 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The Black Panthers defense stuffed Molosses on the ground, only allowing 22 rushing yards and forcing their opponents to be one-dimensional.

Molosses’ only offense came off a pair of explosive plays from quarterback Adrien Roux, a 38-yard touchdown pass to Hugo Meliz and a 36-yard touchdown pass to Rayan Sevin. Molosses will take on the Vikings next week while Thonon will face the Spartiates.

A current student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Carter played football in high school and has been a lifelong avid football fan.