Spring football practice is a short but important step for prep programs.
That is why Maclay coach Kyler Hall is excited to see how his team responds in Friday’s spring game against visiting Suwannee High School.
The Marauders must replace 10 seniors who accounted for 18 victories over two seasons and helped capture the program’s second consecutive North Florida Football Conference championship last year.
Hall and staff have spent a majority of the past three weeks stressing fundamentals to their players and implementing basic but key schemes.
Competing against his prep alama mater from Live Oak for the second time is not as important to Hall as seeing additional improvement from his team.
“It’s about being disciplined and doing your job, knowing where to line up and playing with great effort,” Hall said. “There’s going to be mistakes, there’s going to be some good things and bad things happen. We just want our kids to know the foundation of what we do and build on that. From day one to now really has been a big difference.”
There’s plenty of games and jamborees on tap this week, starting Thursday at Cox Stadium.
The Big Bend and Tallahassee are tradition-rich in football, and last season wasn’t any different. The Godby Cougars, coached by Ronnie Cottrell, won the Class 5A state title. Lincoln and Madison County also advanced to their respective title games. Tim Cokely, who led North Florida Christian to six state championship, has stepped in at Leon after one season in Marianna.
Spring games for all coaches can serve as important measuring sticks.
Hall, for instance, must replace his two-year starter at quarterback, his top playmaker and the Marauders’ all-state kicker. Hall said Gage Howard and Emory Boeneke have helped set the spring tone for their teammates. Howard, a rising senior, is a returning starter at running back and linebacker. Boeneke started last season at wide receiver and defensive back as a freshman.
“Gage is a workhorse, a guy who never comes off the field and he shows his teammate how it’s supposed to be done,” Hall said.