Franco-Cité Falcons looking to soar football program

On September 8th, the Franco Cité Falcons High School football team of the French Catholic School board in Ottawa were invited to play in the New York State Kickoff Classic in Syracuse, New York at the Carrier Dome.

With only 6 practices under their belt, the Falcons were a last minute replacement, as Oswego High School which decided two weeks ago not to field a varsity team this season.


It was a great opportunity for the players from Ottawa to play in the Carrier dome vs. New Hartford Public School. In fact, Franco played in a football Jamboree the week prior in Ogdensburg, New York, which allowed them the luxury to adapt to the American Football rules. New Hartford won the game 40-7, but the experience our players took away from this game will be something they can talk about the rest of their lives.

Furthermore, the Falcons will be traveling to Watertown, New York this Friday night, September 9th to play Indian River High School during their Friday Night Lights. This will be Franco Cité third visit to the United States in only 3 weeks to play U.S. competition before they get their season going the week of September 19th.

We sat down with the Head Coach of the Franco Cite Falcons Paul Denis and ask him a few questions about the Falcons football program.

Franco Cite Q&A with Head Coach Paul Denis (Teacher)

CFC Question: How’s the Football development program going on at Franco Cite?

Coach Paul Denis: Football development is going good at Franco. From day one our program was about staying connected with school and have school success via football.  It’s an ongoing process,  but we are getting close to where we want to be  in terms of player development, personal development and  a positive football culture.   We have made great strides in the past two years.

CFC Question: How many teams or program does Franco have for the upcoming season?

Coach Paul Denis: For the 2016-17 school year, we will have a junior and senior program.  Our junior program runs with our 8th and 9th grade students and plays in the RSEQ Outaouai football league. Our senior program groups our 10th to 12th grade students and plays the regular season within the NCSSAA league.

CFC Question: How did your teams do in the fall of 2015?

Coach Paul Denis: The 2015 season was pretty good.  With both our team we had great buy in from the players. The team demonstrated resilience, grit, and adaptability. Like all team we had to overcome adversity. They stayed positive and enjoyed their growth opportunity.  On the field the junior team finished in 1st place  with a perfect record and the senior team also in first place with one loss. Both with RSEQ Outaouais.

CFC Question: What is the status of Franco Cite Football for the fall of 2016 or the junior and senior program?

Coach Paul Denis: Our status is all systems go… I would consider our selve to be a healthy program that is still young and growing.   We will be working hard to build on our succès from this past season.  We have full rosters of students-athletes that share a common goal to improve in sport and in life via football.

CFC Question: We hear Franco Cite is playing American teams in exhibition games this season? How did this opportunity present itself?

Coach Paul Denis: Yes this year our senior team will be trying something new and discover what football is like outside of Canada.  This came about quite strangely.  After it had been decided that your senior team would be returning to NCSSAA in fall 2016 we were looking at diffrent way to guarantee our team around 8 games + playoff.  We had contacted many different teams and leagues in Ontario and Québec to create partnerships for long term pre season exhibition and we did not get any positive responses.  So we opened our search radius and ended up creating a partnership New York State football.  We hope this will be a great development and cultural experience  New York state player and our players.   We are very thankful for New York State football’s openness to trying something different.

CFC Question: Who are the teams you will be facing at the Jamboree and which team are you playing in an exhibition game on Sept 9th?

Coach Paul Denis: On August 27 we will be playing in a Jamboree format, Ogdensburg Free Academy, Franklin Academy and Watertown High School. On September 9th, We will be heading to Indian River Public High School for a friday night light game.

CFC Question: How does the team feel about playing US Schools?

Coach Paul Denis: Obviously everyone is a little nervous and anxious.  There are a lot of ’what if’ questions. Which is normal when you are faced with something new.  All in all very I believe everyone is enthusiastic about the opportunity.

CFC Question: Do you feel this will be something Franco will want to explore down the road by playing more US schools in the future?

Coach Paul Denis: We haven’t gone that far yet.  I really like our partnership with New York State football  to complement our NCSSAA schedule.  Right now I don’t see us playing more then that.  I strongly believe we have great football in the Ottawa and Gatineau area and what we do in here is as good or comparable to what they do in the New York State.

CFC Question: Franco Cite has played in the Quebec High School league in the Outaouais region the last few years, how was your experience?

Coach Paul Denis: It was a great experience. We truly liked it.  Our junior team still plays vs Québec High school. RSEQ Outaouais is a very strong well structured league.  It’s 4 down, heads up football with 15 minutes quarters.  With the 4 downs you get less special teams, more offensive and defensive reps for positional development and more passing possibilities.

CFC Question: Where is Franco Cite playing in the fall of 2016?

Coach Paul Denis: Junior team will be playing RSEQ Outaouais and Senior team NCSSAA

CFC Question: Does Franco Cite still have an off season training program for players and how has that helped in their development?

Coach Paul Denis: Absolutely. I think it is one of our strength.  We work our agility, speed, power flexibility and endurance with a specialized periodized off season program. We are in  either in the weight room, in the gym or in class. For our speed training we have one of our former player who has developed into a big track athlete Iseah Montgiroud that helps our player. When spring rolls around we work with Cegep de l’Outaouais and others for positional development.

CFC Question: Franco Cite has been back in the Ottawa football scene since 2009, how many of your graduating players have developed and are they playing at the next level?

Coach Paul Denis: We have Randy Watton, Jamahl Charles, Cody Ullet, Josué Mbangu, Kevin Bois,  Nicolas Lortie, Jean Dieujuste, Prennel Cavé,  Smith Léandre, Kevin Bofossa,  Alain Cimankinda, Connor Rockwell, Connor Davis, Kris D’Ambrosio, Sergio Kapdé  and Dan Basambombo to name a few.  I’m sure I forgot some. It’s something we enjoy seeing. It’s part of our program but not the main focal point of the program.  We have so many good players and especially good people, to many to name,  that have played football for us,  graduated from Franco-Cité and have continued beyond school football to do great things other than football.

CFC Question: Who are some of the Franco Cite players CEGEP coaches should be looking at playing at the CIS, CEGEP or Junior Football League next season?

Coach Paul Denis: We have a good group of graduating players this year.  I’m not 100% sure what they’re playing intentions are for next year but I’m sure by mid-season will will know where everybody stands.

  • Maleek Ekumba-Quinta WR and DB
  • Philippe Plourde DB
  • Stefan Tibu DB
  • Ernest Ermilus DE, OL and OLB
  • Marc Haddad OL and interior DL
  • Jaafar Rida OL and interior DL
  • Lion-Ard’eau Lymontard, QB WB, LB and DB
  • David Purchase DE, OLB and FB
  • Nicolas Abou-Assi LB and FB
  • Gaido Gracia WR
  • Terron Tulloch FB, LB and TE


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