By Kevin Eickman
Prior to the start of the season, the Milford Buccaneers football team knew that the early season schedule was not going to be an easy one. In their third contest of the year, the Bucs faced a much bigger and stronger team in the visiting Ravens.
In a game that saw Milford competitive early, and falter late, the strength and size advantage of the Ravens become more evident as the game progressed. While the Ravens figuratively put out the lights of the Bucs, a technical glitch literally accomplished the task, as a failure in the lighting system forced the game to be called with 5:10 left in the game.
In the first quarter the Buccaneers defense demonstrated a vast improvement over the first two games of the season, flying to the ball and tackling well. The first quarter featured both teams having difficulty moving the ball, with both Milford and Sussex Tech exchanging punts on a few occasions. The combination of the stout defenses resulting in a scoreless tie, gave little indication as to the trouble the Buccaneers would endure the rest of the game.
The second quarter started with Tech pinned at their own sixteen yard line. The Ravens proceeded to put together a methodical drive, that the Buccaneers were powerless to stop. Play after play the Ravens moved down the field, finally opening up the scoring on a one yard keeper by junior quarterback Jamont Matthews with 7:39 left in the first half. Vance Daniels blocked the extra point attempt, the first of two blocked kicks on the evening for the Buccaneer senior.
On the possession after Milford fell behind, they once again exhibited the poor ball security that Milford has demonstrated so far in this young season. This time turning the ball over on their own 40 yard line. Tech wasted little time taking advantage of the opportunity, as senior Willis Dickerson took the ball on a reverse and did not stop until he reached the end zone. Tech had a successful two point conversion, making the score 14-0 with 5:33 left in the half.
With Milford deep in their own territory, a poor snap resulted in a safety, increasing the Ravens lead to 16-0, with 4:15 left in the half. The Ravens looked poised to put the game out of reach before halftime, as they once again drove into Buccaneer territory. This time the Milford defense rose up, as senior Marcus Mullen recovered a fumble and returned it to his own 40 yard line with 2:29 remaining in the half.
On the next play from scrimmage, the Buccaneers completed their second successful halfback option pass of the season. This time senior Octavion Wilson hit senior William Wagenhoffer for 59 yards, down to the Tech 1 yard line. Wilson finished off the drive scoring on a toss play. The successful kick made the score 16-7 with 1:29 left. It would be the same score the teams would take into the locker room.
In the second half it was all Tech, as they controlled the ball on offense and stifled the Buccaneers on defense. The Bucs had no answer for the Ravens as their deficit quickly expanded. Finally with the Bucs trailing 38-7, the power failure caused the game to be called. With the Bucs ready to begin conference play in the Henlopen South, there is a lot of work to be done if they are expected to compete.
“We have to to improve, we’ve got to improve as coaches, we’ve got to improve as players, we have to improve our communication between the sideline and the field,” stated Coach Mike Tkach. “We have been trying to get better every week, and we have to a point. We just can’t continue to shoot ourselves in the foot.”
Talking about what lies ahead for the Buccaneers, Tkach knows making the playoffs will be a tall order. “After starting 0-3, we will have to win the south, and there are a lot of good teams in our division that will make it difficult,” Tkach said. “The bottom line is we have to become a better football team.”