France: Wild opening weekend in D1 Elite

After a two-year hiatus, the DI Elite Championship is back in France. All 12 teams from both Conference A and B played over the weekend.

Of the six games played, three were separated by only a couple of points while the other three proved to be blowouts – one of which came in the game of the week with the Thonon Black Panthers being hammered by the La Courneuve Flash.

La Courneuve Flash 35 – Thonon Black Panthers 0

The Flash’s fresh faced QB Conor Miller has just come off a league leading performance in 2021 with the Graz Giants in Austria and did not disappoint in Paris. Miller and newly added TE Ryan Smith got off to a great start connecting for the first touchdown of the game. Miller finished the game with over 200 yards and two touchdowns, but it was the defense of the Flash that stole the show.

The Black Panthers’ new QB, after the departure of Clark Evans, Brett Hunchak, struggled with both timing and pressure. La Courneuve DE, Anthony Abandzounou, sacked the Canadian QB three times. Hunchak finished the game 8/22, 81 yards and with an injury.

Flash smothering defense Photo: Anna Shnaider

Marseille Blue Stars 58 – Montpellier Hurricanes 7

One of the most impressive performances of the day was without a doubt that of the Marseille Blue Stars. They dominated the Montpellier Hurricanes from start to finish with QB Kaleb Scott throwing for 269 yards and six touchdowns.
But it was not only the offense who came to play with the Blue Star defense all but shutting out the Hurricanes. LB Eddy Abdullah was able to record six tackles, two sacks and a fumble recovery.

Other game scores

Les Spartiates d’Amiens 19 – Molosses d’Asnières sur Seine 14

Argonauts d’Aix en Provence 49 – Catalan Grizzlys 35 

Cougars de Saint Ouen l’Aumône 42 – Vikings de Villeneuve d’Ascq 0 

Ours de Toulouse 10 – Grenoble Centaurs 6

Ours de Toulouse RB finding running room Photo: Corentin L’Huillier

Top stats from Week 1

Quarterbacks

  1. Kaleb Scott (Blue Stars): 16/27, 269 yards, 6 TD / 5 races, 37 yards
  2. Brody Hahn (Cougars): 16/22, 189 yards, 5 TD – 1 INT / 7 races, 72 yards, 1 TD
  3. Michael Pina (Argonauts): 24/38, 258 yards, 4 TD / 14 races, 53 yards

Running backs

  1. Corentin Ducatillon (Argonauts): 28 races, 137 yards (4.9 YPA), 2 TD
  2. Ozni Adramann (Grizzlys): 12 races, 83 yards (6.9 YPA), 3 TD
  3. Gerald Childs (Bear): 30 races, 139 yards (4.6 YPA)

Receivers

  1. Idriss Ramky (Grizzlys): 9 receptions, 179 yards, 2 TDs
  2. Pedro Rosa (Argonauts): 8 receptions, 63 yards, 3 TD
  3. Valentin Prioul (Spartan): 9 receptions, 94 yards, 1 TD

Defenders

  1. By Angelo Chaisson (Spartians): 2 tackles, 2 interceptions, 1 TD
  2. Anthony Abandzounou (Flash): 3 sacks
  3. Eddy Abdullah (Blue Stars): 6 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 fumble recovered

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 .