France: Opening weekend offered up a major upset and plenty of action

By Chris Tebbutt

Even though three games were postponed in the opening week of the Division 1 French American Football League, the three games that took place provided excellent storylines going into the rest of the season as we saw an upset victory from the La Courneuve Flash, an away win for the Argonauts and an early season victory from the newly promoted Iron Mask Cannes.

Cannes Iron Mask (1-0) 19 – Dauphins de Nice (0-1) 6

Iron Mask RB Photo: Jean Marc Rouaud-Clergues

In their promotion to division one, the Cannes squad caught the Dolphins in an iron grip as they started their season off with a victory.

Cannes’ first touchdown came on their first possession of the game as running back Yanis Bakhanti hit paydirt on a run and put Iron Mask up one score and doubled the points to twelve as Cannes shut the Dolphins out in the first half.

A scoreless third quarter for both teams showed that both Cannes and Nice are solid defensively and when the 4th quarter came around Sullivan Silverio connected with Joachin Torrelli to give the Dolphins their first and only points of the game, not one to be outdone Bakhanti for Cannes responded immediately with another touchdown to put the Iron Mask up by 19 and close out their return fixture in Division One with a win.

Aix-en-Provence Argonauts 21 (1-0) – Toulouse Ours 13 (0-1)

Despite a less-than-stellar season last year, the Aix-en-Provence Argonauts stayed up in Division One and started their season positively as they defeated the Toulouse Ours who want to continue their success as a playoff-contending team and stake the claim to the top of Conference B.

After a scoreless first quarter, the hometown Ours found the endzone after Nicolas Diaz found Pierre Hilderald but the Argos retaliated with a run from Antoni Giglio evening the score up at 7-7 at the half.

The Argonauts came off the half-time break with new energy as they scored two touchdowns in Q3. Toulouse managed to get one back with a score in Q4 but were not able to overcome the two-score lead the Argonauts put on them in the third quarter.

La Courneuve Flash 21 (1-0) – Molosses d’ Asnières 14 (0-1)

Photo: Anna Shnaider

A derby game for the Ile-de-France region which saw two teams that came away with a high table finish last year take the field in a week 1 classic that saw the Flash speed their way to a first-week win.

A QB run from Brody Hahn put Asnières up by a TD in their first possession of the game. Then Hahn proved he is a threat with his arm as well as his legs as he found Slyvain Segla in the end zone to increase their lead to 14-0.

Hope never faded for the Flash as even after a difficult first quarter the Flash put their first points on the board for the 2024 season as Flash’s running back Francois-Guilhem Pion reduced the score to 14-7 and as the first half came to a close, the Flash struck again as another one of their running backs Judson Saint-Louis tied the once two score game up going into the break.

The second half showcased the defense of both the Flash and the Molosses and after a fumble from La Cournevue in the 4th quarter went nowhere for Asnières, the Flash had one more shot at winning the game and trusted their signal caller Leo Cremades with the unenviable task of a “Hail Mary”.

And he only went and did it, finding Yannis Soummar in the end zone and giving the Flash their first win of the season.

Chris has been a part of American Football for almost a decade playing for Lincoln and Gloucestershire University teams, he also has history covering British University American Football for the past 3 years and also acts as commentator for some of