By Kevin Eickman
Prior to the season there was a great deal of optimism surrounding the 2013 edition of the Milford Buccaneers. Halfway through the year however, Milford is out of the playoff hunt and still trying to come up with the recipe for victory. While Friday night’s final score of 17-0 might indicate a blowout, the truth of the matter is that the Bucs are tantalizingly close to turning the corner.
After Milford took the opening possession to their own 44 yard line, the Bucs pinned Delmar deep in their own end. On the first play from scrimmage Delmar would have their longest gain of the night, as running back Jordan Brown found a hole up the gut of the Milford defensive line. He took the ball 77 yards to the Milford 11 yard line, setting up the Wildcats deep in Buccaneer territory. The Milford defense stiffened and it looked as if Delmar would be held to a field goal try, as Delmar quarterback Shane Leatherbury was forced from the pocket on third and long. Leatherbury escaped the Bucs rushed however, and connected with Brown for the games first touchdown. With the successful extra point, Delmar took a 7-0 lead with 7:00 remaining in the first quarter.
Milford was able to take the ensuing possession into Delmar territory, working their way to the Wildcat 38 yard line. The drive stalled however and Milford was intercepted on 4th and 7. Delmar was able to return the ball deep into Milford territory, setting up shop at the Buccaneer 24 yard line. The spirited Milford defense held however, forcing Delmar into attempting a 40 yard field goal. Delmar kicker Robert Budd got all of it, easily clearing the uprights and giving the Wildcats a 10-0 lead, with 1:55 left in the first quarter.
After Milford was forced to punt, the Wildcats once again drove deep into Milford territory, and once again it looked as if the Buccaneers defense would hold. It wasn’t to be however, as once again Leatherbury was able to scramble free from Milford pressure and connect on a scoring strike. The extra point made it 17-0 with 8:54 left in the half.
Milford would respond by putting together their best drive of the night, working their way deep into Delmar territory as senior Octavion Wilson and sophomore Son Martinez pounded the Wildcat defense. Milford was once again their own worst enemy as they fumbled the ball away at the Delmar one yard line. “That’s a big play in the game, we need to score there,” commented Coach Mike Tkach. “We moved the ball well at times tonight, we just have to learn how to finish the job.”
Milford would also have a touchdown pass called back, due to a holding call, later in the game. The fact that Delmar was kept off the score board in the second half can be directly contributed to the steadily improving Buccaneer defense. “We have been forced to play some younger players this year due to injuries this season. The fact that these guys have gotten better every week is due to their tremendous work ethic,” Tkach stated.
Milford now has a chance to show what they are made of. Over their final five games of the season, the Buccaneers will be facing some tough competition. Tkach thinks that his team will be up for the challenge. “This group won’t quit, they haven’t quit all year and I don’t expect them to quit now,” stated Tkach.“We go up to Polytech next week for their homecoming. Maybe we’ll bring our own float and get a victory.” Kickoff for next weeks road game is 7:30 pm.