On an unusual Wednesday night, the Marauders varsity football team hit the road to take on North Florida Christian (NFC) on Sept. 28 for the Battle of Meridian Road. Due to the threat of Hurricane Ian hitting the coast of Florida, both schools had agreed to move the game from Friday to Wednesday night at 6:30 P.M. The time change was no help to the Marauders as the Eagles took over the night with a victory of 58-7.
North Florida Christian won the toss and decided to receive the ball in the second half. Maclay started the opening drive by gaining one first down which was followed by a punt on a fourth and long.
“We need to get our tackles right,” junior defensive tackle William O’Connor said. “And we really need to execute our play making [offense and defense]”
On the defensive side of the ball the Marauders struggled the whole game, especially in the first half by giving up 37 points.
“We have to get our offense going and get our defense stronger,” senior running back Shane Croston said.
In the second quarter of the game Maclay fell behind quickly before the clock ran out for half time. NFC had been moving the ball down the field with little resistance and was able to make quick work of getting into the endzone. On the last drive of the half, Croston and senior quarterback Micheal Grant used their legs to set up for a chance to score. After Crostons 48 yard run, Grant was able to punch the ball in the endzone for a 2 yard rushing touchdown to make the score 37-7 with NFC in the lead.
“When we came back from the second half and they [NFC] returned the kick-off for a TD that destroyed our morale,” said O’Connor.
After NFC took the kick off to the house, Maclay’s energy started to dwindle. With each big play that the Eagles made, Maclay couldn’t keep up.
“I’m the type of guy that always thinks you have a shot,” head coach Jason Cauley said. “I saw the body language after they scored a touchdown and I knew it was going to be tough to come back.
In the third quarter the Eagles managed to keep the Marauders from scoring again while putting up 14 points to strengthen their lead. Going into the fourth, the score sat at 51-7 with the Eagles still holding their lead.
“We didn’t have any pep in our step or hop and after that they [Maclay] were done,” Cauley said.
The Marauders were not able to put up any more points for the remainder of the game but gave up another touchdown to the Eagles in the fourth.
“When you have a performance like this you have to go back to the drawing board,”Cauley said.
After losing the Battle for Meridian Road 58-7, the Maclay football team has no other choice but to keep looking forward. They will play their next home game which will be against Chipley at Frank Shaw Field on Oct. 7 at 7:00 P.M.