France: Flash, Black Panthers pulling away in the North

France’s D1 Elite Championship saw its eighth round of action this past weekend in the North, Conference A, with the two powerhouses pulling away.

The La Courneuve Flash continued their dominance and stayed undefeated with a sound win over the Saint-Ouen Cougars while the Thonon Black Panthers shut out the Amiens Spartiates. Finally, in a battle of the cellar dwellers, the Asnieres-sur-seine Molosses notched their second win of the year in beating the hapless Villeneuve d’ascq Vikings.

La Courneuve Flash (8-0) 41, Saint-ouen l’aumône Cougars (4-4) 21

Photo: Anna Shnaider

The Flash took care of business Saturday when they went on the road and defeated the Cougars 41-21 to keep their undefeated season alive.  The Cougars, who entered the matchup at 4-3, had hopes of pulling off the upset at home, but the Flash quickly squashed those hopes as they jumped out to a 14-0 first quarter lead and never looked back.

Conor Miller had an efficient day at quarterback for La Courneuve, completing 10 of 16 passes for 219 yards and 3 touchdowns and no interceptions.  Stephane Fortes had a monster day as Miller’s top target, catching 5 passes for 142 yards and 2 touchdowns, while running back Jason Bofunda chipped in on the ground with 8 carries for 102 yards and a score.  Cougars quarterback Brody Hahn struggled to find a rhythm, finishing 16/35 for 202 yards and a pair of touchdowns and losing a fumble that was recovered by the Flash.

Cougars RB #5 evading defenders Photo: Anna Shnaider

Thonon-les-bains Black Panthers (7-1) 42, Amiens Spartiates (3-5) 0

The Black Panthers moved to 7-1 with a dominating shutout victory of 42-0 over the Spartiates on Sunday.

The Thonon defense was the story in this one, as they limited Spartiates quarterback Cornelius Kinchen to 117 yards on 13/28 passing, while intercepting him twice, sacking him four times, and forcing a fumble.  This defensive effort made life very easy for quarterback Brett Hunchak and the rest of the Thonon offense, setting up short fields and letting them grind down the clock.  Hunchak was incredibly efficient for the Black Panthers, completing 12/14 passes for 184 yards and 5 touchdowns, each of which went to a different receiver.  Akiva Wedge and Nicolas Khandar were an effective duo in the ground game, combining on 23 carries for 121 yards and a touchdown.  Thonon will have one more tune-up contest against the last-place Vikings before a huge showdown against the Flash in the last week of the regular season.

Asnieres-sur-seine Molosses (2-6) 31, Villeneuve d’ascq Vikings (0-8) 6

In a battle of the two worst teams in the division standings, Asnieres-sur-seine denied the Vikings their first victory of the season, securing a 31-6 victory on the road this past Sunday.  The Vikings offense was disastrous in all facets on the day.  The Molosses defense held quarterback Hugo Vienne to just 6 completions on 23 passes for 83 yards and 2 interceptions, while also forcing and recovering 2 fumbles.  Marwin Kamangu had a team-leading 4 total tackles, and also returned an interception 53 yards for a touchdown in a standout performance.

Though the Molosses offense did not light up the stat sheet (which can be attributed by the performance of the defense and special teams), they did what they had to do to win, running down clock and recording zero turnovers.  Quarterback Adrien Roux finished 9/15 passing for 76 yards and a pair of touchdowns on the day.  Molosses will look to pick up another victory against the Cougars next week.

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.