France: Conference A features a couple of key matchups as season heads into second half

The French D1 Elite Championship heads into the final half of the season this weekend and all six teams in Conference A will be in action.

The runaway leaders, the undefeated La Courneuve Flash will take on crosstown Paris rivals,  Asnieres-sur-seine Molosses who sit fifth in the standings while the second place Thonon Black Panthers face Saint-ouen l’aumône Cougars who sit right behind them in third. Finally, the fourth place Amiens Spartiates will square off against the winless Villeneuve-d’ascq Vikings.

All three games are set for Saturday, April 9 at 7 pm.

Asnieres-sur-seine Molosses (1-4) @ La Courneuve Flash (5-0)

The undefeated Flash host Molosses just outside of Paris in what could be a rather lopsided affair. The Flash have been dominant all season, while Molosses sits in second-to-last place in the division. La Courneuve secured a 40-6 victory on the road the last time these teams played on February 19. They jumped out to a 28-0 lead at halftime and shut out Molosses until the fourth quarter. It was a well-balanced effort, as five different players reached the end zone. Molosses only gained 58 net yards in the entire game, so if they want any chance of keeping this one close, quarterback Camille Thourary and the rest of the offense will have to step up.

Saint-ouen l’aumône Cougars (3-2) @ Thonon-les-bains Black Panthers (4-1)

Thonon is set to host the Cougars in a matchup between the teams who sit at second and third place in the league. Thus, this is a critical game for both sides, and especially the Cougars, who can move into a tie with the Black Panthers with a victory. The last time these teams met, on February 20th, it was a tightly contested game, with Thonon coming out on top by a single point, 28-27. The turnover battle was key in that game, with Thonon forcing two Cougars turnovers while not turning the ball over themselves. If the Cougars want to win this matchup, quarterback Brody Hahn will have to take care of the football, and the defense needs to up the pressure on quarterback Brett Hunchak and the rest of the Black Panthers offense. The Cougar defense will also have to limit big plays, as Hunchak threw multiple touchdowns for more than 50 yards.

Villeneuve-d’ascq Vikings (0-5) @ Amiens Spartiates (2-3)

Finally, in Amiens, the Spartiates take on the Vikings, who are still in search of their first victory of the season. The Vikings kept their last game with the Flash surprisingly competitive for some time, and now they will have a chance to get a win against the team with the second-worst point differential in the league. The Spartiates suffered a 45-7 defeat against the Cougars last week. These two teams met on February 20th in a low scoring matchup, with Amiens coming away with a 20-13 victory. Spartiates quarterback Cornelius Kinchen had an eventful game that day throwing for 234 yards and three touchdowns, but also throwing two interceptions that kept his team from doing more damage. D’Angelo Chesson had a huge day receiving, totaling seven catches for 193 yards and three touchdowns, so the Vikings defense will need to find a way to slow him down.

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.