(Click here for a list of this year's All-Europe players, with statistics and comments from the coaches.)

(Click here for the Stars and Stripes pages (in PDF format) with stories about the team and photos of the players.)

It goes without saying that the 41 individuals, seven of them at two positions, selected for the 2004 DODDS All-Europe football team are the most accomplished players on the continent.

The players, selected by a panel of six high school coaches, are best exemplified by Heidelberg’s 255-pound junior lineman Brandon Simmons, picked for the second straight year as a two-way all-star.

But a rough survey of high school coaches, on and off the panel, uncovered a select few of the All-Europeans who made indelible impressions on their opponents.

They are players who, in the words of Menwith Hill’s Pete Resnick “rose above the cream” of the crop.

Start with Rota running back Joseph Casey.

“He maybe wasn’t the best runner we saw,” AFNORTH’s Greg Blankenship said, “but he did everything for them.

“We hit him with every kid on our team and he still gained 175 yards. When he was on defense, we made sure we hit him two or three times on every play. He never backed down, and when the game was over, he was the first to come over and shake everyone’s hand. He’s a true All-European.”

Backs such as Casey, the only 1,000-yard rusher on this year’s team with 1,027, weren’t confined to Division III. Paul Fry and Dan Villareal of Division I champion Wiesbaden drew the votes of several coaches, as did Philip Lipman of Division II runner-up International School of Brussels.

“Fry had a great year,” Ramstein coach Glenn Porter said. “He always had forward momentum. He always made at least three or four yards. He’s my kind of football player.”

Mannheim’s Burt Blank got his first look at Fry and Villareal in the Division I title game.

“Fry and Villareal didn’t want to lose,” Blank said. “They took the team on their shoulders. They would not go down.”

Lipman finally did go down, in a 31-0 loss to SHAPE in the Division II title game, but not before he impressed the onlookers.

“He’s a tough, tough, tough kid,” Ansbach’s Marcus George said of the 5-foot-10, 195-pound halfback who played quarterback for his team 20 percent of the time. “He knew exactly what he was doing out there at all times.”

Hanau’s Sam Cassou agreed.

“That kid is strong,” Cassou said. “He can run.”

When it came to running, none did it better than Ansbach tailback James Esters, who averaged just under 13 yards per carry last season, and Ansbach fullback Dameon Outley, who gained 16 yards every time he ran the ball.

“Those Ansbach backs were just awesome,” said Menwith Hill’s Resnick after seeing them combine for 361 yards in Ansbach’s 54-14 title game victory over Baumholder. It was the third straight European Division III title for Ansbach, which has won 24 consecutive games.

“To have a fullback with that kind of speed and power is amazing,” Resnick said. “He’d be a super tailback on any other team, and he’s playing behind an even faster guy.”

Much of the reason for all those Outley-Eesters yards is Ansbach’s All-Europe interior line — center Adam Golden and guards Mike Ewing and Dan Lozano.

“The Vicenza coach told me that when he saw Ewing and Lozano pull on the sweep,” George recalled, “he said, ‘It’s going to be a long day.’”

AFNORTH’s Blankenship added Ansbach tight end Russell Bailey to the mix. He was one of six Cougars — three of them two-way choices — to make All-Europe.

“We didn’t tackle Bailey all day,” Blankenship said. “He ran over our tacklers two or three times.”

Mannheim’s Blank, whose Bison had no success against Ansbach in a nonconference game during the season, also liked what he saw from Bailey, a repeater from last year’s team.

“Bailey does a lot of things right,” he said. “He always gets the key block on the outside. He never misses.”

Hanau running back Malcolm Lane, who averaged 7.2 yards per carry, attracted the attention of Jim Hall of Naples.

“He’s really quick,” Hall said. “He has quick feet and he’s really quick through the hole.”

Added Ken McNeely of Aviano, “[Lane is] very elusive in the open field. He’s shifty and he runs to grass well.”

McNeely also had praise for 6-6 defensive back Mark Pearyer of Naples, who came up with a team-record 10 interceptions this year.

“He’s a really nice back,” McNeely said of the player who came up with a late interception to rebuff Aviano’s upset bid. “He reads and closes to the football well. He knows where the football will be.”

Linebacker Richard Rendon of SHAPE drew raves from a coach who knows him all too well.

“He’s caused us problems for four years,” said Rob Stewart of International School of Brussels.

“He covers sideline to sideline, and when he steps into the hole, it’s plugged. He’s one of the best linebackers I’ve seen in my 10 years at ISB.”

Receivers Nick Trice of Heidelberg, one of two sophomores and two Trices on the team, and Brennon Relaford of Ramstein caught the eyes of several coaches.

“Trice beat us singlehandedly,” Ramstein’s Porter said of the Heidelberg sprint star whose senior brother T.J. made All-Europe at quarterback. “He only caught three passes, but all three went for touchdowns.”

Wiesbaden’s Steve Jewell and Kaiserslautern’s Clinton Robinson praised Relaford.

“He really sticks out in my mind,” Jewell said. “He made a couple of catches against us that were just phenomenal.”

Said Robinson of 6-4 Relaford, “He was like a man among boys from the wide receiver position.”

Trice’s fellow soph, Bamberg defensive lineman C.J. Battle, impressed Ansbach’s George. Battle is a 6-2, 220-pounder who moved after the season ended.

“He’s a very fine lineman,” said George, who also had kind words for Vicenza punter Patrick Bailey, the only player who came up with an answer to the Ansbach juggernaut this season.

“He’s the only kid all year,” George said of the 46-yard-per-boot Bailey, “who punted over our receiver’s head.”

All-Europe team,by the numbers

0— Freshmen selected.

1— Two-time, two-way selection: Brandon Simmons, Heidelberg.

2— Sophomores selected: C.J. Battle, Bamberg, and Nick Trice, Heidelberg.

3— Most two-way players from one team: (tie) Ansbach (James Esters, Dameon Outley, Adam Golden) and SHAPE (Joe Puttmann, Richard Rendon, Matt Anderson)

5— Slots filled by D-1 champion Wiesbaden.

6— Slots filled by D-1 runner-up Heidelberg.

7— Two-way players chosen: Ansbach and SHAPE trios plus Simmons of Heidelberg.

8— Slots filled by D-2 champion SHAPE.

9— Slots filled by D-3 champion Ansbach.

13— Juniors selected.

33— Seniors selected.

All-Europeselection panel

Marcus George, Ansbach; Jim Hall, Naples; Steve Jewell, Wiesbaden; Kregg Kappenman, SHAPE; Pete Resnick, Menwith Hill; Brad Shahan, Heidelberg.

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