GLENS FALLS — After starting 2-0, the Glens Falls Greenjackets hit what coach Raymond Swann called a “rough patch.” Two consecutive road losses dropped the Greenjackets to .500 and a game with Utica, the Empire Football League’s top team, is next.
Despite injuries to starting quarterback Zach Infield, receiver Brian Owen and linebacker Jake Burnell, Swann is confident Glens Falls is prepared for its 4:30 p.m. game on Saturday at East Field.
“We will be without three of our main guys,” Swann said of Infield, Owen and Burnell. “These are not new injuries. My quarterback and receiver got hurt at Hudson, while Jake got hurt in the preseason.
“Two of those guys (Infield and Owen) are captains. So we will miss their leadership. Our quarterback has brought a lot of experience and knowledge of the offense. (Owen) is a possession receiver and is great in clutch moments. We lose that.”
Johnathan Hammond replaced Infield last week and with one start under his belt, Swann said he believes his backup-turned-starter has both the natural ability and leadership skills to succeed.
But it is unclear if Hammond is even 100 percent healthy himself, as he is nursing a shoulder injury from earlier this year. Regardless, Hammond will be under center Saturday.
“He reads the defense well,” Swann said of Hammond. “He is very athletic and has a decent arm. We want him to continue to be athletic, which is something we think he does best.”
Hammond’s second start will not be easy as an undefeated Utica team travels to Glens Falls. Swann said it is no secret how good Utica is, but if things go right then an upset is possible.
A lot is going to have to go right, considering the Yard Dogs are averaging 43 points per game and only allowing 10. Greenjackets are averaging 12 points per game and giving up 26.
“Our focus has been to bend but not break,” Swann said. “We did not really make any adjustments (this week). We needed a gut check and to get back to the basics. That will help us play some physical football this Saturday.”