Monday, May 13, 2013

French Southern Conference Semi-Final Playoff Game


The French Division III National
Playoff Tournament Resumes Today

 Your Bron-Villeurbanne Falcons will
be playing in the Southern Conference
Semi-Finals at home today

Today's game is the third game
between the two best teams in
Division III's Sud Poule C

St-Cergues Bulldogs (7-2)
Bron-Villeurbanne Falcons (9-0)

The previous two meetings resulted in the Bulldogs only two losses this season. The Falcons won the first contest at home on February 17th 28-7. The Boys from Bron-Villeurbanne also took the rematch in St-Cergues by a final tally of 41-6 on March 31st.

State-of-the-Art Falcons
Pre-Game Motivational Techniques

All of that is ancient history. All that matters is how well these two squads play today for the right to play for the Southern Conference Championship in two weeks.

Future Falcons

The pre-game was a bit of a mess as we were supposed to have a Cadet team playoff game before our contest.

Brice Rontet always working
on his moves

If you recall, two weeks ago the Cadets were scheduled to meet the Montpellier Hurricanes in the first round of the 32 team National Playoffs. The Hurricanes had to forfeit the game due to travel issues. We then moved on to the round of 16 where we were to host the Avignon Warriors. Last Monday night, after concluding the third of our four Avignon practices we were informed by the French Federation that the forfeit was not acceptable and that we would have to host Montpellier on Sunday at 2:00 p.m., the same time as our Senior game's kickoff.

WR Romain Nefise helping
LB Nico Bertora, up from the B team,
look good for his first Senior game

After much talk, the Cadet kickoff was pushed up to 12:30 p.m. and our Seniors would start at 3:30 p.m.

Shannon Tesseyre works REALLY hard
for the Falcons on Game Day

After all of this, Montpellier was again a no-show. While the rest of the country's Cadets played their second round games on Sunday, our Cadets will have to wait until next Sunday to host the Warriors . . . unless the Federation opts at the last second to have us play the Hurricanes at the last second.

Decals have been a
BIG hit with the Falcons

Our Juniors got the opportunity to take a nice, long, tourist bus ride to the South of France on Sunday to play the Dragons of Marseillan in a second round game of their National Playoffs. Their reward was a dominant 40-6 victory launching them into the third round of the playoffs in two weeks in Valence against the Sharks. These playoffs are down to the best eight Junior teams in France.

Falcon Fanatics!!!

So let's take a look at the main event, the Senior game. The mood in locker room was definitely different. Our guys are usually loose and boisterous. Today they were quiet, focused and seemingly focused before the game.

The Cheerleaders were READY!!!

I was worried.

 One More Time

 Here Come the FALCONS!!!


Coin Flip

It was finally time to play the game!


Pierro Theyssier got the ball rolling with an outstanding Kickoff Return to the Bulldogs 38 yard line. The offense was clicking as John van den Raadt found Romain Nefise wide open on a 21 yard TD pass. Our PAT woes continued but we led early 6-0.

Pierro Theyssier on the go!

The Bulldogs' first drive ended in a Three and Out, Punt (T&OP). Heavy pressure by DE Remi Laurencon hurried their punter into a 3 yard punt. The offense had a short field to work with again.

 Lacoste Sponsors the Bulldogs

John van den Raadt in action

John's arm was hot as he found Chris Garel in the corner of the end zone on another strike, this time it was a 10 yard TD pass. Brice Rontet added two more points on a nifty three yard run. It was now 14-0 Falcons.

 Feeling the Love

Thibaud Rontet

The Bulldogs responded with a very good drive as they mixed the run and pass quite well. They scored on a way too easy five yard run. Their PAT was perfect and the Falcons lead was now only 14-7. We had a ball game on our hands.

 Great Kickoff Coverage!


Pierro Theyssier provided us with another splendid Kickoff Return to mid-field as the First Quarter came to a conclusion with Bron-Villeurbanne leading 14-7.

Nice Catch

Brice Rontet


The Falcons continued their drive but penalties stymied the effort. Mathieu Paredes had a fantastic pooch punt that was downed at the Bulldogs' five yard line.

 OLB Sam Ajavon on the tackle

Yoann Ros has shown GREAT
improvement at LG this year

The Bulldogs experienced their second T&OP of the day.

John van den Raadt loose again 

It means so much to our team to have
DC Stephen Wohlert back in the fold.
The White Hat did a good job by the way.

Good field position again led to a one yard romp by RB Steven "The Gypsy King" Berthomier. Fred "Papy" Bastiand's PAT kick was true and the Falcons were breathing a bit easier leading 21-7.

Dying Cockroach Decal!
Oops, wrong team


The Bulldogs spoiled a T&OP opportunity by going for it on fourth down. They did not make it.


The Falcons offense was back on track as John van den Raadt scored on a one yard run. The PAT snap was not a good one and we were unable to kick the ball. It was now Falcons 27 - Bulldogs 7.

Falcons Gonna Getcha!!!

The Bulldogs offense came to life, got a few first downs, but eventually turned the ball over on downs.

You're going to try to outrun
Will Lacôm . . . really?

