Carmel football players help American team defeat French in exhibition matchup
PARIS, FRANCE – A select group of U.S. high school seniors from eighteen different states organized by American Football Worldwide traveled to France and defeated their country’s defending Under-19 national championship team 49-0 on March 29 in La Courneuve, France, a suburb of Paris.
Eight different players registered points for the AFW USA ELITE squad.
After being stopped on their first offensive drive, AFW USA ELITE’s defense jump-started the scoring. Linebacker Tucker Van Dyke leveled the Flash quarterback causing an errant throw that was picked off by Ryan Sondles of Carmel High School who then scampered 22 yards for a touchdown springing the USA squad to a 6-0 lead.
After the Flash was held to a three and out, a short punt gave AFW USA ELITE favorable field position. Logan Hutson ripped off two double-digit gains and a play later Jared Dillingham scampered 15 yards for the offense’s first score forging the US team to a 12-0 lead.
The AFW USA ELITE defense turned back the Flash offensive attack with another three and out as the front of Jack Schroeder, Nick Bucciarelli, Vic Roe of Carmel High School and Jared Wright dominated the line of scrimmage.
On their next offensive possession on third and six, Zak Bennett found Geno Quaid down the middle seam for a 50-yard scoring strike. Logan Lambert added the extra point to increase the lead to 19-0.
An eighteen-yard punt return and later a first down reception by Aaron Vargas put the ball on the Paris Flash five yard-line early in the second quarter. Two plays later Logan Hutson found pay dirt making the score 26-0 after the kick conversion.
On the Flash’s next possession Michael Gilson broke through creating a big tackle for loss. A few plays later the Flash choose to go for it on 4th down and Jordan Casses was up to the task with the pass break-up returning possession to AFW USA ELITE.
Subsequently, Jared Dillingham powered for a red zone 4th down pick-up and a few plays later Zak Bennett threw his second touchdown finding Aaron Vargas just inside the end line from eight-yards out. Another Logan Lambert extra-point made the score 33-0 as the first half came to a close.
In the second half, AFW’S ELITE defense continued their domination. After forcing another punt without yielding a first down, Logan Hutson contributed two first down runs. Moments later Lorenzo James impressed the crowd with his elusive 23-yard touchdown scamper.
After the subsequent kick-off a huge sack by Jesse Adams pinned the Flash inside their five yard-line. Following a punt, the USA team had a short field with which to work. Lorenzo James contributed another big run to inside the five-yard line. Lorenzo Warren then worked his way into the flat for a four-yard touchdown reception, the final of three touchdown tosses by Zak Bennett.
On the next offensive possession, Logan Lambert kicked a career long 46-yard field goal to conclude the AFW USA ELITE scoring at 49-0.
Combining the defensive personnel mentioned above, the team speed of Tristan Allen. Nick Johnson, Mitch Davis of Carmel High School, Dan Fabiniak, Brady McDowell, Zach Bailey and Leif Nedweski, left it such that the Paris Flash could not move the football.
On offense, the line of Ben Hartman, Montana Fuller, James Palmeri, Dale Russ, Errind Blanco, Ebraham Salem, Tyler Sturgill and fullback Anthony Joliat controlled the line of scrimmage. Ben Lawrence at tight end contributed with his blocking and a big 30-yard reception as well.
Daniel Praet who injured his knee earlier in the week during practice took the final snap. Daniel along with Zak Bennett, Geno Quaid and Jared Dillingham served as honorary captains for the coin toss.
After the game the Flash football club of Paris, celebrating it’s 30 year anniversary, provided food and drink for the players of both teams. USA players gave gifts from their high schools or nearby colleges to various French players. Some social time provided an opportunity for competitors to exchange information to continue international friendships forged through American football.
The international friendly competition came at the end of a week of educational touring for 34 student-athletes and over two dozen family members. Tour highlights included visiting various sites in Paris, Versailles, Normandy and the historical sites associated with D-Day as well. While in Normandy, AFW USA ELITE co-practiced with over 50 young men who are playing American football in that province.