On Friday night the Milford Buccaneers football team traveled down to Lewes to face the Henlopen North rival Cape Henlopen. In a game that was a further indication of the disparity between Milford and the other teams in Division I, the Bucs fell to the Vikings 34-2.
While on the surface this might be discouraging, the time has come to take a serious look at what Milford has been up against while trying to compete at the D-1 level. Milford High School finds itself in the difficult position of sharing two counties. This has put Milford in the unenviable position of losing students to both Poly and Sussex Tech, not to mention those students who chose to school choice out of the district.
Over the last four seasons Milford has been the smallest team in D-1, while track and field has managed to remain competitive, football and wrestling has suffered for it. What it comes down to is a numbers game, the way the conferences are determined is based on the enrollment of the schools. Every two years the Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association (DIAA) issues the headcount received from member institutions, and the schools are divided into divisions based upon those figures. Milford and Poly Tech have been on that line for the last several years and when this year’s numbers were revealed this past week Poly Tech moved up to D-1, and Milford moved down.
Talking to wrestling coach Dan Rigby, it became apparent that he felt his program was better suited to compete at the D-2 level “When you look at it from a numbers standpoint, it’s almost impossible to compete against these programs that have almost twice as many students as you do.” he added “We are excited to get back into the south, and hope to be competitive.”
Catching up with Principal, Dr. David Carter he conveyed that he thought the move would be a positive step for Milford “When you see the number of athletes that other schools have competing, it comes down to an issue of depth.” he added “In football for example, while we have many fine athletes, other schools have just as much talent but a larger pool of players.”
Over the years, the increase in the number of schools within the State of Delaware has begun to skew the demographics between the two divisions. With a proliferation of charter and private schools opening within the state, it might be time for the DIAA to evaluate how the split between D-1 and D-2 is determined. This season there have been two teams added to the Division-II football tournament, but this has no effect on how the teams are split into divisions. This is still based entirely on the population of public schools. Talking to athletic director Glen Stevenson, he wonders if maybe it is time to re-evaluate the system “It might be time to take a look at how teams are aligned in Delaware, I think it is something the DIAA should look into.