American Football International

2015 PREVIEW: Belgium’s Flemish American Football League (FAFL)

[tps_title]Preview: Belgian American Football[/tps_title]

The Belgian season kicks off February 15 as the reigning champion Ghent Gators will take on the Leuven Lions, who finished out of the playoffs in 2014.

This is a preview of the FAFL (Flemish American Football League).

A preview of the LFFAB (Ligue Francophone de Football Americain de Belgique – French Belgian League) will be available once we have all needed information.

We have a full set of previews for each team competing in Belgium’s top league.

Just click next above or below to check them out!

Click NEXT to meet the teams! ——->

[tps_title]Preview: Belgian American Football[/tps_title]

[tps_header]Ghent Gators[/tps_header]

Roald Piqueur is head coach of the Ghent Gators and hopes to return to the title game after capturing the first Belgian championship crown in club history in 2014, beating the Brussels Tigers 38-0.

Quarterback Bart Killens returns and will be protected by Belgium’s top offensive line – Christophe Demeyer, Tom Ragaert, Rogier Depreitere, Yorick Piqueur and Jean-Yves Steenhout. Killens has a set of great receivers in Thomas Lezy, and Stef Defour.

They enter this season with a target on their backs as defending champions. They are well aware of this but they will not change their philosophy that football has to be fun but execution has to be perfect.

Piquer’s coaching staff includes offensive coordinator Pauwel Depreitere and wide receivers coach Jelle Van Melder.

[tps_title]Preview: Belgian American Football[/tps_title]

[tps_header]Leuven Lions[/tps_header]

Jo Decoster, a former lineman, is stepping up to replace Kevin Marcoen as head coach (Marcoen will stay as defensive coordinator) of the Lions. Decoster has been an assistant coach of the Lions junior squad as well as the seniors for many years. Tim De Winter assumes the reins as offensive coordinator.

The team is in a stage of rebuilding as many veterans have recently retired and players from the junior team are stepping in. Nevertheless, Leuven has experience. On offense Coach Decoster will rely on Andrew Rubinstein (a converted cornerback) at quarterback but both Ewout van der Borght and Sebastiaan Coppenholle will also rotate at quarterback. Decoster expects fierce competition for game minutes at that position. They will have the power running of Jonas Van Vlasselaer at running back while Kobe Craeninckx is a wily veteran receiver who loves physical play.

On defense two national team players, cornerback Levi Geerts and linebacker Marco Gulisano will carry the load as Gulisano also doubles as a center. Add to this Arno Smets  a transfer from the Brussels Black Angels who has been converted from corner to strong safety and the Lions have a hard-hitting defensive secondary.

[tps_title]Preview: Belgian American Football[/tps_title]

[tps_header]Puurs Titans[/tps_header]

Tom van Put has taken the reins as head coach of the Titans after spending the last four years as defensive coordinator. They finished the 2014 season with a 3-5 record and out of the playoffs.

They hope do improve on this in 2015 are are looking to the offensive line to be much better. Running back Darnhell Kabongo is a key on offense.

Defensively, Coach Put is hoping for a major improvement after a subpar 2015. He will rely on defensive captains Ben Van Goethem and Ken Meersmans to carry much of the load.

With an influx of young players from the junior squad, the team is hoping that the veterans will be able to help mold them into the team unit.

[tps_title]Preview: Belgian American Football[/tps_title]

[tps_header]Limburg Shotguns[/tps_header]

Head Coach Timothy Desaedeleire of the Shotguns enters the 2015 season with a rebuilt offensive line led by national team left tackle Hans Gijsel. Rob Hermans returns at quarterback. Desaedeleire is adamant on improving on last year’s record and aims to break the .500 mark in 2015.

The Shotguns have brought in Kevin Jonckers at running back to further reinforce the offense.

Limburg’s veteran defense will carry the team and it is anchored by national team defensive tackle Seppe Claes.

[tps_title]Preview: Belgian American Football[/tps_title]

[tps_header]Brussels Black Angels[/tps_header]

The Brussels Black Angels reached the Flemish semifinals in 2014 and finished the year with a 7-3 record after losing to the Brussels Tigers.

Head Coach Romuald Derys has returned and will again rely on quarterback Thomas Bouron who can also double as wide receiver.

On defense, safety Hadrien Godichal combines with defensive end Reda Vranken along with linebackers Nicolas Delaisse and Benjamin Dosunmu to make up one of the best defensive squads in Belgium.

[tps_title]Preview: Belgian American Football[/tps_title]

[tps_header]Izegem Tribes[/tps_header]

Willem Demuynck as sports director of the Izegem Tribes has assembled a coaching staff and oversees the operation of the team. Dale Housden has been appointed offensive coordinator and Wim Vanmarcke who is also the starting middle linebacker also serves as defensive coordinator.

The team has added quarterback Lukas Vojnar, Czech Republic national team quarterback. Roland Gavi will be entering his third year as starting running back and has added explosion to his game. Rookie receiver Pieter-jan Beyls is expected to show off his dazzling talents this season. The offensive line is anchored by 10 year veteran Jeroen Vanhauwere who is recognized as one of the top lineman in the country. Vanmarcke is a tackling machine and is joined on defense by defensive end Cederic Veryser.

[tps_title]Preview: Belgian American Football[/tps_title]

[tps_header]Ostend Pirates[/tps_header]

Frederik George is the head coach of the three year old Ostend Pirates. He leads a team with some valuable experience and were not far from defeating the Ghent Gators and playing in the championship. In fact, they were the only team to defeat the Gators, doing to in regular season play.

Veteran quarterback Benedict Vermaut returns and will be joined with defensive tackle Stijn Dossche, who returns from playing for the Marburg Mercenaries in the German first division.

Young talent includes linebacker Nick Vanhee and defensive end Tibo Debaillie Vanhee who spent two years under the tutelage of Steve Quinn and FBU while Debaillie, who is 17,  is known as one of the finest young linemen in Belgium. Add linebacker Arno Casteleyn, tight end Jorge Alfonso and the Pirates may well be able to challenge the Gators for the FAFL title.

This will be Coach George’s first season strictly on the sidelines in 15 years. He played running back and linebacker while coaching and decided this year to focus solely on coaching.

[tps_title]Preview: Belgian American Football[/tps_title]

[tps_header]Antwerp Diamonds[/tps_header]

The Antwerp Diamonds hope to rebound from their worst season ever  finishing winless at 0-8. Many of the veteran players retired at the end of the 2012 season after losing the Belgium Bowl that year. After finishing 3-5 the following season more of the veterans hung up their cleats which led to the disastrous 2014 season.

Head coach John Jolie is optimistic. The club has moved from the outskirts of Antwerp after 25 years, to the downtown core, making it more attractive to players. Cody Butler, who assumed the starting quarterback role last year returns and will also take on the offensive coordinator’s duties. Butler played at South Dakota. Running back Nils De Groef gives the Diamonds a power backfield and in fact he was invited to a national team tryout.

Marco Karmidi is the defensive coordinator and will rely on veteran linebacker Sergio Borra. Borra is 43 but will also start at fullback.  Other players to watch include defensive lineman Gilles Pierre and defensive back Isaac lufungula.