Training camp report: Hoosic Valley
All the buzz this fall in Schaghticoke will be about the Indians' new multi-purpose stadium, which is just fine with the Hoosic Valley football team.
They're just glad to be home.
The Indians played all nine games on the road last year because their home field for the first two years of the programs' existence - an old overflow parking lot for the Schaghticoke Fair - was unusable as the Hoosic Valley High School was building additions behind the gymnasium.
"Even though we didn’t have home games last year, we still had people from the school and the community come to the games, no matter how far away they were," said Alex McNeice. "We had games hours away in Fonda and there were still tons of people there."
The Indians will host a 2008 Homecoming for last year's seniors during their home opener Sept. 5 against Mechanicville. Without much history - this is only the fourth varsity season in Hoosic Valley history - the Indians are looking to build tradition and traction at any opportunity.
"We want to be known," Meddis said. "All the schools look at us and say Hoosic Valley is trash, but with a new field, new goalposts, new scoreboard and a new baseball field, Hoosic Valley is looking up."
Head coach Jay Garvey ran an angle drill at the end of the Indians' first practice of the season a few Mondays ago. The players, still shaking off the summer rust and already ragged after three hours of practice, gave their coach an inspired effort, sprinting full speed to the ball many times over.
"That was a great sign to see that kind of energy and effort and enthusiasm," Garvey said. "I think the kids realize that we have a chance to do something that we’ve never done before and to be able to go play on a nice field for once in their lives. It’s something that they’re excited for and something I’m excited for and that was nice to see at the end of practice."
Tony Repp, Ian Cary, Justin Meddis and Alex McNeice were all freshmen when the Indians played the first game in school history - a 70-1 loss to Chatham. Now that they're seniors, they hope to leave the program in great shape for the future and also to make a little history along the way.
"The first year was real shaky, but we’ve been getting better consecutively each year," said tackle Ian Cary. "We went from 0 wins to 2, then to 3 and to - I’m hoping it's the playoffs."