The Grenoble Centaures relied on a pair of former teammates who were reunited this season, to down the Marseille Blue Stars 28-21 and earn the final berth in the French Federation of Amercian Football playoffs.
Quarterback Sonny Weishaupt and wide receiver Jannis Fiedler combined for the game-winning fourth quarter touchdown to carry the Centaures into post season play. The pair had played for the Wiesbaden Phontoms in Germany’s junior division and Fiedler made a point of signing with Grenoble after winning the German title with the Schwabisch Hall Unicorns last season.
Weishaupt completed 23 of 28 passes for 220 yards and three touchdowns with Fiedler catching one of them along with Jonah Williams and Max Zardo. Fiedler added a rushing touchdown.
For Marseille, Chase Burton, the leading passer in France, threw for 209 yards and a touchdown, while Rudy Numar caught one and also ran one in. Emmanuel Ntoutoume scored the third touchdown for the Centaures.
Grenoble took control early, jumping out to a 14-0 first quarter lead with Fiedler capping a drive with a one yard plunge. Canadian wide receiver Jonah Williams scored the second touchdown on a 10 yard pass from Weishaupt and Zardo converted the extra point and the Centaures led 14-0.
In the second quarter, the Blue Stars then showed why they are among the top two teams in France, with Dumar doing the damage. First he grabbed a 10 yard touchdown pass from Burton and then he scored on a two yard rumble tying the score 14-14 late in the first half.
Weishaupt kept finding his receivers and late in the second quarter he connected with Zardo to retake the lead, 21-14.
The third quarter saw the Blue Stars storm back as Burton handed off to Ntoutoume who rumbled 30 yards to tie the score at 21-21.
Which led to a dramatic fourth quarter. Weishaupt finally connected with Fiedler for his second touchdown of the game to give Grenoble a 28-21 lead they would not relinquish.
With the win, the Centaures, who had just returned to the top league in France after a six year absence, qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 2011. They will meet the Amiens Spartiates in the quarterfinals.