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Thirteenth in a series of glimpses at high school football camps around Europe.

A year ago, AFNORTH and Brussels were on the verge of obsolescence thanks to insufficient roster numbers. Instead of seeing both small programs fold, DODEA-Europe approved a late-breaking merger. The combined team was largely overmatched that fall, but did taste victory once in a 30-21 defeat of Baumholder.

This fall, the two schools seem more comfortable in their unusual but mutually-beneficial situation. Brussels’ Tim Mobley and AFNORTH’s Greg Blankenship co-coach the team, with Brussels’ Tim Como serving as the offensive coordinator. The combined team’s roster isn’t robust by any stretch, but at 24 players, it enjoys something of a depth chart. The squad has even enjoyed multiple joint practices prior to its Sept. 10 opener.

With those logistical issues settled, AFNORTH/Brussels can happily focus on improving its on-field fortunes. The team has some key pieces in place. Sophomore Tim McDaniel is a promising quarterback with a solid set of receivers at his flanks. Hard-charging running back Dominick DeFazio gives the offense another dimension. And the team has some heft in the trenches, particularly in senior Oleksandr Orativskyil.

Despite all that, AFNORTH/Brussels still has little room for error. The team is confident in its ability to produce on offense, but they’ll have to be particularly prolific if the thin defense fails to hold. And any injuries or other attrition would put inexperienced freshmen in line for key snaps.

Still, these are issues DODEA-Europe football coaches are accustomed to tackling. And compared to the existential crisis these two schools faced a year ago, they’re the kind of problems AFNORTH and Brussels are happy to have.

Stripes in 7

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