France: Catalans Grizzlys secure playoff berth, Ours stay in hunt, Blue Stars pull away

In the second last weekend of football in the French D1 Elite Championship, the Catalans Grizzlys secured a playoff berth on the South, while the Toulouse Ours remain in contention and the Marseille Blue Stars continue to assert their dominance.

Marseille Blue Stars (9-0) 34 – Grenoble Centaures (2-7) 6

Photo: Sabine Melioli

Conference B’s opener this past weekend was stacked heavily in the Blue Stars favor. Despite these overwhelming odds, the Centaures were able to put together a respectable performance.

Centaures quarterback Loic Caruso was able to string a number of passes together and show the best defense in the league that they weren’t going down without a fight. Caruso ended the game with 132 yards passing and one touchdown.

The Blue Stars were unable to get rolling until the second half but once they did, Blue Stars signal caller Kaleb Scott took over. The league’s MVP candidate threw for 233 yards and four touchdowns on just 12 completions.

Catalans Grizzlys (6-3) 48 – Aix en Provence Argonautes (4-4) 30

The second game of the weekend held the most weight with both the Grizzlys and Argonautes still in playoff contention.

The Argonautes appeared underprepared and overwhelmed from the start however. The Grizzlys outscored the Argonautes 41-6 in the first three quarters, leaving very little for Aix en Provence to hope for in the fourth.

But Michael Pina was not to go down without a fight and managed to lead the Argonautes on a scoring rampage in the final quarter, throwing for three touchdowns and getting his team in position for a field goal.

Although this game was over shortly after halftime, the Argonautes continue to show what an unpredictably explosive offense they have.

Toulouse Ours (5-3) 41 – Montpellier Hurricanes (0-9) 6

Photo: Julien Fitte Photographe

The final game of Conference B was a dream come true for the Toulouse Ours. After a few gutsy performances in the regular season, the Ours are very much in playoff contention and got the winless Hurricanes in the penultimate weekend of French football.

In a game where the Ours’ defense outscored their offense, there was very little for the Hurricanes to play for. Two scoreless quarters gave Montpellier some hope for their first victory of the season, but in the end, there were too many mismatches for the Hurricanes to deal with.

With this win, the Ours are now in the third and final playoff spot. As long as the Argonautes don’t get a win against the Blue Stars next week, Toulouse will get that long-awaited playoff appearance.

Daniel Mackenzie is a Press Association graduate who works in journalism and communications in the third sector. Daniel began playing football for the London Warriors and Team Great Britain and has since played across Europe.