Sunday, June 16, 2013

One Week Later . . .

Small world . . .

Johan Hammarqvist
The Duke of Finja

Saturday we had a rare treat in store for us as our old friend Johan Hasmmarqvist, from our Hässleholm Hurricanes coaching days in Sweden, was in Lyon with his Men's Club, which is a sub-division of Rotary International.

Apparently Men's Clubs like his from all over Europe and parts of Africa get together once a year in various club sites to exchange ideas and fellowship.

This year's meeting was being hosted by the Lyon chapter, thus our chance meeting.

We, of course, met on Place Bellecour by the statue of King Louis XVI as the Lyonnaise have done for centuries.

We had a café and sat for a long time catching up on old times, new family news and the current state of the Hurricanes and Swedish football.


It has now been just over a week since we won the National Championship but a day has not gone by since then that new photos from that magical night have been posted on Facebook.

Thus a post of my reflections about the 47 players on our roster this year. 

Most of the photos have
the Championship Trophy in them

Not sure who put this together but it is a nice link to a combination slideshow and highlight tape of the game:

The Defense

DT Will Lacôm

Physical, emotional, only knows one speed . . . ALL OUT!

He was in on a team high 12 tackles earning him one of our three Defensive Player-of-the-Game awards.

 DT Joel Tchibozo

HUGE, lots of potential, his best seasons are still ahead of him.

Joel participated on eight tackles including a QB Sack (-4 yards) and forced a key fumble that the Falcons would recover.

DE Anthony Bouvier

Anthony is a very steady, consistent player.

He recovered the fumble that Joel Tchibozo forced and was in on three tackles.

DE Remi Laurencon

A quiet but dominant WARRIOR who leads by example.

He had eight tackles including a Tackle for Loss (-2 yards) and two QB Sacks (-7 yards). He won both the coveted Game Hammer and a piece of the Defensive Player-of-the-Game award.

DE Romaric Vagner

Herr Vagner also played DE. He played very solid football for us.

DT Bernard Demea

Bernard is quick and has a bright future with the Falcons. He played well when he got his chances to get in games.

 DE Jordan Yapo

Jordan has good speed coming off the edge on pass rushing downs. He has a bright future as well.

DT Mehdi Camarasa

Strong and physical with a passion for the game, Mehdi joined us from the Junior team once their season was over. He is going to be a great Falcon defender for many seasons to come, in my estimation.

He also sings the National Anthem quite well!

 OLB David Ollagnier

A wild man on the field, he brought the a tough attitude to the team week-after-week.

As our second leading tackler on the season, he only had one tackle after hurting his knee breaking up a pass on third down early in the game forcing him to sit out most of the contest.

MLB Matthieu Fayard

If you are going to be a great defense, then you must have an exceptional middle linebacker. We had a great defense.

Matthieu had eight tackles including a Tackle for Loss (-5 yards).

OLB Sam Ajavon

Sam is a leader who brings a joyful, winning attitude to the Falcons at every practice and game.

He would be the final winner of the Defensive Player-of-the-Game award for his ten tackles that included a QB Sack (-4 yards).

OLB Christophe Aucoin

He played well in David Ollagnier's absence as did . . .

OLB Sylvain Pinay

During a long, hard, physical season like ours, several men like Dahlem, Aucoin and Pinay had to step up in as all important role players.

OLB Nico Bertora

When our Senior B team's season ended, Nico was the only player who wanted to move up to help us in our playoff run. I put great stock in his winning attitude.

 FS Ismael Sánchez

From what I have seen in my five seasons of coaching overseas, Ismael, a.k.a., "The Catalan," is the hardest hitting DB in Europe.

He doled out three vicious Hammer Hits before a pulled hamstring forced him out of the game in the second quarter. He was in on four tackles against the Pionniers.

 SS Fred "Papi" Bastiand

The old man of the Defense who is a very emotional leader. His career has spanned the entire 17 year history of the Falcons.

 CB Loic Labrosse

As one of our steadiest defenders, he had seven tackles and a critical interception to stop a Pionniers' threat in the third quarter.

CB Guillaume Dine

Normally our starting CB, he had to move to FS when Ismael Sánchez went down. He had a very good game recording two tackles while providing great coverage.

CB Jonathan Dahlem

Jonathan is on the right. When Guillame Dine, on the left, moved to FS, Jonathan stepped up big time at CB. No passes were completed to the man he was covering.

CB Armand Mbonjo

A non-football related eye surgery cost Armand a good chunk of the middle of the season. He likes to hit and aided the team on Special Teams.

CB Thibault Dubois

Thibault is a very hard worker in practice and brings his "A" game to the Falcons daily. 

Defensive Coordinator
Stephen Wohlert

The architect of easily the best defense in France's Division III in the 2012-13 season. His passion and preparation were vital to our National Championship.

The Offense

LT Djamel Laib

Full of life and long in the tooth, Djamel went from coach to player after the Christmas break to fill in for Baptiste Gabriac whose season ended due to back surgery. Djamel played very well protecting our QB's blind side.

LG Yohan Ros

After our first three or four practices I was asked by Julien Urgenti what I thought about the offensive line. I replied that I liked them except for the left guard, who was Yohan and that he needed to improve. 

Fortunately because of a lot of hard work and rarely if ever missing a practice, Yohan developed into a very consistent lineman in leading our club with 11 Dying Cockroach blocks.

