The 2013 Marauder football recruits made a strong statement last Sunday playing with a team fresh off their second consecutive trip to the Vanier Cup finals.

After a major win in the first game of the season over the Gee-Gees that saw the Marauders win with a score of 51-24, the coaches and players alike could not be more excited about the depth and talent of this year’s team.

On offense, recruits Danny Vandervoort and Nick Firlit are expected to provide a major impact for the Marauders. Vandervoort, a wide receiver from Barrie, was extremely impressive against the Gee-Gees, where he managed to score a touchdown in his first game wearing the maroon and grey.

“Danny plays fast and has great hands. He was definitely one of the top recruits in the province at the receiver position,” said assistant head coach and offensive coordinator, Jon Behie. “He had a great training camp and we are really excited to see him this year.”

Vandervoort’s outstanding first game was one that also saw the rookie have six receptions for 89 yards. His debut in the maroon and grey uniform was one that was much anticipated by the Bear Creek Secondary School graduate, who always wanted to become a Marauder.

“There really was only one school that I wanted to go to, and it was McMaster” said the 6’2 Vandervoort.

Although the game was indicative of Vandervoort’s athleticism and desire, as a rookie, he knows that his spot is up for grabs, and that he wants to keep his position in the line-up for as long as possible, “My goal is just maintaining my spot… and fighting week by week to maintain my spot,” said Vandervoort.

Vandervoort is also joined up front by Nick Firlit, an offensive lineman out of Burlington, Ont. Firlit has a lot of potential that the coaches were looking for as the former captain of his high school team, the M.M Robinson Rams, and his [Ontario Football Conference] team, the Burlington Stampeders.

“(Nick) was one of the most sought after Offensive Linemen in Ontario, if not the whole country” said recruiting coordinator and linebackers coach Frank Gesztesi. “We were thrilled when he decided to become a Marauder. He will make an impact sooner than later.”

Firlit also brings a lot of experience to the table, as he has represented Team Ontario West in the Canada Cup two years ago, and has been named a Halton Tier 1 all-star.

Another recruit on offense expected to make a difference this year are Tyler Filson, who will play backup quarterback to fellow Kingston, Ont. native, and Frontenac graduate Marshall Ferguson.

Filson came in late to the game against the Gee-Gees and completed his first pass as a Marauder to teammate Max Cameron.  On defense, recruits Mark Mackie, Fabion Foote and Jerelle Vaughan are expected help the team early on this season.

Mackie, a Defensive Tackle from London, won MVP last year for his high school team, the Saunders Sabres, and is a recipient of the Dr. Jim Allen Award, which is awarded to London’s top high school linemen. He also won the Ontario Varsity Football League Provincial Championship last summer with the London Jr. Mustangs.

“He is lightning-quick off the ball, he uses his hands well, he should make a splash early” said recruiting coordinator and linebackers coach, Frank Gesztesi.

Mackie is also joined by Fabion Foote, a defensive tackle from Toronto and a graduate of Thistletown High School. He was named one of the top athletes of Etobicoke this year.

Recruiting coordinator and linebackers coach Frank says that “[Foote] has a motor that does not stop, he is quick off the ball and aggressive, and he should challenge early.”

Other recruits on defense include Jerelle Vaughan, a Kitchener, Ont. native and an OFC Championship winner with the undefeated Varsity Predators last year.

When asked about his feelings before the game, Vandervoort said, “not too nervous, because we were really prepared, and Coach P. [sic] says if you’re nervous, then you’re not prepared.”

Looks like the Marauders are more than prepared.

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