Returning players eager to get Huskies back on track

ADAM SHINDER/THE LEADER-HERALD Gloversville football coach James Robare gives instructions during practice on Monday, Aug. 23 at Park Terrace Elementary School.

By Adam Shinder

The Leader-Herald

GLOVERSVILLE — Just getting onto the field proved difficult for the Gloversville Huskies during their rescheduled “Fall II” football season this past March and April.

Not only was the season delayed for months due to restrictions related to the novel coronavirus pandemic, but COVID-related quarantines and protocols also led to what was supposed to be a six-game spring season for the Huskies being shortened to just three games — all losses.

It wasn’t easy, Gloversville coach James Robare said, but the team toughed it out.

“It was a tough battle, with quarantine and moving kids around, only having a varsity team and no [JV] feeder program,” Robare said. “Numbers were great, sidelines were always full, and I was pleased — not so much with the results, but the way the kids handled themselves with what’s been going on with COVID and the pandemic.”

Turning around four months later with another season set to open Sept. 3 with a “Week 0” game against archrival Johnstown, the Huskies are hoping that a more normal atmosphere will allow the team to turn some of the building blocks they laid during that disrupted spring season into some actual results this fall.

“It was a short offseason,” Huskies fullback and linebacker John Heimer said. “We’re still in shape.”

“I’m happy with where we’re at right now,” Robare said. “It’s nice to be out here again with the boys and the coaches — and that’s for everybody in America.”

A well-attended offseason program and continuity in the team’s corps of skill position players allowed Gloversville to pick things back up pretty quickly when they opened practice Monday at Park Terrace Elementary School.

The offense shouldn’t skip a beat, Robare said, with Garrett Dooling back at quarterback to run the show once again.

Heimer and halfback Kyle Robare return to join Dooling in the backfield, with a deep group of returning receivers including Gio Glionna, Simon Bruce, Brett Rulison, Nick Bradt, Brady Renda and Dominic Dorman.

“I don’t think we lost a receiver, running back, anyone,” Dooling said. “We have all of our skill guys back, and we know we can throw the ball. The chemistry’s there, and it’s still building.”

“We have a lot of guys returning,” Glionna said. “With such a short spring, we had a lot of guys who didn’t play, but a lot of guys who did play are returning and starting. If we can keep building that chemistry, I think we’ll do great.”

Glionna, at 6-foot-4 and 255 pounds, is a potential matchup nightmare for opponents at both tight end and defensive end.

“If he can get his body in between the quarterback and his defender,” James Robare said, “they’re going to have problems.”

And Glionna isn’t the only player on the Gloversville roster with size to spare.

The Huskies will be young in the trenches, Robare said, but they’ll be able to stand toe-to-toe with any of their Section II Class B opponents.

As that group matures, he said, Gloversville can begin to put the pieces together and move forward.

“We’ve got some big, big boys,” Robare said. “These kids really worked hard in the offseason here in the weight room with us, these younger lineman.

“I expect a little bit better things from everybody that’s returning.”

By Paul Wager