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Baumholder looking to at least double win total

Phillip Loyd, Baumholder's head football coach, gives his players instructions during practice in Baumholder, Germany, on Monday, Aug. 28, 2017.

MICHAEL B. KELLER/STARS AND STRIPES

By GREGORY BROOME | STARS AND STRIPES Published: September 2, 2017

Fifth in a series of DODEA-Europe high school football previews.

The preseason is usually a time of optimism in sports, and that holds true at Baumholder’s 2017 football camp. But the optimism here is more pragmatic than exuberant, a fitting approach for a proud program still looking to establish itself as a significant DODEA-Europe Division II presence.

While other teams entertain playoff and championship aspirations, head coach Phillip Loyd said the Bucs have set a more reasonable goal to achieve first.

“Our fundamental goal is the same - to win more than one game,” Loyd said. “Once we get to that level...we can talk about playoffs.”

Baumholder appeared poised to meet that goal last season after handling Aviano 44-34 in its non-conference season opener. But a tougher conference schedule and a costly injury to explosive playmaker Nate Horton helped keep the Bucs in the Division II basement for another season.

A returning, healthy Horton gives Baumholder a fighting chance to do better in 2017.

The senior is one of Europe’s premier multi-sport athletes - notably, he’s the reigning DODEA-Europe champion in the long jump - and his breakaway speed and elusiveness makes him a big-play threat any time the ball is in his hands.

To that end, the idea is to put the ball in his hands as much as possible. For now, that means snapping the ball straight into them.

Horton will play quarterback for the Bucs, though Loyd recognizes wideout is a “more natural fit” for a player of Horton’s particular gifts. The lack of an experienced alternative at quarterback means Horton must primarily play there to maximize his impact. 

“We reconfigure the offense based on the talent we have,” Loyd said.

That’s what it comes down to for Baumholder this fall. If this group can raise its game, the program can raise its expectations.

broome.gregory@stripes.com

Twitter: @broomestripes

The Baumholder football team runs drills during practice in Baumholder, Germany, on Monday, Aug. 28, 2017.
MICHAEL B. KELLER/STARS AND STRIPES

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