Monday, April 29, 2013

The Falcons' Opening Game in the French Division III National Championship Playoffs

The Falcons started their 2013
French National Championship
Playoff run on Sunday

Southern Conference Division III

#7 seed Albi Hurricane (5-3)
Sud Poule A Second Place
#2 seed Bron-Villeurbanne Falcons (8-0)
Sud Poule C Champions

It was exciting to get to face a new
and largely unknown opponent

Spirits ran high before the game

Pre-Game Ceremony Honoring former
Falcons President Maurice Candelo

Current Falcons President, Christophe Thuau on the right, was doing the well deserved presentation.

Game Day was a raw, overcast, rainy one, in other words, perfect FALCONS WEATHER!!!

The Hurricane were in for a long afternoon.


Albi got the ball first and promptly went Three and Out, Punt for the first of many times. Our defense came to play today! For simplicity's sake, future Three and Out, Punts will be abbreviated to T&OP.

The Falcons opening drive was a good one as we mixed the run and pass games leading to a six yard TD run by QB John van den Raadt. The PAT was wide but the Falcons led 6-0.

The Hurricane experienced T&OP #2.

The Hurricane punt was returned 60 yards by Falcon Pierro Theyssier to set up a short drive. The Wedgemaster, Mathieu Paredes, weaved his magic for a one yard TD. RB Brice Rontet bolted into the end zone for two more points to push the Falcons' advantage to 14-0.

On a third and long, the Hurricane tried a very long pass that two Falcon defenders simultaneously volley-balled into the hands of an unsuspecting Albi receiver who grabbed the gift, ran from the now fallen Falcons and completed a 50 yard TD play. The Albi two point try was thwarted and now the Falcons lead was a mere 14-6.

Even a blind squirrel can find an acorn every now and then. Même un écureuil aveugle peut trouver un gland de temps en temps.

Pierro Theyssier returned the ensuing kickoff an explosive 40 yards to give the Falcons great field position. A good play by a Hurricane defender stripped a Falcon RB of the ball at the Albi four yard line and the turnover ended a promising Falcon drive.

The Falcon defense put out the fire, Hurricane T&OP #3.

At the end of the First Quarter, the Falcons led 14-6.

Linebackers Matt Fayard #52 and
David Ollagnier #51

#7 QB John van den Raadt

The tail end of VDR's Bomb to
#1 WR Romain Nefise

VDR can run too!

#44 SS Papi Bastiand on the Blitz


#11 Punt Returner Pierro Theyssier

He "stands on guard for thee!"

QB Wedge

Pierro Theyssier on a big Kickoff Return

The next Falcon drive was highlighted by a great 20 yard catch by WR Romain Nefise. Unfortunately, for the second consecutive possession, the Falcons' drive ended with a turnover. This time it was a pass interception in the end zone that did us in.

The angry Falcons defense quickly reacted as a solid hit by LB Chris Aucoin jarred the ball loose from the Hurricane running back. MLB Matt Fayard scooped up the fumble and took it down to the Albi two yard line.

The Falcons wasted no time as Thibaud Rontet scampered the final two yards for another Bron-Villeurbanne score. Our PAT sailed wide again. It was now Falcons 20 - Hurricane 6.

After a huge sack by LB Sam Ajavon, the Hurricane had undergone T&OP #4.

Another short field for the Falcons and another masterpiece by the Maestro of the Wedge, Mathieu Paredes, for his second TD of the game. The PAT again failed but it was now 26-6 Falcons.

The Hurricane's offensive futility continued, T&OP #5.

The Falcons turned the ball over for a third time on a tipped pass.

The Falcons' defense was in a foul mood over these turnovers. On the final play of the half LB David Ollagnier forced a fumble that was recovered by LB Sam Ajavon.

We had not played efficiently on offense but we still had scored 26 points. To put this 26 point one half total in perspective, that is as many or more points than 11 of the other 15 teams in the Division III playoffs have scored in their entire games this weekend.

At the intermission, the Falcons were up 26-6 but were not happy.


Huddle Offense

Baba Vincent catching a Hitch Screen

Tear away jersey?

The Pfaffs were in the house

Our GREAT MLB Matt Fayard

He could play in the States.

He is our Junior team Defensive Coordinator as well. On Sunday he was given the freedom to call the defenses for the Senior game. He did a splendid job!

The Zone to Perfection

QB Counter coming right up

#9 Thibaud Rontet using his blockers

It was imperative that our offense got off to a fast start after our lackluster First Half. RB Steve Berthomier started the third period with a physical 35 yard run. The drives second play was a 20 yard TD run by Thibaud Rontet, his second score of the game. The PAT was again wide, the Falcons led 32-6 and we were back on track!

The Hurricane suffered through T&OP #6.

Pedal to the Metal! The Falcons quick strike attack was back as QB John van den Raadt found WR Gaetan Tafa open in the right corner of the end zone for another six points. Another missed PAT. Falcons 38 - Hurricane 6

Dare I say it, Hurricane T&OP #7.

