Division II-North


2002 record: 1-5 regular season, 1-5 overall

Head coach: Greg Blankenship (2nd season at AFNORTH)

Returning starters:Offense 3, defense 7.

Players to watch: RB Ryan Butler (All-Europe '02), LB Kai Artero, OG Eddie Roberts, TE Mike Wigley, QB Bryent Blankenship, RB Zach Martin, DT Brian Hogan, NG Eric Eide, WR Jon Saeteurn.

Prominent pluses: Strong offensive line to clear way for Butler, whom Blankenship asserts is faster and stronger than last season. Blankenship also strong on revived play-action passing game under direction of new offensive coordinator Jeff Hammond.

Home field: Next to high school.

Bitburg Barons

2002 record: 3-3 regular season, 3-3 overall.

Head coach: Rik Carr (25th season at Bitburg)

Returning starters: Offense 3, defense 3.

Players to watch: OT-DT Randy Van Ginkel, OG-DT Justin Cole, TE-LB Anthiny Fornicola, OG-DT Chris Eubanks (European discus champion).

Prominent plus: Offensive and defensive lines, according to Carr, who cites inexperience elsewhere, including QB, where strong-armed sophomore B.J. Phillips left to hone his NCAA Division I potential at Spring Valley H.S. in Columbia, S.C.

Home field: Next to high school

International School of Brussels Raiders

2002 record: 6-0 regular season, II-North champions, 8-0 overall, European D-2 champions.

Head coach: Rob Stewart (9th season at ISB)

Returning starters: Offense 4, defense 3.

Players to watch: RB Matt Gett (All-Europe '02), RB Matt Merritt (all-conference '02), WR Joe Rosen, OL-DL Ian Beamon, DE Alex Davey-Thompson, DL Dan Kubis.

Prominent plus: Young team - 10 seniors graduated - will rely on talented veterans in attempt to extend DODDS-Europe best 11-game winning streak while chasing third straight European crown.

Home field: Next to high school.

Mannheim Bison

2002 record: 4-2 regular season, 4-3 overall.

Head coach: Burt Blank (25th season at Mannheim; 12th as head coach)

Returning starters: Offense 5, defense 2.

Players to watch: QB Scot Kinnersly, C Chris Camron (All-Europe '02), RB Eric Mayfield, OG Jeff Bowlan, OT Kyle Betts, WR Matt Brown, WR Ed Williams, RB Andre Parker.

Prominent plus: “Line looks solid,” said Blank, who welcomes back WR Gary Smalls who missed all last season with broken wrist.

Home field: Woods Field, behind BFV Sports Arena.

SHAPE Spartans

2002 record: 4-2 regular season, 4-3 overall.

Head coach: Kregg Kappenman (3rd season at SHAPE)

Returning starters: Offense 4, defense 4.

Players to watch: QB Ryan Rice, RB Brandon Glenn, WR Joe Puttman, WR Marcel Reeves, RB-LB Bryan Farthing, OL Grant Essad (All-Europe '02), OL-LB Richard Rendon, DB Doug O'Meara, DL Demetri Jones, C-Matt Anderson.

Prominent plus: Rice, two-time top QB choice at Bitburg summer camp, will have top-notch receiving corps, according to Kappenman. They'll be led by bigger and stronger 6-8 Puttman and Reeves. Kappenman also cites "great crop of football volunteers" to bring experience to position coaching.

Home field: SHAPE Headquarters athletic field.

Division II-South

Aviano Saints

2002 record: 3-3 regular season, 3-4 overall

Head coach: Ken McNeely (30th season at Aviano)

Returning starters: Offense 2, defense 3

Players to watch: C Brian Beale (all-conference '02), DB Mikel Fair, LB-FB James Scott, RB-LB Dustin Miller, DE Michael Auchey.

Prominent plus: Rotation-gutted Saints will rely on Aviano's competitive tradition while young players gel, according to McNeely, as Saints return to Division II despite D-3 enrollment of 271 pupils.

Home field: Flight line at air base.

Hanau Panthers

2002 record: 0-6 regular season, 0-6 overall

Head coach: Ken Edwards (4th season at Hanau)

Returning starters: Offense 3, defense 3.

Players to watch: RB Robert Scott, FB Jose Agosto, TE Chris Kramer (all-conference '02), OL-LB Mike Garcia.

Prominent plus: “We're going to be able to run," Edwards said, "and both inside linebackers are back" to carry load while small, young Panthers look for a quarterback and develop as a team.

Home field: Next to the high school.

Naples Wildcats

2002 record: 6-0 regular season (II-South champion), 7-1 overall (European runner-up)

Head coach: James Hall (3rd season at Naples)

Returning starters: Offense 8, defense 8.

Players to watch: QB Alfonso Tafour, CB-RB Jeremy Joseph (All-Europe '02), RB-CB Emmanuel Jinks, C-DE Rashawn Lynch, FB-LB Matt Briegel, DT-OT Paul Briegel, DT-OT Matt Budyka, FB-DE Chris Guanzon, OT-DT Josh Teeples, WB-LB Tim Tezza, WR-S Nate Tenorio, WR-S Mark Puryear.

Prominent plus: Experience provided by 28 returnees from last season's 44-player squad, according to Hall.

Home field: Next to high school.

Patch Panthers

2002 record: 2-4 regular season, 2-4 overall

Head coach: Billy Henry (2nd season at Patch)

Returning starters: Offense 7, defense 8.

Players to watch: RB David Kennedy (fastest back, 4.6 40, at Bitburg camp), QB J.D. Lindsay, FB Josh Rohr, RB Blair Wagner.

Prominent plus: "Commitment," according to Henry. Young players tempered in fire last season "focused on doing something more than just winning a couple of games."

Home field: Panzer casern. New field at Patch not yet ready.

Vilseck Falcons

2002 record: 2-4 regular season, 2-4 overall

Head coach: Tim Connolly (10th season at Vilseck)

Returning starters: Offense 3, defense 3

Players to watch: QB Anthony Levasseur (3-year starter), OG Finley Hall, transfer FB-LB Kevin Mennola, transfer RB Monsell Cartey.

Prominent plus: "Not huge, but not small" Falcons will lean on core of 14 athletic players, according to Connolly. "We have a lot of people with skill. They can catch the ball and have good body control. They're going to be the ones out there who are going to move, going to block, and arrive where they're going ahead of the other guy."

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