France: D1 Elite Conference A heats up heading into Week 4

Conference A of France’s D1 Elite league enters Week 4 with a clear front runner but intriguing battles behind.

The undefeated La Courneuve Flash have already taken a stranglehold on first with dominating wins in all three contests while the defending champion Thonon Black Panthers have gradually redeemed themselves after an embarrassing opening day loss to the Flash. The Saint-Ouen Cougars and Amiens Spartiates are battling to keep pace while the two winless teams, Molosses d’Asnières and Villeneuve-d’Ascq Vikings face each other this week in a clash of the basement dwellers.

Saint-Ouen Cougars 2-1 @ La Courneuve Flash 3-0

The La Courneuve Flash are off to an extremely hot start this season. They sit at a perfect 3-0, and they have outscored their opponents by a combined 138-6. The Flash’s most recent outing came against the Amiens Spartans, a 63-0 victory.

Quarterback Conor Miller is the fifth leading passer in the league and has thrown for 534 yards so far. In that whitewashing of Amiens, he completed eight passes for 255 yards (over 31 yards per completion) and recorded three touchdowns. Stephane Fortes was Miller’s favorite target in that game catching six passes for 153 yards and three touchdowns. So far, the Flash are looking flat-out unstoppable.

The Saint-Ouen-l’Aumone Cougars, league champions in 2015 and 2016, have looked solid and their only loss was to Thonon and that was a mere point. They have defeated the Vikings and Molosses fairly easily. In their last game, against Molosses, the Cougars went up 27-0 at halftime before their opponents scored 16 unanswered in the second half to make the game closer. QB Brody Hahn went 18/24 for 278 yards passing and two touchdowns while not throwing an interception. Jeff Alexandre is the third leading receiver in the league with 276 yards and five touchdowns.

This will be an interesting matchup but the Flash may be too much for a Saint-Ouen squad still looking to find their identity.

Thonon Black Panthers 2-1 @ Amiens Spartiates 2-1

The Thonon Black Panthers are the defending French champions and after falling 35-0 to the Flash in the opening week, they have bounced back with two wins, beating the Cougars 28-27 in an intense battle in week 2, and rolling over the Vikings in week 3 by a score of 53-0. The Black Panthers will now face a Amiens Spartiates team that is still an unknown quantity despite two wins.

The last 2-1 team are the Spartiates. They have had an interesting start to the season, as they started off 2-0 before losing to the Flash by 63. Their two wins came in close fashion against the Molosses and the Vikings, the two worst teams in the division, by scores of 19-14 and 20-13, respectively. While their winning record might be deceiving, as they might not be on the same level as the Black Panthers or Cougars, the Spartans must be commended for finding ways to win their first two games.

This game will reveal where Amiens actually stand.

Villeneuve d’Ascq Vikings 0-3 @ Molosses d’Asnières 0-3

The winless Molosses d’Asnières have had a tough start to the season but they have kept the scores relatively close in all their losses. They lost by 11 to the Cougars and by five to the Spartiates. Although they lost by y b34 to the Flash, it should be noted that that was the closest game the Flash have played all year. Furthermore, they are the only team to score against the Flash this year, as their touchdown came on special teams when Stanley Rouaud returned a kick for a score. Molosses might be due for a victory soon and it could well come against the Vikings.

The Villeneuve-d’Ascq Vikings have been the worst team in the league this season. Outscored 115-13 through three games, they can only go up from here. They did have a close contest in week 2 against the Spartiates, losing 20-13. This game against Molosses, the only other winless team, will be the Vikings best chance.

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.