Top passer, receiver and rusher in France as league heads into home stretch

As the season in France enters the home stretch with only four games left, there are a couple of surprising statistical leaders and one more than surprising development. The La Courneuve Flash from Paris remain undefeated with a perfect 5-0 record and yet they do not have a single player in the top 5 of any offensive category.

The Thonon Black Panthers, although second, have racked up an impressive 259 points in six games behind a powerful ground game. The Aix-en-Provence Argonautes have been impossible to predict after opening the season by handing the Black Panthers their only loss so far. Quarterback Jimmie Russell is among the league leaders in rushing along with teammate Cody Acker though which makes them always dangerous. The defending champion St Ouen l’Aumône Cougars have clawed their way back into playoff contention after suffering through a dismal stretch in March losing back to back games. Their offensive firepower has been on display with quarterback De’Auntre Smiley at the helm.


St. Ouen Cougars quarterback De’Auntre Smiley has really picked up his game and helped engineer 62 points in the Cougars’ latest win over the Rouen Leopards overtaking them in the standings in the process. His 1,796 yards passing and 137.74 QB rating is by far the best in France. Rouen Leopards QB Connor Reilly is one of the reasons Rouen is challenging for a playoff berth in their first year in France’s top division. He has thrown for 1,720 yards and a league leading 18 touchdowns. Moses Skillon with his 1,105 yards for the seventh place Bron-Villeurbanne Falcons and Jeremy Duponchelle of the last place La Queue-en-Brie Gladiateurs are in third and fourth. Meanwhile, Thonon Black Panthers signal caller Sam Poulos is a distant fifth on the list with 591 yards passing, on a team with the league’s leading rusher.


St. Ouen Cougars wide receiver David Rosette leads the French league in receiving yardage with 455 which should come as no surprise given how well his quarterback De’Auntre Smiley has been throwing the ball. But what is surprising is that no other Cougars receiver is in the top 5. Smiley has in fact completed passes to 13 different receivers in 2017 which would be almost a record in any league. The other surprise is that Rouen Leopards receivers occupy the next three spots with Nicolas Cremer leading the way with 399 yards receiving and three touchdowns. He is followed by Oktay Tulan with 382 yards and Romain David who has 372 yards and eight touchdowns.


The Thonon Black Panthers are the runaway offensive leaders in France in 2017 and the offense, behind the running of the league’s top rusher Andreas Betza, has put up 259 points in six games. Betza has been a key rushing for 835 yards and 15 touchdowns, or 140 yards and 2.5 touchdowns per game. The 2016 rushing leader, Rondell White of the Nice Dauphins is a solid second place on the rushing list with his 533 yards. Another Black Panther, Stephen Yepmo who is a former rushing leader himself (2015) has rushed for 381 yards and six touchdowns. The third place Aix-en-Provence Argonautes boast two rushers in the top 5 in Cody Acker (365) and quarterback Jimmie Russell who has rushed for 355 yards and seven touchdowns.

Roger Kelly is an editor and a writer for AFI. A former PR Director the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League for 7 years, he now lives in Sweden writing about and scouting American Football throughout the world.