R-W eager to overcome COVID interruption

Senior quarterback Logan Kuberski is one of several returning starters on offense for ROWVA-Williamsfield, which will be sporting new uniforms, helmets and a new color scheme this year after the breakup of the Mid-County co-op.

For The Weekly Post

ONEIDA – A promising offseason ran into a rocky interruption in mid-August when the new ROWVA-Williamsfield football co-op was temporarily sidelined for a COVID-19 outbreak.

As a result, R-W had to call off its Community Night on Aug. 20 and there was no team picture taken.

The lack of practice also put third-year Coach Grant Gullstrand – who generally likes to keep information close to the vest anyway – at some disadvantage in finalizing a starting lineup.

“We haven’t practiced for the last 10 days and I’m not listing any starters,” Gullstrand said on Saturday. “Honestly, we’re not to that point yet.”

What Gullstrand would say is that he has been impressed by the response of some of his returnees in the face of an unwelcome break.

“We’ve had a group of upperclass players that have kind of stepped up this past week and sped up the process for some of our younger players,” Gullstrand said. “I applaud our upperclassmen for bringing it this week. When we get the full team back and we should be ready to get it going.”

Among those who Gullstrand mentioned as leading by example on the roster of 48 are junior Graham Wight, senior Carson Malek, senior Seth Johnson, senior Kai Moore and senior Will Koss.

The 6-2, 205-pound Johnson averaged nearly 6 yards per carry last spring and offers a hard-running complement to returning senior quarterback Logan Kuberski (6-0, 150), who is also a threat to run.

Up front R-W also returns a few starters, including Wight.

“I’ve been pleased with how our offensive line has played,” Gullstrand said. “They’ve done a nice job.”

That said, the coach also noted there are still things to work through on offense, while he feels the team is “pretty close to being ready defensively.”

Overall, the Cougars have 10 seniors and plenty of promising newcomers from a frosh-soph team that went 5-1 and 5-0 in the Lincoln Trail Conference.

The hope for R-W is that those returnees and successful JV players can turn things around for a program which, overall, has a new feel now that the former Mid-County co-op has disbanded and Galva has left the fold to play an 8-man football season.

Since that decision, new goalposts have gone up at the field in Oneida, and the new Cougars have new uniforms, a new color scheme and a new classification, with the team likely moving into Class 2A.

The Cougars’ schedule also saw two changes. The season opener at Abingdon-Avon has been moved to Saturday Aug. 28, at 10 a.m. and the Week 5 game at Mercer County will be played on Thursday, Sept. 23, instead of Friday.

Abingdon-Avon was 3-1 in the spring before ending the season early due to injuries that depleted an already thin roster of 28.

Asked to handicap the Lincoln Trail Conference, Gullstrand said, “I see a deep conference that has a lot of good football teams in it. I wouldn’t overlook anybody.”