The Holy Trinity football team will again wear uniforms this week on loan from the University at Albany.
Holy Trinity head coach John Barber — whose team’s uniforms and equipment were destroyed this past Friday in a fire deemed arson — acknowledged his team of players from Schenectady’s Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons and Troy’s Catholic Central high schools would have preferred to wear its own uniforms for the final games of its season. That said, their chance to wear the Great Danes gear has been warmly received.
“Oh my god,” Barber said Tuesday. “They’ve loved it.”
“I had one boy that was so excited, he showed up at school about four hours before game time [this past Saturday] and he was already wearing it,” Barber said. “When we were all getting dressed [later], they were all talking about it.”
Holy Trinity also received assistance from a variety of sources including the football programs at Union College and RPI, plus numerous area high schools. Barber said Schenectady High School was the first to help, while trucks arrived later in the day last Friday with items from a number of the region’s high schools. There were plenty of private donations made, too, while Riddell — Holy Trinity’s normal supplier for helmets and pads — had the team restocked in time for its first-ever playoff game this past Saturday.
Holy Trinity lost that matchup against Hoosic Valley, and will play Thursday night in a crossover game at Watervliet. Barber expressed thanks for all the swift help his team has received, especially from UAlbany, which last Friday obtained a waiver from the NCAA in order to loan uniforms to Holy Trinity while the Great Danes were transporting themselves that day to Philadelphia to take on Villanova the next day.
“Once they were told what they could give us,” Barber said, “they sent it right over that afternoon.”
UAlbany (1-3 CAA, 4-3 overall) will look to end a three-game skid this weekend when it plays host Saturday to Elon. After a 24-13 loss this past weekend to Villanova in which the Great Danes gave up 269 rushing yards, UAlbany head coach Greg Gattuso said at his team’s Tuesday practice that his squad needs to get more from its group of young defensive reserves.
“The good thing is some of those young guys are starting to get better,” said Gattuso, singling out redshirt freshman defensive lineman Dean Grogg, sophomore defensive lineman Nick Griffin and redshirt sophomore linebacker Isaiah Powell for improved play in recent weeks.
Particularly on the defensive line, Gattuso said the Great Danes need more snaps played from its reserves. So far this season, the coach said his backups have generally been able to play about five to 10 plays a game — and he’d prefer they play more in the 20-to-25 range.
“But they’re just not ready [yet],” he said. “You can’t put guys out that aren’t ready to play a lot.”
THIS AND THAT
Elon, 2-5 overall this season, comes into Saturday’s matchup off a 35-7 loss to Richmond. . . . After its latest loss, UAlbany fell out of both national rankings. Prior to that, the Great Danes had been ranked for a program-record six consecutive weeks in both polls. . . . UAlbany sophomore running back Elijah Ibitokun-Hanks rushed for 141 yards against Villanova. That output was Ibitokun-Hanks’ first 100-plus rushing effort since his 183-yard effort Sept. 17 against Holy Cross.