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Maclay boys soccer team ignoring the hype, focusing on the end goal

Posted at 6:35 PM, Jan 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-22 18:35:46-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — The Maclay High School boys soccer team is ranked number one in the state of Florida regardless of classification.

They're also the fifth-ranked team in the country. While it's flattering, what the Marauders really want is a state title.

"We know better than most teams that at the end of the day, it's that final game," said head coach Andy Warner.

To understand where the Maclay boys soccer team is, you have to understand where they've been. Twice, in 2018 and in 2020, they've made it to the state title game just to walk away empty-handed.

"We're ranked number one in the state, we're undefeated, everyone was talking about how good we were," said senior Michael Sweeney.

"That was such a bitter taste," added senior Broedy Poppell of the experience. "To get beat like that, it was devastating, we think about it every day when we're trying to get better."

This senior class is laser-focused, as they entered the program on the heels of the Marauders 2017 state title.

"I remember watching it in eighth grade in the gym and I was like, 'I want to do that when I grow up,'" remembered Poppell. "'When I'm a senior, that's what I want.'"

"We have a no-quit mentality," said Warner. "It's not just about the concept of I want to win, it's about developing this mentality of under no circumstance are we going to lose."

It's a mentality not clouded by their number one ranking.

"Last year, when we were losing, they were chanting 'overrated,'" said Sweeney. "We remember that from last year and we know this time, we can't let that happen."

The Marauders, are focused on the goal ahead.

"One game at a time," said Poppell. "We need to continue to get better and continue to win."

"I think the concern about are we going to win or are we going to lose, that's the product part of it," said Warner. "If we get the game part right and good things happen, then we'll win. We focus on playing the game."

Just playing the game, and this year, finishing on top. The Marauders have two regular-season games left before postseason play begins on Feb. 1.