By Kevin Eickman
While no loss is easy, this one was especially tough. The Milford Buccaneers traveled to Woodside for a Monday night match up against the 4-1 Polytech Panthers who were celebrating homecoming. From the start it was easy to see that this was a different Milford team, they where flying to the ball and playing with a sense of purpose not seen so far this season.
Milford defense started out strong, forcing Tech into an early three and out to start the game. The Milford offense looked fairly efficient to start the game, getting two first downs before they were forced to punt. The Milford defense once again looked stout, as they once again forced the Panthers to punt the ball right back to the Bucs.
Milford committed the game’s first turnover on the next play however, as junior quarterback Cole Davis was unable to handle a high snap, allowing Tech to setup shop on the Milford 23 yard line. The Buccaneer defense answered the call however, when on the very next play sophomore linebacker Shawn Snowden made a jumping interception of a Panther pass.
The Buccaneers took over on their own 32 yard line and worked the ball to midfield before they punted the ball back to Tech. The punt was a good one, pinning the Panthers offense on their own five yard line. The Milford defense kept the heat on, as Snowden shot in off the right side, tackling Panther quarterback Alex Webster in the end zone for a safety.
While Milford could do little with the ball after receiving the free-kick, the Defense once again stepped up for the Bucs. This time Milford forced a fumble, enabling them to to set up shop on the Panther 39 yard line. Milford kept the chains moving and finally struck as Davis connected with senior Vance Daniels on a 20 yard scoring strike. The successful extra point gave Milford a 9-0 advantage with 8:16 left in the second quarter.
While no one knew it at the time, this would be the last time that Milford would find the end zone. What followed was a series of events that was a microcosm of the Buccaneer season. With time running down in the half, Tech reached mid-field and attempted a deep pass. Milford was ready for it and intercepted it at their own ten yard line. On the return however, Milford fumbled the ball and it popped right into the arms of a Panther player. When the dust settled, Tech found themselves on the Milford 2 yard line. The panthers wasted little time, as they punched it in for their first touchdown of the game. Milford blocked the extra point, but Tech had closed the gap to 9-6.
Milford took over with a 1:08 left in the half and quickly worked the ball down the field. With time running out Davis hit senior William Wagenhoffer with a 40 yard pass down to the Tech three yard line. While Milford appeared to line up and spike the ball to kill the clock, they were called for a penalty. Milford ran the field goal unit on to the field but could not get the snap off before time expired. While Milford had to be pleased by taking a lead into halftime for the first time this season, they knew that they had left some points on the field.
While the game might have looked like it was going to be a close one, Tech made crucial adjustments on defense that Milford could not respond to. Tech clamped down on the Milford running attack and adjusted to the passing game as well. Tech got the turnover they needed early in the fourth quarter as they intercepted a Davis pass and after a roughing the kicker penalty drove for the go ahead score with 9:05 left in the game.
After falling behind 13-9, the Milford offense once again turned the ball over to the Panthers, who wasted little time extending their lead to 20-9 with 5:57 left in the game. Tech would close out the scoring with a 57 yard touchdown pass with 2:47 left in the game, providing the final score of 26-9.
Talking with Coach Tkach after the game, he felt that Milford had their chances but failed to capitalize “We had a freakish play towards the end of the first half, we need to start making our own good luck, instead of giving it to other teams,” Tkach stated. “We matched up very well with this team, and it showed. The fact that we didn’t win is very disappointing.”
Milford will host Seaford for homecoming this Friday night, and Tkach knows that it is going to be a tough job getting his team ready with a short week. “We have a lot of work we have to get done this week, Seaford is a good football team that will come ready to play,” commented Tkach. Game time is 7:30pm, with the homecoming parade preceding the game. It is recommended to arrive early.