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RETURN OF THE FRENCH ELITE CHAMPIONSHIP!

The Elite Championship is back!

After 2 years of stoppage, a consequence of the Covid-19 epidemic, the French Elite American football championship will finally resume. As the NFL wraps up its season with Super Bowl LVI, elite clubs will return to the field.

Let’s get straight to the heart of the matter, with the presentation of the first of the 10 days of the regular season. Objective for the 12 elite teams, to qualify for the playoffs and win the 26th Diamond Helmet.

GAME OF THE WEEK: FLASH vs. BLACK PANTHERS

Change of air for Black Pantherssince the Savoyards arrived in conference A this season.

First day and already a shock for the Panthers, who will inaugurate their arrival in Conference A with a trip to the Flash. On the one hand the defending champion (Thonon won the last Diamond Helmet in 2019), on the other the most successful team in the history of the championship. This poster between two contenders for the final victory will set the tone for the 2022 season.

It will also be the opportunity to see the new Quarterbacks of the two clubs at work for the first time.

In the Flash, it is the American player Conor Miller. Arrived at the beginning of the year, the native of Florida went through the JUCO level and the University of Florida Atlantic. In 2019, he joined Europe to play with Cologne, then evolved in Austria during the 2020 season. He arrived at La Courneuve as QB number 1 and will serve as a mentor to the young French QB Leo Cremades. To shine he can count on the international receiver Stephane Fortesthe American TE Ryan Smith and the return of the former international Steve DeLaval. On the side of the solid defense of HC Nicholas Simoneau it will be necessary to count on the backfield with an explosive duo formed at the club composed ofAmir Kilani and Mamoudou Drama

In Thonon, clark evans, MVP in 2019 and QB of the title team, left for Switzerland last year. He now plays for the Bern Grizzlies and has decided to stay there for his family life. The Black Panthers recruited a Canadian Quarterback, Brett Hunchak. Born in Calgary, he holds numerous records at York University (Toronto). Other “import” players we can’t wait to see for Thonon, the American RB Akiva Wedge and the Hungarian defender / kicker Kristof Szarkacs. Back after a few seasons in Switzerland, the coach Larry Legault will once again be able to count on a quality group, armed to retain their title. We will keep a close eye on the skill player’s arrival in the Thonon squad. Remi Bertellin who is returning to France after many seasons with McGill University and recently with the Barcelona Dragons.

OTHER WEEK END MEETINGS

Molossians of Asnières sur Seine vs Spartans of Amiens

  • Saturday 12 February, at 8 p.m.
  • Blaise Matuidi Stadium

Another good poster in Conference A, between two clubs which were very competitive during the last season in 2019. Molossians like the Spartans had then failed in the semi-finals. But a lot has changed due to the nearly 2-year hiatus.

Attractive team, the Molossians have recorded the arrival of many recruits, some of them recently. DB Giovanni Bitodi returns home after an experience in Canada, and 3 players from the Paris Dragons land in the 92, including the quarterback Adrian Roux. The Asnières sur Seine team has strengthened its position as WR, with three arrivals (Elikem Segala, Keny Bonnot and Maxence Buyoya). And the recruits all display the same ambition: win the Diamond Helmet.

The situation is more complicated for Spartans, who have suffered particularly with the Covid. Stopped for almost 2 years, the club has fallen behind, especially in terms of recruitment. Many players present during the very good 2019 season have left, and the coach Steve Guersentwho is back, conceives that “ the workforce has lost quality » and that it is necessary « restart a cycle “. But the Amiens club has not lost its ambitions and two international recruits have recently been announced. The Spartans have notably found their Quarterback, with the American player Cornelius Kitchen. And a versatile Spanish player (OL/DL), Jose Perla Lobosalso swells the ranks.

Vikings of Villeneuve d’Ascq vs Cougars of Saint Ouen l’Aumone

  • Sunday February 13, at 2 p.m.
  • Creps Stadium, Wattignies

Promoted in 2020, the vikings were only able to play 3 games before the Covid-19 epidemic put an end to the championship. This 2022 season will therefore be the real first in the elite for the northern club. Interviewed on France Bleu Nord, the President Guillaume Prévostlike the Coach Sullyvan Wienclawskiexpressed the great desire of the players to find the grounds.