John van den Raadt's last play of the game was a great one as he exploded on a 50 yard TD run. The PAT was GOOD!!! The crowd went wild and the Falcons were in cruise control leading 45-6.

The Hurricane's were on offense as the Third Quarter ended. On this drive the Albi offense notched their first First Down of the afternoon angering the Falcon defense beyond belief. The boys from Bron-Villeurbanne were leading 45-6 with 12 minutes to go.

Thibaud for SIX!

#2 WR/QB Matt Paredes
greeting some new friends

#25 RB Brice Rontet had some
tough, physical runs today

The Hurricane sported some flashy shoes

VDR's last play of the game . . .

Resulted in a 50 yard TD at the
end of the Third Quarter
Fumble Recovery by Pierre Bouysset
on the first play of the Fourth Quarter

The mood was joyous on the sidelines

The line was still blocking hard

VDR counseling #5 QB Bruno Chapuis
during the Fourth Quarter

John is now our Offensive Coordinator as well as QB and is doing a great job in this capacity.

Romain Nefise was EXCITED!!!


The Hurricane drive ends on the first play of the Fourth Quarter as LB Pierre Bouysset recovers an Albi fumble.

The Falcons turn the ball over on downs.

A fierce pass rush by DT Will Lacom leads to an interception by Falcon LB David Ollagnier.

The Falcons continue to run the ball and the clock as RB Brice Rontet scores a TD on one of his typical, physical runs, this time from the five yard line. The PAT is good again (YAHOO!!!) and the scoreboard now reads Falcons 52 - Hurricane 6.

The Hurricane run two plays for minimal yardage as the game mercifully comes to an end. 

The game was finally over at 4:03 p.m.
Falcons 52 - Hurricane 6

Dancing with the Stars
Falcon Style

Pierro Theyssier took home
the Game Hammer for his great Returns

Words of Wisdom???

Boys Will Be Boys

The field was quite wet, so they just could not resist a post-game 20 yard sprint followed by a belly slide for five more yards.

The Defensive Line
They make games really boring for our DBs

Opposing QBs are under great pressure and the last two teams we have played have not rushed the ball very well.

With Christophe Thuau and
John van den Raadt

Post-Game Social at
Les 3 Brasseurs

 It was a good day INDEED!!!

I could not pass up posting this picture
of our Junior team before leaving
on Saturday for their win in Avignon

Two great wins for the Falcons' program this weekend!

Division III National Playoffs

Conference Quarter-Final Game Results
Northern Conference
#1 St-Herblain 26 - #8 Asnières-sur-Seine 0
#5 Caen 39 - #4 Villepinte 36
#6 Strasbourg 27 - #3 Terville 18
#2 Tours 26 - #7 La Courneuve 8

Southern Conference
#1 Montrabé 21 - #8 Flayosc 6
#4 Marseille 18 FORFEIT WIN - #5 Cenon 0
#6 St-Cergues 30 - #3 Bordeaux 8
#2 Bron-Villeurbanne 52 - #7 Albi 6

Conference Semi-Final Games
Saturday or Sunday, May 11 or 12, 2013
Northern Conference
#5 Caen Conquérants (8-3) NPC #1 at
#1 St-Herblain Dockers (9-0) NPB #1

#6 Strasbourg Minotaures (9-2) NPA #2 at
#2 Tours Pionniers (7-0) NPD #1

Southern Conference
#4 Marseille Blue Stars (4-1-1) SPD #1 at
#1 Montrabé Comètes (9-0) SPA #1

#6 St-Cergues Bulldogs (7-2) SPC #2 at
#2 Bron-Villeurbanne Falcons (9-0) SPC #1

NPA = Nord Poule A, SPC = Sud Poule C, etc.

Some upsets in the opening round of the Division III playoffs this past weekend as the Northern Conference's #3 and #4 seeds lost. In the Southern Conference the #3 seed cashed in its chips as well.

Also, in protest against the French Federation of Football Américain's somewhat bizarre playoff bracketing decisions, the  Cenon Devils (4-4, SPB #3) opted to forfeit their game against the Marseille Blue Stars (3-1-1, SPD#1). Due to a paperwork snafu, the Devils were placed in the playoffs over the SPB's on the field #1 squad, the Pau Sphinx (6-2).

The St-Cergues Bulldogs

As for your Bron-Villeurbanne Falcons, our Southern Conference Semi-Final game in two weeks will be at home against our Sud Poule C rivals, the St-Cergues Bulldogs. Although we have won our two previous meetings with the Bulldogs, we are well aware of how hard it is to beat any team three times in one season. We are in for a very tough game to be sure!

