By Kevin Eickman
In a week that saw record heat, the preparations for the 59th annual Blue-Gold football game went on in spite of it. The game is the centerpiece of the Delaware Foundation Reaching Citizens (DFRC) year round effort to enhance the lives of Delawareans with intellectual disabilities. This year the Gold team held their scrimmage this past Wednesday at Briggs Stadium in Milford.
Despite the heat and humidity, an enthusiastic crowd was treated to a spirited event that featured hard hitting and big plays. The opportunity to play one final time on his home turf, was special to Milford representative Octavion Wilson. “The last time we played at home, Lake Forest beat us to keep the Bell, that really wasn’t the way I wanted to go out,” Wilson commented. “To have a chance to play one last time and for it to be for such a good cause is very special to me.”
The entire week was a very special one for all the participants and Wilson was no exception. “Just to be around so many great players and great people has been fantastic,” said Wilson. Talking with Wilson about his favorite memories of the week, he was happy that he had a roommate that kept it light. “Marcellus Pack was my roommate and he was great,” commented Wilson. “He was just a great guy to hang around with, I couldn’t have asked for a better roommate.”
The Blue-Gold camp lasts all week and is held up at the University of Delaware. For the players it is an intense week of work, when you take into consideration that almost all of them had not played football in six months. Couple that with players being grouped together for the first time, it becomes obvious that a precious commodity is time. However, making the trip downstate is something Executive Director Dr. Anthony Glenn feels is very important. “We love coming down to Southern Delaware and giving the players a chance to play in front of their friends and family,” stated Glenn. “Most of these players are from down here and we know it can be difficult for some people to make it up to UD for the game on Saturday night.”
Milford Athletic Director and Head football coach Mike Tkach was an assistant coach on the Gold squad this year and loves the fact that Milford got to demonstrate their hospitality again. “We are very proud of our community and our facilities, we love hosting an event like this,” said Tkach. Talking with him about being on the coaching staff of the Gold team, he absolutely relishes the opportunity. “It’s so wonderful to get a chance to be on a staff like this. Just like the players we spend most of our time competing against each other, here we get a chance to really get to know each other as people.” Tkach commented.
The game itself , hosted at University of Delaware, turned out to be a thrilling 28-21 come from behind victory for the Gold team. The victory marked the fourth consecutive year the Gold team defeated the Blue. Things started out tough for Wilson, who fumbled on just the third play of the Game. “It was kind of strange, I started out and I was nervous for some reason.” Wilson added “I really settled down after halftime and was able to enjoy the game. It was great to be able to come from behind and get the win.”