C Pierre Givet

The anchor of the line, he is a wily veteran who brought his quiet toughness in spades to the title tilt.

Team first, always!

RG David "Fion" Melin

A cartoon character in cleats, David used his size and leverage to good advantage all season long. Another player who really developed his game this season.

 RT Pierre Podgorski

Pierre has great feet and was fun to watch on reach blocks. He was a road grader on our right side.

OT/OG Alex Da Silva

Alex was our only backup lineman at the end of the season and did an outstanding job spelling all of the starters. 

LT Baptiste Gabriac

Until his back gave out after our second game, Baptiste was playing very well for the Falcons.

OT/OG Mehdi Bezguiche

Mehdi also played a lot this year as a key backup lineman but missed the playoffs due to a knee injury.

LB Pierre Bouysset and
WR Pierro Theyssier

WR Pierro is on the right. He was our explosive leading receiver on the year with 20 catches for 368 yards and five TDs. Pierro was also a valuable kick and punt returner.

LB Pierre provided the team with great Special Teams play and helped greatly on defense the last half of the season.

WR Chris Garel

Chris is what is referred to in America as a "Possession Receiver." He runs good routes and is both sure handed and physical after the catch. His first catch against the Pionniers was a short pass that he turned into a 49 yard play after running over their FS. This physical play by Chris set the tone for the rest of the game.

Chris was our second leading receiver with 18 grabs good for exactly 300 yards and two TDs.

WR Romain Nefise

Romain brings unbridled joy to everything and everyone he meets in life. He missed a large part of the season due to a broken finger in our first game that required surgery and a lot of rehab.

Still, he was our third leading receiver with 12 catches for 239 yards and three TDs plus one two point PAT. He also provided a spark to the club with his kickoff returns.

WR Gaetan Tafa

Gaetan is a key member of the Falcons' administrative staff as well as a good WR. Like Chris Garel, Gaetan was steady, not flashy and blocked very well.

For the campaign, Gaetan was our fourth leading receiver. He had 16 catches for 211 yards and five TDs.

WR Ludo Dornier

Ludo was a backup WR who really improved as the season wore on.

WR Baba Vincent

Baba is quick and provided us with a good change of pace.

 WR Geoff Moulton

As a first year player he was a key contributor on Special Teams. Geoff has a bright future in this sport as he continues to learn and grow.

WR Philippe Casanova

Oft injured, he has some very special talents that can help in the future.

WR Emrah Bayrak

A big contributor in the first half of the season. Injuries hampered him down the stretch.

RBs Brice Rontet and Thibaud Rontet
"Thunder and Lightning"

Brice is a physical runner and blocker that gets better and stronger as the game wears on . . . he will hit you! He had 95 carries for 545 yards, seven TDs and four two point PATs.

Thibaud used his great speed to gain 324 yards on 79 carries for seven TDs and a two point PAT. He also caught 15 passes for 143 yards and a TD.

Great gene pool.

 RB/SS Steven Berthomier
"The Gypsy King"

Our Special Teams captain, he started the year on defense but switched over to the offense when our numbers got thin at RB due to injuries and job duties that forced other RBs to miss games.

He played his role to perfection with a physical style that fit in perfectly with the Falcons. He had a gritty, tough run at the end of the Pionniers game that earned us the final first down of the season that sealed the National Championship.

RB Franck Berenice

Franck is a prototypical fullback. He just hammers defenders with both his blocks and inside runs.

RB Wahid Larbi

Wahid is extremely fast but a nagging ankle injury cost him large chunks of the season.

QB Bruno Chapuis

Bruno was slated to be our starter at the beginning of the season until taking the Silver Medal in a fight vs. a chain saw in October.

He came back in February to be our backup QB and play on Special Teams. Bruno is yet another Team First guy.

QB/WR Mathieu Paredes


He started the season as our Senior B team's QB and DE. After Bruno's injury he was promoted to the helm of the Falcon ship and lead us to two victories before the Christmas Break and the arrival of our import QB. He did a marvelous job!

Yes, another Team First Falcon.

He became known as the Wedge Master for his success in short yardage situations all season long. I love his final season rushing statistics line:

32 carries, 70 yards, NINE TDs, one two point PAT, Longest run 60 yards 

Mathieu did not score on the 60 yard run.

QB John van den Raadt

This is the easy part of being an import QB.  John led our squad in scoring (66 points), rushing (588 yards, ten TDs, three two point PATs) and passing (1,462 yards, 17 TDs, one two point PAT).

The hard part of being an import QB.  He is humble, caring, giving, a great cook and an unbelievable teammate and leader.

Easily the best player in France's Division III this year.

 Julien Urgenti and Fabrice Candelo

These two coaches were the architects of our great offensive team that averaged scoring 35.6 points and 305.8 yards in Total Offense each game.

Junior Coach Olivier Caldes

Olivier was a long time, excellent linebacker for the Falcons. His legacy for toughness is being perpetuated by the team he coaches and the Seniors who try to live up to his standards.

Falcon President Christophe Thuau

It is safe to say that he was a happy camper that night.


Falcons, Merci for a Truly
Memorable Season!!!

1 comment:

Pierre #54 said...

Thank you coach for this season ! Thanks for everyhting we learnt. I will tell my daughter when she will be older that in 2013 I win the DIII french national title with an amazing head coach !

See you !