The defending French champion 1-0 Thonon Black Panthers will play their home opener Saturday, February 15 when they host the 0-1 Aix-en-Provence Argonautes.
Thonon opened the season with a resounding 55-14 victory over the newly-promoted Catalan Grizzlys two weeks ago while the Argonautes were whipped 50-12 score by the Marseille Blue Stars.
These two teams faced each other twice in 2019 with Thonon manhandling the Argonautes 51-0 in the first game and shutting them out 18-0 the second time out.
In that opening game win two weeks ago, Black Panthers quarterback Clark Evans, the 2019 French league MVP, completed 25 of 32 passes for 355 yards and five touchdowns and ran for another 98 yards and a major score and was named Game MVP. Wide receiver Titouan Billard caught seven passes for 127 yards and two touchdowns and Damien Di Cursi had three receptions for 73 yards and another two touchdowns. Exavier Edwards caught the fifth touchdown pass from Evans and added another two on the ground for Thonon. Di Cursi kicked six of seven PATs as well. Linebacker Anthony Cheron led a ferocious Black Panthers defense recording six tackles and five quarterback sacks!
In other words, Thonon was clicking on all cylinders.
In the Argonautes loss to Marseille, quarterback Jason Gaines actually had a decent day, throwing for 193 yards and two touchdowns with wide receiver Micael Bouttin catching one scoring pass and Gregory Castinel hauling in the other. But as a team Aix-en-Provence rushed for a total of 19 yards and the defense gave up six touchdowns, four two-point conversions, and two field goals.
This could be a long evening for the Argonauts unless Gaines can give them a spark and the front seven can keep Evans in check. He led the French league in rushing in 2019 so he is a constant threat.
Watch the game live here. Aix-en-Provence Argonautes @Thonon Black Panthers, Sat. Feb. 15, 7p CET (1p ET)