Fields of glory

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Rusty Frank
  • 52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

"The battles we go through in life, we ask for a chance that's fair, a chance to do or dare, if we should win let it be by the code. Faith and honor held on high, if we should lose, we'll stand by the road, and cheer as the winners go by, day by day we get better and better, til' we can't be beat ... Won't be beat!"-Creed of Barons Football

The 2014 season started for the Bitburg Middle-High School Barons football after their historic defeat in the 2013 Department of Defense Dependent Schools in Europe playoffs. That defeat ended a 36-game winning streak and ruined the team's dreams of being champions for a fifth consecutive year.

"It was a little bit different because we hadn't lost for the length of time that we had," said Mike Laue, Bitburg Barons football team head coach. "But we still address everything the same as we did before. We take one step at a time, one game at a time, and we never pay attention to anything else and our plan is to always win the game that we are coming to. We don't dwell on losses or wins, we just keep moving forward."



The Barons began training for the upcoming 2014 season by finding every opportunity to get into football shape.

"The off season is usually filled with opening the weight room at lunch and after school for any of the football players," said Terrance Hoffman, Bitburg Barons football assistant coach.


In the late summer months, the Barons met again as a team to get back into thechampionship mindset that served them well for so long.

"We start getting the pads on and start getting into real football," Laue said. "We can start seeing how they make contact and connection to the game. We always go back to the basics, teach them to block, tackle, how to carry the football This is always the fun part when we get started."


The start of a new football season brings along a new school year as well.
"First of all, they are student athletes," Hoffman said. "To be able to be successful in playing high school athletics, they have to be successful as a student."


It's at the beginning of the season, when teams start out with equal records of 0-0, where goals for the year are set.

For the Barons, the beginning of every season brings along the dreams of playing football in late October and hoisting up a championship trophy by the beginning of November.

"The ultimate goal of the team is success," Hoffman said.

Hoffman also stated that success isn't just measured in winning; it's in watching how the players and the team grow from the very start of the year to the end.


The beginning of the season went according to the game plan for the Barons, starting out with a 32-8 home victory against Baumholder on Sept. 6, 2014.

"I think we have a good team," Hoffman said. "We have some young, inexperienced players who just need to get some playing time under their belts."

That success would carry over to the next game, which would turn into a road win against AFNORTH, with a score of 58-21.

However, their success would be short lived when the team suffered their first loss against the eventual 2014 Department of Defense Dependent Schools-Europe Division II football champions 50-8.


But like parents help their kids through tough times, the coaches do the same for their players. Through the leadership of the coaches, the team came together and pushed through adversity after losing the game.


After the loss to the Ansbach Cougars, the Barons rebounded with a resounding 36-6 victory during Homecoming weekend against Rota, giving the team a record of 3-1.

Up next, the Barons faced off against the team who knocked them out of the playoffs last year. Like last year, the Barons played with heart but fell short 36-32, ending their regular season with a record of three victories and two losses.

That was not part of the game plan; however, for the coaches, leading the team in the late fall into the playoffs was always part of the plan.

"Expect a great Bitburg football team this season," Hoffman said. "We have high expectations for our athletes, and I think that they are really going to come through."



On an unusually warm, foggy, sunny Saturday afternoon in October, the Barons kicked off the postseason as the second seed in their division in a home game pitted against the Vicenza Cougars.

"At the beginning you always get excited to get the game going," Hoffman said.


The game didn't start out the way the Barons expected. They fell behind 14-0 in the first half, but pulled it together, scoring 32 unanswered points in the second half.
"The first quarter was a bit deflating," Hoffman said.
The Barons dug back into the game by sticking to the plan, only to once again fall short late in the game losing by one point to end the team's dreams of a championship for the 2014 season.

"At the end it was a little bit heartbreaking," Hoffman said. "It was heartbreaking for me as a coach."

When they lost, Laue always the mentor to the student athletes, felt like he had let them down.

"I always think about what I could have done better," Laue said. "How could I have prepared them better? These are young men trying to learn a lot about themselves and about life."


Even though their season ended abruptly, the coaches thought their players should be happy with the success they had throughout the course of the season.

"They should be proud of the accomplishments that they did have on the football field," Hoffman said. "Their success as a football team and as individual players is based on how you play the game during the season."

Being a DoDDS-Europe school, the year-to-year future of the team remains uncertain for returning players.

"It's a unique place to be here in DoDDS and Bitburg," Laue said. "We probably know of eight or ten kids that we know are going to be here, at least for today."
Hoffman and Laue both agreed, whatever the future brings for next season, the goal will always remain the same for the Barons, which is to win a championship in November.