France: Grenoble Centaures claim clutch Week 7 victory over Aix Argonautes amid weekend of blowouts

Of the three Conference B (South) matchups in week 7 in France’s D1 Championship Elite, two were blowouts but the third was far from it.

While the Marseille Blue Stars and Catalans Grizzlys enjoyed easy wins as the playoffs loom, the Grenoble Centaures fashioned an unexpected victory in the dying moments of their game and put the Aix en Provence Argonautes playoff hopes in jeopardy.

Grenoble Centuares (2-5) 24 – Aix en Provence Argonautes (3-3) 22

Photo: Frederic Llopis Photographie

For fans of the French top division, the first contest of week 7 in Conference B was an exciting one. A tale of two halves produced a climactic finish that saw match favorite Argonautes head home with their tails between their legs.

The Centuares came out firing with both quarterback Loic Caruso and running back Handy Maldera getting on the board to take the team up 21-0 in the second quarter. 

With a playoff spot on the line, the Argonautes stiffened up on defense in the second half and the offense went on a roll, scoring 22 unanswered points. Quarterback Michael Pina made some crucial throws in the third and fourth periods which resulted in scores, but it was the running game that proved most effective.

Both Pina and French running back Corentin Ducatillon were able to combine for 220 yards on the ground, eating up chunks of yardage at a time. This monumental effort on offense, and a two-point conversion on one of the scores, led to a 22-21 lead in the fourth quarter.

Determined not to let their second win of the season slip away, the Centaures managed to kick a field goal in the dying moments of the game and successfully position themselves for a buzzer-beating victory in Aix en Provence.

Catalans Grizzlys (5-2) 48 – Montpellier Hurricanes (0-7) 0

Grizzlys Catalans QB Jake Purichia #3 finding running room Photo: Zebulon

Marseille Blue Stars (7-0) 44 – Toulouse Ours (3-3-1) 2

Blue Stars WR Robert Fargeon makes a spectacular catch Photo: @mouhanad_alhaj_ali_ & Rohi Bougamon

The Sunday games were anything but evenly matched contests. Both the Grizzlys and Blue Stars blew their opponents out of the water in what seemed to be just another day at the office for the pair.

Grizzlys quarterback Jacob Purichia continued to make a case for league MVP, throwing for 348 yards and four touchdowns. And over in Marseille, signal caller Kaleb Scott was doing the very same thing, racking up 210 yards and two touchdowns. 

This disappointing defeat for the Ours marks the end of a series of successful outings in Conference B for the team. They are however still ranked third, and if the season ended ttoday,they would be in the playoffs thanks to the Argonautes loss. However, their stomping at the hands of the Blue Stars will not leave the squad from Toulouse full of confidence heading into a potential playoff game.

Daniel Mackenzie is a Press Association graduate who has worked in B2B journalism and comms in the third sector; with experience in both education and human rights. He played for the London Warriors for 15 years as well as Team Great Britain .