The Falcons were driving but the half ended on a play where the ball just slipped through our receiver's hands in the end zone. Our team really strives for perfection, so even with a rock solid 27-7 lead at the intermission, the mood in the locker room was sullen. We wanted more out of ourselves.


The defensive emphasis at halftime was the need to put out any fire that the Bulldogs may have built up during the break with a great defensive series. Great Kickoff team coverage pinned St-Cergues deep in their end of the field. On the Bulldogs' first play, OLB David Ollagnier intercepted an errant pass and returned it five yards. GOOD ANSWER BY THE SPECIAL TEAMS AND DEFENSE!!!

TD Thibaud Rontet

With another short field, the Falcons attacked quickly and efficiently. Thibaud Rontet found pay dirt on a three yard run. The two point PAT pass was incomplete but the Falcons had taken care of business on the first two drives of the second half. Falcons 33 - Bulldogs 7

Pass Break Up by Guillaume Dine

The Bulldogs responded with a first down but then "Blind" Armand Mbonjo picked off another Bulldogs pass and returned it ten yards before tripping over a blade of grass.

Brice Rontet Churning Away

John van den Raadt notched his third TD pass of the day, this time hooking up with Gaetan Tafa on a three yard bomb. Pierre Bouysset's PAT attempt split the uprights and the Falcons were in command 40-7.

Pierre's PAT was PARFAIT!

Gaining control of these two yards
wins a LOT of games

The Bulldogs were true to their name and would not go down easily. They connected on a short pass over the middle. Their receiver fought hard, broke a tackle and was off to the races. We could not catch him and it resulted in a 66 yard catch and run play for a TD. After a penalty on the the Falcons negated a PAT miss, the Bulldogs second attempt was perfect. The score was now Falcons 40 - Bulldogs 14.

Shannon helping me make the correct
wine pairing for my post game hot dog, 
while President Christophe Thaua 
Tweets my order to the concession stand.

Seriously, she has been a WONDERFUL
addition to our team!  

Bruno Chapuis was now at the helm as John van den Raadt sat out the rest of the game. The Falcons were marching as the Third Quarter ended with the Falcons up 40-14.

Air Bruno!!!


The drive ended with a powerful one yard TD run by Franck Berenice. The PAT hit the upright and rebounded back onto the playing field. Falcons 46 - Bulldogs 14

Franck Berenice barging into the End Zone

The Bulldogs offense was still alive and kicking. A good drive ended when CB Guillaume Dine broke up a Bulldog pass in the end zone on fourth down.

End Zone Ballet

Mathieu Paredes was inserted at QB. The drive was a T&OP for the Bulldogs' defense that was playing hard to the end. Paredes boomed a punt that again forced the Bulldogs into the face of a long field for their final drive of the day.

The Falcons fly on Air Paredes as well!

The Bulldogs only had time for a couple of plays before the game ended with the Falcons winning by a final score of 46-14.

If they are happy, I am happy!

Your Bron-Villeurbanne Falcons

We are truly a team. In this playoff game, seven different players scored the seven Falcon TDs. None of them was one of our top three scorers on the season coming into the game.

The St-Cergues Bulldogs (7-3) were a very good team that was well coached and played hard every time we met them. All three of their losses came at the hands of the Falcons.

After each game we give a Hammer-of-the-Game to the Falcon who made the big difference in the game, i.e., the player who gave everything he had for the Falcons to win. The award is a small hammer that's handle is painted Bordeaux and has silver writing painted on simply stating the date and opponent. Sunday's winner was 34 year old, behemoth DT Will Lacôm. Will does not know how to go half speed on the practice field much less the game field. Seeing his very intense emotional reaction to winning this Bulldog Playoff Game Hammer is something that I will never forget.


For the #2 seeded Falcons (10-0), it is on to the Southern Conference Championship game in two weeks on the road against the South's #1 seeded Montrabé Comètes (10-0). It should be a memorable moment.

Here is a look at what happened in the French National Division III Playoffs this weekend and how the two Conference Championship games shape up.

Conference Semi-Final Game Results
Northern Conference
#1 St-Herblain 14 - #5 Caen 2
#2 Tours 56 - #6 Strasbourg 6

Southern Conference
#1 Montrabé 26 - #4 Marseille 0
#2 Bron-Villeurbane 46 - #6 St-Cergues 14

Conference Championship Games
Saturday or Sunday, May 25 or 26, 2013
Northern Conference
#2 Tours Pionniers (8-0) at
#1 St-Herblain Dockers (10-0)

Southern Conference
#2 Bron-Villeurbanne Falcons (10-0) at
#1 Montrabé Comètes (10-0)

Silver Helmet Division III
National Championship Game
Saturday or Sunday, June 8 or 9, 2013
Northern Conference Champion vs.
Southern Conference Champion
at site to be determined

 It's GREAT to be a Falcon!

Another day at the office ending

Sorry, I just can't get enough
of Will's Moment


Olivier R said...

The dragons of Marseillan are not noirs, but there is so many dragons teams in french football the confusion is very understandable!

David said...

Still waiting to hear about your award-winning referee.

George said...

That is a good excuse for a lunch meeting when we get back to California.