Last-second PAT Decides French Championship; Thonon-les-bains Defends Title

Molosses impress, but fall short to Yepmo and Black Panthers

-Paris, France

The clubs in this year’s 2014 French FFFA Elite Championship, the ‘Casque de Diamant ‘, gave us a high-quality showing on Saturday night with one of the best finals of the past 10 years. American football fans who decided to brave the elements and forego the World Cup soccer action in Brazil have no reason to regret their decision. The Molosses D’Asnieres-sur-seine and the Black Panther de Thonon-les-bains met in Stade Charlety in Paris on Saturday, June 28th, and only one would emerge as the 2014 French Champions!

The Molosses D’Asieres-sur-seine began the game on offense in the pouring rain. Molosses QB Tommy Corwin found  his go-to WR #10 Marc Bony early and often, particularly with a long  reception on the opening drive and Bony was tackled at the Black Panthers 1-yard line. However, on the next play the Black Panthers SS #4 Frank Galvin intercepted Corwin in the end zone ending the Molosses threat.


The ensuing Black Panthers drive featured the talents of Stephen Yepmo, the Black Panther and French national team star  tailback. Yepmo outran the Molosses defenders after turning the corner and breaking numerous tackles to put the game’s first touchdown on the scoreboard.

The Molosses were forced to punt on their next possession, and Black Panthers QB Maxime Sprauel committed a fumble on a screen pass that was not caught by the running back. Recovering the failed screen pass, the Molosses found themselves in the Black Panthers red zone in a more than favorable position. QB Corwin then found  his tight end #8 with a 6-yard TD pass. The extra point failed. Black Panthers remained up 7-6.

Black Panthers head coach Larry Legault went right back to his renowned running game and it did not long before Stephen Yepmo was back in the end zone, capping a strong drive with a 1-yard TD run. Black Panthers 14-6.


At the start of the second quarter, it seems that  Molosses would have to pull out all the stops to stay with the Black Panthers. The Molosses put together an impressive drive and tied the game when QB Corwin snuck into the end-zone. Then they opted for a spectacular two-point conversion with wide receiver Marc Bony making an amazing twirling catch.

The Molosses defense forced the Black Panthers to punt and then the game’s momentum shifted.  From his own 20-yard line QB Tommy Corwin called an audible, throwing a long touchdown pass to reliable target Bony. Molosses took the lead 21-14. The Black Panthers rose to the challenge and number two import RB #27 Thomas Addison, broke free for a 40 yard TD, evening the game at 21-21 as the half ended.

The rain seems to double in intensity as the second half began in Stade Charlety. The match restarted with the Black Panthers going on another run-heavy long drive that ended with a 4-yard TD run from Yepmo, his third TD of the game. In an attempt to draw even once again, the Molosses try a 4th and 2 on their 30 yard line but a difficult pass escapes WR #81. This turnover sets up the Black Panthers, and the score is soon 35-21, thanks to a 4th TD run by French MVP Yepmo.

The Molosses kept their title hopes alive, scoring early in the fourth quarter with RB #25 Théophilse Sasa Essele. Black Panthers 35 – Molosses 28. They then force the Black Panthers to punt and regain possession with just over three minutes to play. The game seems as though it will be decided in the final moments. Again, Molosses QB Corwin finds WR Marc Bony multiples times in the a drive that is capped by RB Sasa Essele, who scores with 30 seconds left. The score is 35-34 with the point after to come.

In a moment of panache or perhaps madness, the Molosses decide to attempt a two-point conversion instead the equalizer. The Black Panthers defense rises to the challenge and QB Corwin’s pass to the corner of the end-zone falls incomplete.

The Black Panthers defend their title as France’s top American football club,  crowning a great season. Even with the loss, the Molosses have impressed many and will be a force to deal with in the future.

photos: Thomas De Paepe



John McKeon is a former professional and collegiate American Football player and coach now living and working in New York. His goal is to spread news, information, and opinion on the global growth of the sport he loves.