The second wildcard match of the D1 Elite took place this Saturday between the Flash de la Courneuve and the Grizzlys Catalans.
A week after their brilliant qualification for the final of the CEFL European Cup against the Italians of Parma, the players of the Flash de la Courneuve entered these 2023 playoffs of D1 Elite against the Grizzlys Catalans, third in Conference B at the end of the regular season.
An attacking festival in the first half
Quickly in this D1 Elite wildcard meeting, it is the Catalan Grizzlys who will show their claws. Behind a particularly precise Jagger LaRoe and facing a Flash defense that seems a little sleepy, the Catalans will enjoy themselves during the first minutes of the match. And this is quickly felt on the scoreboard since the Grizzlys will register no less than three touchdowns in the first quarter, including two through their receiver Aymeric Guillemaud.
In difficulty defensively, the reigning French champions will rely on their sure values in attack. It was first François Brémond who was found twice by Léo Crémades to prevent the gap from widening between the two teams. Then the inevitable François-Guilhem Pion scores his first touchdown in these 2023 D1 Elite playoffs to allow the Flash to pick up. But even better the defense finds colors to prevent Perpignan from scoring on their last drive before the break. At halftime, the Flash is led 24-21. A lesser evil for the Ile-de-France residents.
The Flash is accelerating
On resumption, the game is much more choppy in this wild card round of D1 Elite. However, it is the Courneuve players who will strike first in this second part of the match with a touchdown in the back of the end zone by Benedict Von Jagow which allows the Flash to lead for the first time in the game at less than 20 minutes of the end of the game (28-24). Von Jagow who will also go for his double in the third quarter to allow the Flash to irreparably widen the gap against an attack from the Grizzlys who can no longer do so (35-24).
The Grizzlys will try to come back through the intermediary of the one who was one of the great architects of the very good 2023 season in D1 Elite of the Catalans, namely the Canadian Jonathan Breton-Robert who will register his touchdown (35-31) but the southerners will not be able to chain. The Flash will then perfectly manage the clock to send FG Pion to his second touchdown of the game which will seal the score of the meeting (41-31).
The Flash will therefore challenge the Blue Stars of Marseille next week for the semi-finals of this D1 Elite championship. A marathon which therefore continues for the Ile-de-France residents who will then continue with the final of the European Cup against the Black Panthers during the weekend of June 24.