By Kevin Eickman
There is no sugarcoating it at this point, the Milford football season has been a disappointment. With a 1-8 regular season record and a young team that has been ravaged by injuries, you can throw the records out the window for this one. Following their week five loss to Delmar, coach Tkach said that games like this were all that the Buccaneers have left to play for this season. “You don’t need any extra motivation to play your rival, they are a team that if you beat them can make your season,” Tkach stated. “These guys have been playing against each other since Pop Warner, they want to beat each other pretty bad.”
Milford traveled to Laurel last Friday, where they faced off against the previously winless Bulldogs. In a game that featured a myriad of turnovers and penalties, the Buccaneers turned in what may have been their poorest performance of the season.
With senior Vance Daniels watching from the sidelines, Milford changed the way they ran their offense in the game. Operating primarily out of the I formation, and utilizing three different running backs as the deep man. While senior Octavion Wilson was the primary back, senior Rafiq Henry and sophomore Matt Viramontes saw action as well.
The Bulldogs opened up the scoring after Milford turned the ball over on their own 30 yard line. Taking advantage of the good position, Laurel connected on a 30 yard scoring pass and converted the extra point to take a 7-0 advantage with 2:28 left in the first quarter.
Milford would respond with a solid drive deep into Laurel territory. The drive featured a key 3rd down reception by senior Billy Wagenhoffer, who has played a quietly solid season on both sides of the ball. Besides playing wide receiver and tight end, Wagenhoffer has been playing very well at defensive end. The drive was capped by a 23 yard run by Wilson with 7:58 left in the half, making the score 7-6 following the blocked extra point.
With a Laurel holding a 7-6 lead to start the second half, they started the opening drive at their own 49 yard line. While the Milford defense held, they where hampered by poor field position and failed to move the ball. Laurel would extend their lead to 14-6 with 7:22 left in the third.
What followed for Milford would be a solid, time consuming drive. With the power running game beginning to take shape, the Buccaneers would move from their own 25 yard line, deep into Laurel territory. As they have all year, Milford was their own worst enemy. With Laurel back on their heals, the Bucs failed to execute a hand-off, fumbling the ball back to Laurel. The Bucs would never threaten again, with Laurel recording a pic-six late in the 4th quarter to provide the final 21-6 margin.
Looking forward to the Battle of the Bell game against Lake Forest this Friday, the Bucs have a chance for a victory. Fumbles and penalties will not bring the bell back to Milford, it will take a solid team effort for 48 minutes. For seniors in this class, it will be their last chance for success. This Friday’s game starts at 7:30 pm at Briggs Stadium in Milford.