Sunday, March 10, 2013

Falcons Football Three Ring Circus Saturday

Saturday was a very busy day for all Falcons fans as we had three games scheduled all over France. Let's take a look at the day's contests in chronological order . . .

The Cadets played at home vs.
the St-Étienne Giants

Nice ride Giants.

Warming up under an
oncoming Mushroom Cloud

This can't be a good sign.


Giants Sprint Out Pass

The Cadet defense did a fine job forcing a Three and Out on the Giants first possession.

Then a strange thing happened . . .

First, one of the rules of Cadet (under 17) football state that on a punt, the defense is not allowed to cross the line of scrimmage to in any way pressure the punt. The Center's rainbow long snap finally arrived in the Punter's hands which seemed to unnerve the Punter. He hurried his steps and then punted the ball right into his Right Guard's back. The ball ricocheted back to the Punter where he was quickly tackled for an eight yard loss.


Not really sure what this crazy looking play was.

Bootleg Pass for a TD

This was the first of many scores on the day for the Cadets as they intercepted four passes and returned two of them for TDs.

Haute Couture

Even the refs have to be stylish in France.

Alex and the Juniors
at the Cadet Game

Alex, on the left, is studying in Lyon and is an American football player from Mexico where he plays for the University of the Americas in Puebla. A nice young man who I tried to recruit to help us with the Falcons, he is currently rehabbing a knee injury while in France.

"Punks Not Dead"

At least not for Senior team Right Guard David Melin.

The game was shortened in the second half as the Falcon Cadets steamrolled their way to a 60-0 victory.

Meanwhile, in St-Étienne, the Falcons B team (21 and older) was playing against St-Étienne's other club, the Condors.

The big news was that after retiring from play about six years ago, legendary Falcons Linebacker Olivier Caldes (37 years old) was suiting up.

Now, St-Étienne is about a one hour drive from Lyon so I couldn't be there. Fortunately, Nath Caldes took pictures of the historic event.

 Olivier Caldes (56) played QB and RB

Olivier Caldes using the patented
John van den Raadt "Stiff Arm" Move

Not enough fire power for the Falcons today as the Condors won 16-6.

The Main Event

Bron-Villeurbanne Falcons (4-0)
Clermont-Ferrand Servals (0-4)
8:00 p.m.

Blue Sidelines?

It was drizzling when we arrived with a wind chill factor in effect. By game time the rain stopped for the night and there was no wind at all. The temperature at kickoff was a comfortable 48ºF/9ºC.

The stadium's lights were average at best and my photos with my little camera were not as sharp as I would have liked but here goes.

Falcons Kickoff Return


The Falcons opened the game with a seven minute drive that had an excellent mixture of passes and runs. QB John van den Raadt finished the series with a one yard TD scamper. The PAT was blocked and the Falcons led 6-0.

The Servals got a first down which awakened the Falcons defense who take this sort of thing personally. BIG back-to-back QB sacks quickly put an end to this nonsense forcing the Servals to punt from deep in their own territory. The Servals Long Snapper launched the ball high over the Punter's head and it sailed out of the back of the end zone for a Safety. The Falcons were now ahead 8-0.

Thibaud Rontet had a huge return on the ensuing kickoff as the First Quarter ended with Bron-Villeurbanne up 8-0.

The Line of Scrimmage


The Falcons hitting was intense! The offense continued to shine as John van den Raadt hit WR Gaetan Tafa with a nine yard TD strike. Fred "Papi" Bastiand kicked the PAT and it was now Falcons 15 - Servals 0.

The Servals were forced into a Three and Out, Punt. 

The Falcons broke out the Big Gun as VDR threw a beautiful 61 yard TD pass to WR Pierro Theyssier. The PAT kick failed again, but the Falcons were now cruising with a lead of 21-0.

A big hit on the Kickoff forced a Servals fumble which Falcon LB Pierre Bouysset recovered.

The Falcons continued in Hyper-Drive with VDR quickly hitting WR Bastien "Baba" Vincent on another nine yard TD pass. The PAT attempt hit the upright and bounced out, we're getting closer on these. Falcons were now in total control, up 27-0.

The Servals were about to suffer another Three and Out, Punt but the half ended before the Servals could punt on fourth down.

At the Intermission it was Falcons 27 - Servals 0. 

Excellent Pass Protection for VDR


The Servals offense had no success, Three and Out, Punt.

John van den Raadt started the Second Half at the helm but was taken out of the game for good before the drive ended to the thunderous ovation of . . . me. QB Mathieu Paredes finished the drive with his signature play, the QB Wedge, from one yard line. Holder Brice Rontet mishandled the snap but scrambled his way into the end zone on the "Fire" call for two points. The Falcons led 35-0.

The Servals were completely dominated again, Three and Out, Punt. 

Bruno Chapuis was now the Falcons QB as his sparkling hand off to RB Wahid Larbi led to a 12 yard TD. As usual, the PAT was errant but it was now Falcons 41 - Servals 0.

The Servals again fumbled the kickoff after another big hit by the Falcons. TE/WR Geoff Moulton recovered the fumble for the Falcons as the Third Quarter came to a close with the Falcons in complete control 41-0.

Falcons Pass Rush


QB Bruno Chapuis threw his first TD pass of the season, a 24 yard strike, to RB Wahid Larbi. Again, the PAT was blocked. The boys from Bron-Villeurbanne were in front by a tally of 47-0.

The Servals started a drive that garnered a first down. SS Steven Berthomier ended this drive with a nice interception that he returned about 20 yards.

The Falcon offense finally failed to score as their final drive was halted by the end of the game.

Falcons (5-0) 47 - Servals (0-5) 0

This was easily the Falcons best performance of the season, not because of the final score but because of the efficiency, fierce hitting and focus. We only had two penalties on the night.

How and where to celebrate the victory before the two hour bus ride home . . .

Clermont-Ferrand's McDonalds . . .

It must be noted that I only eat at McDonalds in Europe if it is a team building exercise. Not a lot of great, authentic French cuisine here it turns out.

Ismael says that V is for Victory

FS Ismael Sánchez, on the left, had a great game and earned the coveted Hammer-of-the-Game award.

Sassy Falcons!!!

What a BEAUTIFUL day to play American football!!!

Now, let's finish with a look at how our FFFA Division III league, the Sud Poule C, shapes up after the Falcons' victory.

Division III - Sud Poule C

Week #5 Make-Up Game Result
Bron-Villeurbanne 47 - Clermont-Ferrand 0
BYES: Chambéry, Lyon and St-Cergues

Bron-Villeurbanne Falcons 5-0
St-Cergues Bulldogs 4-1
Chambéry Aigles 1-2
Lyon Gones 1-3
Clermont Ferrand 0-5

Week #8 Games
Sunday, March 17, 2013
Bron-Villeurbanne (5-0) at Chambéry (1-2)
St-Cergues Bulldogs (4-1) at Lyon Gones (1-3)
BYE: Clermont-Ferrand (0-5)

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