Two of the most successful clubs in American football in France over the past decade, the 9-1 Thonon Black Panthers and 8-2 La Courneuve Flash, will go head to head June 30 to battle for the French championship title in the Casque de Diamant at Stade Parsemain in Fos-sur-Mer in southern France.
The Flash are the defending title holders after defeating Thonon a year ago after staging an incredible second half comeback to win 44-40.
These clubs have met four times in the past in France’s title game, and the Flash lead the series 3-1 against the Black Panthers. Before last year’s loss to La Courneuve, Thonon defeated teh Flash to win the title in 2013 (14-0). The Flash won the two previous two meetings, 21-6 in 2007 and 41-27 in 2009. The last time Thonon won the French crown was in 2014 when they beat Asnieres Molosses 35-34.
The Flash are playing for their 11th French title while Thonon are looking for their third.
In the only meeting between the two teams in 2018, the Black Panthers came away with a 23-20 win in the opening game of the season.
To reach the final, Thonon defeated the Asnieres Molosses 14-9 while the Flash edged the Marseille Blue Stars 19-9.
Not much separated the two teams throughout the season. Thonon scored 314 points in 10 games while giving up 106. The Flash were right behind with 308 points scored while allowing 117.
Kyle Boehm of the Thonon Black Panthers finished 2nd in passing with 1,959 yards and a league-best 23 TDs. His favorite receiver is Jeff Alexandre who was also 2nd with 638 yards receiving and 9 TDs. An important factor on offense for Thonon is running back Stephen Yepmo. He rushed for 81 yards in the semifinal and scored a key touchdown.
In their semifinal win, Flash quarterback Paul Durand threw for 164 yards and a touchdown with Mikael Doukoure catching the scoring pass. Running back Nicolas Khandar, who finished 3rd in rushing during the regular season with 503 yards and 4 TDs, He rushed for 39 yards and two touchdowns in the victory over the Blue Stars.
While these two teams have superb defenses, like last year, this game may well open up into an offensive exhibition.