By Kevin Eickman
During the final game of a campaign that saw the Milford Buccaneers finish 3-7, there was one game they absolutely wanted, The Battle of the Bell. It’s a game that you anxiously await, from the final whistle of the season before. In a game that saw Milford take an early lead, lose it, then battle back only to lose it again, there was little doubt they left it all on the field “This was a fantastic football game today,” said Coach Mike Tkach, adding “Everyone got their monies worth today, neither one of these teams was going to quit”.
In the game Jefferson had accounted for all four Milford touchdowns, connecting with 1:55 left in the first quarter on a 20 yard pass to Wilson. In the closing moments of the first half, Jefferson connected on a brilliant 35 yard pass to Vance Daniel. On the play Daniels made a brilliant over the shoulder catch with the extra point Milford entered the locker room with a 14-3 advantage.
After Lake Forest had made it 14-9 early in the second half. Milford responded with a short touchdown drive following an interception by sophomore David Needam. The Bucs moved the ball down to the field featuring a power running game, capped by a 1 yard plunge by Jefferson.
With the clock inevitably ticking towards the end of the season, Milford would not go down without a fight. Even after falling behind for the first time in the game, late in the fourth quarter. Even after Lake Forest had gone ahead on a 24 yard run by Ty’Kee Scott with 6:54 left in the game, it was up to the Bucs to respond “Our guys battled all afternoon, they left it all on the field today,” said Tkach.
That’s just what they did too, as senior quarterback Nick Jefferson led Milford down the field on a brilliant drive that featured just a little bit of luck tossed in for good measure. Starting on their own side of the field, the luck came courtesy of what looked to be a game clinching interception by the Spartans. However, as Lake Forest attempted to return the ball the player was stripped from behind by Andrew Marshall and the ball was recovered by an on the spot Octavion Wilson.
Taking advantage of the break, Milford advanced the ball down the field. Repeatedly Jefferson connected with Vance Daniels during key moments as he had all afternoon long. After working it down to the Spartan doorstep, Jefferson punched it in from 1 yard out giving Milford a 27-21 advantage.
Unfortunately for the Bucs, there was still just over two minutes left in the game. This proved to be more than enough time for Scott and company to march down the field and with 48 seconds left in the game Scott connected with senior Terrence Best on a 24 yard strike giving Lake the 28-27 point lead they would protect. While Milford did advance into Lake territory, they could not muster the offense needed to regain the lead.