By Kevin Eickman
In a back and forth game featuring plenty of big plays, perhaps the biggest was one that did not count. With 4:50 remaining in the game, Dover punted the ball deep into Milford territory, seemingly setting up the Bucs with a long field to overcome a 27-24 deficit. There was only one problem for the visiting Senators however. With a flag on the play prior to the kick they were forced to re-kick. On the ensuing play, the field got significantly shorter for Milford as sophomore Aaron Sivels burst through the Dover line and blocked the punt. Setting up Milford at the Senator’s two yard line, it was a golden opportunity for the Bucs.
“I saw the man that was supposed to block me just turn his head the wrong way for a second,” Sivels said. “Right there I knew I had a shot and I took it and it really paid off for us tonight.”
While the field position was advantageous, Milford still had to find a way into the end zone to retake the lead. A first down play went nowhere and on second down, sophomore quarterback lost yardage and was forced out of the game with what looked to be a significant shoulder injury. Junior Marquis Gillis got to the two-yard line out of the wildcat formation but the Milford was now faced with a fourth and goal.
Coming out of a timeout, Milford put the ball in the hands of senior Jabraih Luke on a toss right. Luke found the edge and ultimately the end zone for the go ahead score with 2:20 remaining in the game. “They were really stacking the box and we had a lot of confidence in that play right there,” Luke commented. “The blocking was great and we set the edge just like we needed to, it was just a matter of making sure I did my job on the play.”
This game was all about Milford “doing their job” as the outnumbered squad suffered from several injuries during the game. From lineman to both starting running backs, every one seemed to be getting treatment on the bench. Whether is was getting an ankle taped or a cramp worked out, every Buccaneer on the field wanted to compete. “Our guys played with so much heart tonight, I can’t even begin to explain it,” Coach Nick Brannan said. “We were as focused as we have been all year, we had a bit of a chip on our shoulder tonight and it showed. Even when our starters were getting treatment our backups really went in there and did the job.”
With Dover trying to find a way into field goal range, they completed a 37 pass on fourth and 20 to Akil Garrett who made a spectacular catch as the Senator’s set up shop on the Bucs 39 yard line with 1:19 left in the game. From there it was the Milford defense that closed the deal. Clamping down on Dover, the Buccaneers forced a turnover on downs with an attacking defense. “Our defense played well for a great part of the game and when we needed it the most they really stepped up,” Brannan stated.
The game started off well for the Buccaneers as they kept the high powered offense, lead by senior running back Javon Peace. The Dover senior is an offensive machine who scored four touchdowns in the game, but the Bucs were able to pen him in early.
Milford was the first team on the scoreboard as sophomore Marquis Gillis took it in from 12 yards with 54 seconds remaining in the first quarter, capping a 50 yard drive. With a two-point conversion the Bucs enjoyed the games first lead at 8-0.
It did not take long for Dover to respond as Peace took the ball 59 yards on the Senator’s next play from scrimmage for a touchdown, closing the gap to 8-6 with 35 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
On the ensuing drive, Milford drove the ball into Dover territory but disaster struck as Dover recovered a fumble and returned it to the Buccaneers two yard line. Peace took it in from two yards out and the PAT made it 13-8 Dover with just under over 10 minutes remaining in the first half.
The Buccaneers quickly responded as Gillis took the ball on a 67 yard scamper on their next possession. Another two-point conversion for Milford gave them a 16-13 lead, which took them into the locker room. “Our offensive line was really great tonight, they were opening holes all night long and the blocking on that play was great at every level,” stated Gillis.
Peace took the ball off tackle for 63 yards on the first play of the second half to put the Senator’s back in the lead 20-16.
Once again the Buccaneers answered the call as they drove down the field and Luke finished the drive with a one-yard touchdown run, putting Milford ahead once again 24-20. The final Dover score came late in the third quarter as Peace capped off a solid drive with a three yard run to give the Senator’s a 27-24 lead. This set up the late game dramatics.
With the victory Milford improved their record to 3-2 (1-2) as they head up to Caesar Rodney this Friday as they battle a highly motivated Rider team, looking to get their season back on track.
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