MARIANNA, Fla. (WMBB) – The Marianna football team is coming off a great 2020 campaign where they went 8-4 overall and made it to the region finals, but they hope this season is even better.
However, like many other Panhandle squads, their team looks quite different this year.
“We graduated a lot of experience, we had 19 kids leave this program and they had a great run so we gotta replace that. We’ve got a good group of older kids, we’ve got some kids who have come out for football for the first time but got a long way to do, but maybe down the stretch they can help us,” Marianna head football coach John Donaldson said.
The players still confident they can make it back to the playoffs and get even further than before.
While they have a lot of new faces, the seniors think they have picked up a few tricks from the previous Bulldogs that will help them achieve that goal.
“We’ve been together a while, we’ve been working with each other forever now. We’ve learned form great seniors in the past especially last years class, Brady Donaldson, Blake Barber, Troy Meadows and all them. I think learning from them really helped up and that’s what is going to make us good,” Marianna senior wide receiver Brennan Faircloth said.
While they don’t have many of them, the seniors on this year’s team are truly leaders and the past three years have helped turn them into that.
“I think our team’s perseverance shows up really well. All of our seniors, freshman year we all went through the Hurricane, and then sophomore, junior and even this year we’ve gone through COVID so I think we as a team we can persevere through anything. So I feel like no matter what, whatever gets thrown our way we can fight through it and win,” Marianna senior lineman Trent Antley said.
The Bulldogs don’t have an easy road to the playoffs in 2021 as their schedule this year is a difficult one.
“We got some good teams and some teams that returned a ton of kids from last year. Tough, tough South Walton bunch with some great skilled kids, St Joe, we’ve got a lot of great opponents fortunately we’ve got some of them at home and hopefully that’ll help but it’s going to be a battle for sure,” Donaldson said.
Their ultimate goal may be the postseason, but they aren’t trying to look too far ahead.
“Win week one. And go day to day and battle the obstacles as they come, next guy up kind of thing. We battled a ton of obstacles last year, we’re able to overcome it so we’ll see what this group can do,” Donaldson said.
Marianna takes on Chipley on Friday night in their kickoff classic and open up the regular season against Port St. Joe on August 27.