France: Marseilles Blue Stars cement themselves as Conference B favorites

As the French season hits its midpoint, the Marseilles Blue Stars have now firmly established themselves as one of the league favorites to win the French D1 Elite Championship title by knocking off Conference B rivals, the Catalan Grizzlys to stay unbeaten.

In other action, the Toulouse Ours improved to 3-2 by knocking off the Aix Argonautes while the Grenoble Centaures dominated the Montpellier Hurricanes, blanking them 37-0.

Marseilles Blue Stars (5-0) 35 – Catalan Grizzlys(3-2) 28

Photo: Rohi Bouganim

This was the matchup of the week in Conference B, with the Grizzlys having the best shot at the undefeated Blue Stars. 

The Grizzlys and quarterback Jacob Purichia took their best shot at Kaleb Scott and the Blue Stars and came painfully close to clinching a victory. But in the end, a score separated the two thanks to some clutch play by the Blue Stars defense.

Purichia put on a show, totaling 318 yards and four touchdowns, going toe to toe with the Blue Stars until the final quarter where the offense stalled.

Kaleb Scott has now shown that he can produce week-in and week-out, even against the best of them. His aggressive style of play is only complemented by defensive star Fayade Said who has harassed all quarterbacks who oppose him.

Despite this monumental mid-point win for the Blue Stars, a weakness has been shown. Only a single score separated the two sides, keeping Marseille firmly in the sights of the Grizzlys and Argonauts in the backend of the season.

Toulouse Ours (3-2) 20 – Aix en Provence Argonauts (3-2) 7

Photo: Frederic Llopis Photographie

Before the Argonauts thrashing at the hands of the Blue Stars the future looked bright. Young quarterback Michael Pina led the league in passing with an offense that seemed borderline unstoppable. But in the past two weeks the team has been able to amass only 14 points.

The Ours on the other hand have beaten all the teams in the lower half of the conference and remained resolute through the losses to both Grizzlys and Blue Stars.

This week, they were able to sack Pina seven times and force an interception, again leaving the Argonaut offense scoring only seven points. On offense, a heavy dose of running back Gerald Childs and a few shots from quarterback Cameron Valardo kept the score ticking over.

This was a solid victory for the Ours which now puts them in playoff contention, but if they hope to beat the likes of Grizzlys or Blue Stars they will either need to dramatically up the ante offensively or stiffen up on defense to bring the score differentials closer.

Other games:

Grenoble Centaurs (1-4) 37 – Montpellier Hurricanes (0-5) 0

Photo: Matthieu Volat

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.