Falcon Defensive Swarm in our
first Bulldog game on February 17th
The Bulldogs have a Stout Defense as well

A quick look at the two teams that will square off against each other in two weeks:

St-Cergues Bulldogs (7-2)
Sud Poule C - Second Place Team
Oct. 28, (1-0) Chambéry Aigles 12-6*
Nov. 11, (2-0) Clermont-Ferrand Servals 27-13*
Nov. 25, (3-0) Lyon Gones 28-0*
Feb. 17, (3-1) Bron-Villeurbanne Falcons 7-28*
Mar. 3, (4-1) Clermont-Ferrand Servals 14-13*
Mar. 16, (5-1) Lyon Gones 12-9*
Mar. 31, (5-2) Bron-Villeurbanne Falcons 6-41*
Apr. 20, (6-2) Chambéry Aigles 27-20*
Apr. 27, (7-2) Bordeaux Lions 30-8**
May 12 at Bron-Villeurbanne Falcons**
* Sud Poule C Game
** French National Division III Playoff Game

Bron-Villeurbanne Falcons (9-0)
Sud Poule C Champions
Nov. 11, (1-0) Lyon Gones 21-7*
Nov. 25, (2-0) Chambéry Aigles 18-0*
Feb. 17, (3-0) St-Cergues Bulldogs 28-7* 
Mar. 3 (4-0) Lyon Gones 35-6*
Mar. 10, (5-0) Clermont-Ferrand Servals 47-0*
Mar. 17, (6-0) Chambéry Aigles 34-14*
Mar. 31, (7-0) St-Cergues Bulldogs 41-6*
Apr. 14, (8-0) Clermont-Ferrand Servals 41-0*
Apr. 28, (9-0) Albi Hurricane 52-6**
May 12 vs. St-Cergues Bulldogs**
* Sud Poule C Game
** French National Division III Playoff Game

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Falcons Junior Team Playoff Game at Avignon

We left the stadium in Bron with our Junior squad at 2:30 p.m. for the long, slow bus ride to Avignon for our 8:15 p.m. kickoff against the Warriors in the opening round of the National Junior 9 Playoffs.

The weather called for low temperatures and lots of rain. About half way to Avignon we actually had a light snow flurry.

It is the end of April, isn't it?

NEWS FLASH: From the south of France . . .

 Proof Positive that the Ancient Mayans
Discovered Europe

The great archaeological discovery was stumbled upon while the bus stopped for a . . .

Pee Break

"Smoke 'em if you got 'em" as well.

We finally arrived at Avignon's
tree lined stadium at about 6:45 p.m.

It was windy but the Sun was shining and it would not rain on us. The field was not very muddy so the conditions were much better than promised. 

 Concrete Ping Pong Net and Table

This table was located just outside of the two team's locker rooms leading me to believe that the Warriors were probably very tough mentally.

They were.

 The Locker Room Entrance

 The Field was Lined and Ready

 Twenty Juniors Warming-Up

 Olivier Caldes' Pre-Game Talk

Falcons Hitting Drills

The Opening Kickoff of the 2013
Junior National Playoffs . . .


Not a good start for the Falcons as the Warriors returned this kickoff 80 yards for a TD.

 The Old Swinging Gate

We were really caught off guard on the Warriors' PAT and their #50 cruised in for an easy score to lead 8-0 just seconds into the contest.

The Warriors came to play and play hard! Our big advantage was in raw numbers. If you recall, we play nine man football at this level. While the Falcons had 20 players at their disposal, the Avignon team only had 13.

It would become a factor as the game wore on.

Falcons Sweep

We started our #3 QB because our starter was sick and our back-up did not make the trip. Our starting Center/DE was also not with us causing snap issues throughout the contest.

The Hitting was FIERCE!!!

As it should be in a National Playoff Game.

Avignon QB #10

At the half, we still trailed 8-0 but we felt that the momentum was swinging in our favor as our #1 QB entered in the second quarter and threw effectively.

One of his deep passes set us up with a First and Goal at the two yard line late in the first half. After penalties, a tackle for loss and a QB Sack we failed to score on a Fourth and Goal situation from the 25 yard line.

Time for the Second Half

Coming Up B-I-G!

We continued to throw the ball deep very well and then our B-I-G  boys, the offensive line, forced their will on the Warriors.

A 45 yard TD bomb and a 40 yard Power play TD scamper gave the Falcons a 14-8 lead as the third quarter came to an end.

The Falcons would add in insurance eight yard TD run that was set up by another long pass to make the final score 20-8 in favor of the boys from Bron-Villeurbanne.

It was a great, come from behind victory against a very tough opponent!

Up next for the Juniors is the winner of the Dragons vs. Dragons Noir game. Both of those teams are from the Marseille area. The game site has not been announced as of yet.

We would arrive home at 2:45 a.m. on Sunday morning after a stop at McDonald's for some much needed nutrition.

At about 1:45 a.m. on the bus trip, Papi Bastiand, our Cadet coach and a ref in the Junior game, got a message from the Montpellier Hurricanes people saying that they were forfeiting Sunday's Cadet National Playoff in Bron to our Cadets. Travel issues were the problems here.

So, our Juniors and Cadets both advance to Round Two of the National Playoffs.

Our Seniors (8-0) open the National Playoff run Sunday at 2:00 p.m. at home against the Albi Hurricane (5-3).