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Europe's newest team has familiar feel

Mike Laue, Spangdahlem's head football coach, talks with his players during practice at Spangdahlem Air Force Base, Germany, on Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017.

MICHAEL B. KELLER/STARS AND STRIPES

By GREGORY BROOME | STARS AND STRIPES Published: September 6, 2017

Twelfth in a series of DODEA-Europe high school previews.

DODEA-Europe’s newest football team hails from one of its most storied programs.

The Bitburg Barons, former dynasty and perennial contender in Division II football, are now the Spangdahlem Sentinels, making a short-haul move from their closing former outpost to the fast-growing base one on which their new high school is still being constructed.

The move has inevitably affected Spangdahlem’s preseason preparations, head coach Mike Laue said. But with the season fast approaching, the Sentinels are ready to build on the Barons’ long legacy of gridiron excellence.

“The kids have adjusted,” Laue said. “It doesn’t bother them.”

Furthermore, Spangdahlem has a lot of on-field stability to counteract this time of upheaval.

Standout quarterback Eli Canaan is back under center, orchestrating an offense that scored at least 29 points in every game of Bitburg’s 5-1 regular season.

And the Sentinels have the makings of the same kind of deep, diverse backfield that carried the Barons to annual success and became a defining feature of the program’s hard-nosed style. Incumbents Javian Rouse, Jimmie Montgomery and Deon Montgomery headline this year’s group of running backs.

Also still intact is Laue’s unassuming, stoic approach to another fresh football season. Even a dip in numbers that left a 25-player roster couldn’t perturb the stalwart coach.

“We’ve got enough. We can put 11 on the field with a few subs once in a while,” Laue said. “We think we’re going to be competitive, but you never know.”

The winning tradition of the Bitburg Barons suggests that the Spangdahlem Sentinels will be very competitive. Even as drastic change swirls around this program, the product on the field looks very familiar.

broome.gregory@stripes.com

Twitter: @broomestripes

The Spangdahlem football team runs plays during practice at Spangdahlem Air Force Base, Germany, on Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017.
MICHAEL B. KELLER/STARS AND STRIPES

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