GLENS FALLS — Tony Green insists that this is his last go-around with the Glens Falls Greenjackets.
At 49 — yes, he corrected earlier reports that he’s older — the veteran of nearly three decades of semipro football with the Jackets said he’s ready to hang up his cleats.
He’s said that before, of course, but this time he said he’s ready.
“I’m beat up, dog,” Green said. “My ankles are hurting. But I’m ready to go out on top.”
He will have that chance Saturday when the Greenjackets (5-3) host the Seaway Valley Venom for the Empire Football League championship. The game kicks off at 7 p.m. at East Field.
The Jackets and the Venom are the only two teams in the EFL this season. Three teams — citing concerns over teams not having enough players — defected to other leagues in June, but Glens Falls stood pat.
Glens Falls, which beat Massena-based Seaway Valley 47-0 and 34-20 during the regular season, is pursuing its first EFL title since 2004.
“The boys love football, they love being part of something special,” said Raymond Swann, the Jackets’ first-year head coach. “They wouldn’t care if they were the only team in the league. But we’re here for a championship.”
When Glens Falls and Seaway Valley last met on Sept. 16, the Jackets jumped out to a 28-0 third-quarter lead against a Venom team bolstered by an influx of players from other teams. However, the Venom battled back within 28-20, while the Jackets lost their composure and got sucked into verbal and shoving matches.
A late interception in the end zone by Brendon St. John led to an insurance touchdown by Tony DeLoatch to seal the Jackets’ victory.
“Earlier in the season, we beat them by a lot of points, and with that comes a little bit of overconfidence,” Swann said. “We got up early, the overconfidence set in and we let them get into our heads, and things turned the corner a little bit. But the boys huddled up, figured things out and finished the game.”
Swann made it clear that the nonsense that happened in the third quarter will not be tolerated.
“We told them that last time was an embarrassment as far as how they got us out of our character,” Swann said. “We told them this week that what’s at stake is more important than anybody’s personal things going on (in the game). ... It’s about us, it’s not about you.”
The Jackets will continue to rely on their defense, which is led by ends Raquan Sanders and Kendall Converse. Swann said the team was back to full health over the two weeks since their last game, a 41-8 win over the CNY Wildcats.
Offensively, 49-year-old quarterback Brian Furbert will be protected by a line anchored by towering Tim Hammond. Furbert has solid targets in Brian Owen, Jonathan Hammond and Jeff Dorvee, while DeLoatch and Sean Velasquez provide the running game.
“We have to be hungrier than them, we have to play faster than them,” Swann said. “I believe we’re ready.”