Vilseck, down in numbers, vows to 'hold our own'
By MARTIN EGNASH | STARS AND STRIPES Published: September 2, 2017
Eighth in a series of DODEA-Europe high school football previews.
VILSECK, Germany – Vilseck’s head coach Jim Hall returns for his 10th year to lead the Falcons through another season, though a sharp drop in numbers might give them a rocky start.
Vilseck went 4-2 last year, losing in the semifinals to the Wiesbaden Warriors. That strong season was helped in part by a large pool of 75 players. This year, the Falcons are going into the season with less than 50 players to split between varsity and junior varsity.
The lack of numbers presents problems during practice.
“It’s hard when you don’t have enough high-level players going against each other during practice,” Hall said. “It’s going to be tough. But I think we can hold our own and play strong.”
The core of 10 veteran returning players is a plus. They developed a workout program in the off-season, and most returnees attended football camp in the summer. Students also are heading an effort to recruit new players while they still have time.
“Our returning players are really helping the team along,” assistant coach David Nichols said. “They’re leading by example to our newer players, and they are inspiring new players to join.”
With a recent influx of new players, Nichols has found a silver lining of raw talent in some newcomers.
“You never know what you’ve got when you get new players,” Nichols said. “We’ve had some great practices recently.”
Vilseck’s fullbacks Roman Rosas and Dylan Burns, as well as linebacker Juan Oestereich, will give the Falcons hard hitting power, which could make up for their lack of numbers.
“We’re going to play hard, play tough and play to the whistle,” Hall said. “My goal is to make the playoffs.”