France’s Thonon Black Panthers win European Football League title beating Milano Rhinos from Italy

The Thonon Black Panthers handed Italy’s Milano Rhinos their first loss in two years beating them 29-20 to win EFL Bowl IV Saturday at Stade Joseph-Moynat in Thonon-les-Bains.

Running back Stephen Yepmo who was named game MVP, paced the Black Panthers with two touchdowns while France’s leading rusher, Andreas Betza added one and quarterback Sam Poulos threw a touchdown pass to wide receiver Jacky Morallet.

Rhinos quarterback TJ Pryor threw touchdown passes to Giacomo Bonanno and Tommasso Finadri while Antonio Catalani kicked two field goals.

Milano knew they were in for a battle when Yepmo scored on the very first drive for Thonon, finding a seam and racing 62 yards for a 7-0 Black Panthers lead. Pryor managed to guide his team to the Black Panthers 18 yard line on the next series but the drive stalled and Catalani kicked his first field goal.

Thonon Black Panthers RB Stephen Yepmo scored 2 TDs and was named game MVP Photo: (c) GMouchet – La Ferme du Pecheur

On the very next possession, Thonon converted two fourth downs and Yepmo finally found the end zone again extending the lead to 14-3.

Then Pryor found Bonanno on a beautiful 49 yard touchdown pass and the Rhinos crept closer, 14-10 at the half.

Following a scoreless third quarter which saw neither team able to move the ball, Milano struck first in the fourth with Finadri scoring on a 35 yard touchdown pass from Pryor to take the lead 17-14.

On the very next series though, Yepmo makes his presence felt after a crucial pass interference on the Rhinos, carrying the ball to the 25. Then Poulos hit Morallet for the go ahead score, 21-17.

Pryor drove the Rhinos down to the Thonon six yard line but could only come away with a  field goal making it a one point game, 21-10.

However, despite getting another stop, Milano could not move the ball and the Black Panthers took the ball over with just over two minutes left. Betza scored the final touchown of the game  and added the two point conversion, giving Thonon their first EFL title.




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