Maclay will open up the season at Deerfield-Windsor, GA on Friday night. Photo Courtesy of Maclay Football.

Maclay at Deerfield-Windsor
When: August 21, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Albany, Georgia
Series: Windsor won 27-12 last year
Internet Stream: The Cube
2014 Records: Maclay, 4-7; Deerfield Windsor, 9-4

Maclay Key Players:  Austin Cook (Sr., FS), Bailey Cook (Sr., CB/WR), George Hutchinson (Sr., FS/WR), Phillip Billings (Sr., DB/WR); Jacob Sniffen (Sr., WR/DB); Daniel Sweeney (So. K/P); John Sniffen (So. LB)

Deerfield-Windsor Key Players: Windsor-Tyler Lowe (Sr., QB), John Samuel Shenker (Jr., TE), Nick Wendland (Sr., WR/FS), Joseph Davis (Jr., LB), Oliver Davis (Jr., LB), Conner Lawson (Sr., LB), Jack Brady (Fr., QB), Emory Boeneke (Sr., WR/DB)

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About Maclay: The transition from being independent and winning back-to-back conference championships to joining a district again wasn’t an easy one. Placed in a district with Trinity Catholic, PK Yonge and Father Lopez, the Marauders struggled in their first year, but put it all together to claim the school’s first ever playoff berth last year. Things didn’t start well for Maclay with a season opening loss to Windsor 27-12 followed by four more losses as the Marauders were outscored 242-81 during that stretch. A 49-27 win over Wewahitchka turned things around as the Marauders closed out the regular season with four consecutive wins including key district wins over Father Lopez and PK Yonge, which helped them claim the 2-3A runner-up trophy and the school’s first playoff game. Unfortunatetly for head coach Kyler Hall, a former FSU safety, they were paired up with defending state champion Trinity Christian in the first round and sent home 44-13 by the eventual two time state champs. Captain Josh Wright is gone meaning someone else will have to step up and assume his role. Stephon Simpkins (694 yards, 10 TDs, 75 tackles, 2 INTs) was likely going to be that guy but transfered to East Gadsden, while brother Steven Simpkins decided to give up football and run cross country. Hall also said Conner Hansen decided to transfer to Chiles and Tripp Hunter tore an ACL in the spring. Bailey Cook (7 catches for 169 yards, 1 TD) and Taylor Smith (2 catches for 30 yards, 1 TD) are the only other players who scored last year that are returning. The defense looks solid with Austin Cook (50 tackles, 2 INTs), Bailey Cook (31 tackles) and Billings (28 tackles, 2 INTs) all back. Boeneke played his first two seasons at Maclay, before playing his junior year at Bishop Kenny after his family moved to Jacksonville after his father got sick. “We’re young upfront, one senior,” Hall said, “We will sling the ball quite a bit, to set up the run,” Hall went on to say they spent the first week and almost the full two weeks of camp, with so many young kids just working on us. The second wee they began gameplanning for Windsor, watching film of last year. “We turned the ball over five times last year against them,” Hall said, “A lot of it was because of mental mistakes, things u can’t do and win. We’ll have a good shot if we can limit those mistakes.”Hall also added, “Half of our team this is their first taste of varsity experience. We dont have a JV, a lot of these guys were on the middle school team last year. We have a lot of unanswered questions but this will get us ready for district play.”

Outlook: Windsor was able to get some work in last week as they hosted a controlled scrimmage as teams ran 10 plays on both sides of the ball. The scrimmage was a dress rehearsal of sorts for the opener this week for the 15 starters back for the Knights. A veteran Knights team meets up with a less experienced Maclay team, paving the way for a Knights victory.

About Deerfield-Windsor: Knights from Deerfield-Windsor near Albany, Georgia are four-time state champs, four-time state runner-ups and 14 time regional champions. Windsor won state titles most recently in 2008, 2010 and 2012, to go along with a state runner-up finish in 2009. The Knights, who compete in Georgia Independent School Association (GISA) a private school league not affiliated with the Georgia High School Athletic Association, finished third in their region yet managed to advance all the way to the state semifinals before losing 28-7 to eventual state champion Westfield, a team it had already beat in the regular season. One of the nine wins was a season opening 27-12 win at Maclay, a week later they traveled back to Tallahassee and fell 24-13 to North Florida Christian. Deerfield-Windsor runs the spread offense and uses two tailbacks and two receivers most of its formations. The entire offensive line is back as is play makers Lowe, Shenker and Wendland from an offense that averaged 27.7 points per game.

Outlook: Windsor was able to get some work in last week as they hosted a controlled scrimmage as teams ran 10 plays on both sides of the ball. The scrimmage was a dress rehearsal of sorts for the opener this week for the 15 starters back for the Knights. A veteran Knights team meets up with a less experienced Maclay team, paving the way for a Knights victory.

Prediction: Deerfield-Windsor