In the last full season, in 2019, the Cougars had created the surprise by reaching the final (lost to the Black Panthers). If the General Manager David Rosetta declares that maintaining remains the mission, he does not hide from the ambition to repeat the surprise and find the playoffs. Led by the President – ​​Coach Stephane Bago, the team of 95 had to go through a reconstruction during the last two years. By focusing on the Elite squad, the Cougars finally managed to build a strong roster for the upcoming season. Several “import” recruits came to swell the ranks. Brody Hahn (USA) will be the starting quarterback, and he will be protected by Darrius Hicksanother American player, and Deon Mutsvanemoto who arrives from the Berlin Thunder.

Marseille Blue Stars vs Montpellier Hurricanes

Rising team in France, the Blue Stars want to confirm their place in the elite and aim higher. The Marseillaise team managed to qualify for the playoffs in its first 2 seasons in D1 (2018, 2019), but was eliminated in the 1er round each time. Like their GM, Sacha Memran, The Blue Stars do not hide their ambitions and are clearly aiming for the title this year. With a competitive roster in place, they are one of the teams to watch closely in Conference B.

They can count on the return of the Canadian QB Kaleb Scottwho had already worn the colors of Marseille in 2020. To help him, the Blue Stars have also recruited several attacking players, including two WRs: Mehdi Chambon who is a reservist in the France team and Gabriel Bisson. We are also looking forward to seeing OL Dustin Burns at work, after impressive training reports.

The Hurricanes moved up to D1 in 2019, i.e. 1 year after the Blue Stars. Their major asset will be Joachim Torrelli, quarterback in the France team, and who is able to do damage with his arms like his legs. Former Safety when he played in Cannes or Nice, he has established himself as one of the references to the position of QB since the coach Arnaud Vidaller arrived in Montpellier. The Hurricanes were able to count on good preparation despite the Covid, with a concerned and motivated group that always managed to meet for some collective training.

Catalan Grizzlys vs Argonauts of Aix en Provence

Like the vikings in conference A, the Grizzlies were promoted to D1 in 2020, a season halted by the pandemic. This will therefore be the Catalan club’s first full season in the top flight. On the program of the 1time day, the reception of one of the historic teams of the French championship: the Argonautes.

The Grizzlies focus on training, which is embodied by the new coach and director of the training center Enver Ramovic. Former offensive coordinator of the France team, he is particularly renowned for his work with young people. And this direction was felt during recruitment. A few foreign players will also make their debut with the Perpignan club, including the American QB Jake Purichia and the New Zealand DE Zaire Ugapo.

The Aix en Provence team, with 29 seasons in the top flight and 8 Diamond Helmets, wants to come back to the fore after two seasons without the playoffs, a rather rare occurrence. The Argonautes will be able to count on several recruits “ imports from the United States. mike pinawho was trained at Nichols University, comes on to be the team’s quarterback, while Nicholas Wimmertrained at William & Mary University, arrives to bolster the offensive line.

Toulouse Bears vs Grenoble Centaurs

Promoted from D2, the Bear return to the top flight for the first time since the early 1990s. Arnaud Montgeniethe President of the club, the objective is not to aim for a title right away, but first of all ” to maintain, adapt and settle in the elite “. The Bear are still ambitious with a desire to become one of the great French clubs, both in terms of American football and other activities (flag, cheerleading). To take the team, the Bear will be able to count on the Canadian QB Cameron Valardowho started the 2020 season with Toulouse and who returns for this year.

The Centaurs have been quite active in preparing their squad, with very defensive recruitment. Several young players have arrived, such as CB Thomas Houel or the DL Dimitri Radulovic, who are only 20 years old. We can also mention the addition of the Tunisian international CB Mehdi Saidi. As for the players imports », the RB Derritt Potts evolved into 3th NCAA division. He is also an Air Force veteran, with the rank of Staff Sergeant. It remains to be seen which quarterback will start on this first day, between Loic Caruso and Benjamin Perrin.

Preview made by Damien Foreau (foot-us.com) for fffa.org

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