Thonon Black Panthers QB Clark Evans on playing in French final

Thonon Black Panthers quarterback Clark Evans is preparing to play in the French Federation of American Football’s Casque de Diamant championship final June 29, making it his third title game appearance in a row.

In 2017 and 2018 , Evans led the Calanda Broncos to the Swiss title.

On Saturday, he and his team face the Saint-Ouen-L’Aumône Cougars, the same team Thonon lost to in the 2015 championship game. He played for Germany’s Dusseldorf Panther in 2016 and spent the 2015 season with the Ljubljana Silverhawks of Slovenia. A native of Tustin, California, Evans played his college football at the University of Hawaii and also one year at Colorado.

This is the third straight trip to the French final for the Black Panthers who reached back-to-back French championship finals in 2017 and 2018 and won the title in France twice, in 2013 and 2014.

American Football International: You have taken the Black Panthers to the championship final in your first year after winning 2 finals in Switzerland. Describe how that feels.

Clark Evans: This is a great group of guys that has worked so hard all season long and I am feel very honored to be apart of this team. After two great years in Switzerland winning back to back championships, I knew that the next team I played for would have to be a championship contender and when I got connected with the Panthers I saw that this group had a great opportunity to compete for a championship. From the players to President and everyone in between this organization is first class and does things the right way.

AFI: You are facing a surprise finalist in the Saint-Ouen Cougars. Do you prepare any differently?

CE: I was not very surprised to be facing the Cougars in the championship game. They are a very well coached group with exceptional athletes all over the field. They got hot at the end of the season and kept it rolling through the playoffs. We are preparing for them just like any other game and with an extra week we can really go in depth with our plan and make sure we have it down.

Photo: Aixelane

AFI: How much different is this challenge compared to your Swiss Bowl finals?

CE: It is very similar to the Swiss Finals we are going in as the favorite after having the best record in the league during the regular season and playing a team that got hot at the right time and is coming into the final confident. I think a big difference will be the magnitude of the game. The French Federation is doing a great job putting on the event and I’m excited to get to play and this kind of atmosphere.

AFI: What has been the difference playing in France compared to Switzerland?

CE: There isn’t much of a difference that I have seen. French football is a bit more organized But I think the level of play is very similar. With a lot of athletes in both countries and the more organized teams having a big advantage in recruiting new players and keep players around.

AFI: You are a quarterback who likes to run and is built like a linebacker. Do you think you will have to rely more on your passing game?

CE: We just want to take what the defense gives us. Either way I just want to win, if I throw the ball 30 times, run the ball 30 times or Kasper (our import RB) has a big game doesn’t make a difference to me as long as I am doing my job and helping us win games.

Clark Evans led the Calanda Broncos to the 2018 Swiss Bowl title

AFI: What kind of defense do you expect to see? 

CE: The Cougars have shown a great ability to game plan their opponents all year long. We expect to see lots of man defense with safety help I would not be the least bit surprised to see them come out in something completely new. They have had 2 weeks to prepare just like we have and with that great coaching staff they have over there having that extra time means they will be locked in on their game plan and ready to go for this big game

AFI: Anything else you would like to add?

CE: I am really excited to get out on the field and show everyone how hard we have worked for this all season long. This is a great group of guys and getting one last game together for a championship should be a lot of fun

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