By Kevin Eickman
1-9 is never the goal of a football team, last year was a battle of attrition for the Buccaneers, and this year they are hoping to turn that around. With the 2014 opener less than two weeks away, we took a chance to talk with head coach Mike Tkach about this year’s squad.
Last year the Buccaneers were ravaged by injuries, depleting the squad of skilled position players on almost a weekly basis. It was a season that witnessed the now graduated Octavion Wilson as the primary offensive threat for Milford. Although he was extremely talented, the wear and tear hampered his production as the season wore on.
This season Milford will be looking to present a run heavy offense and Tkach believes that he has the depth to do it. “We have four running backs that we believe we will be able to rotate in and out of the game,” Tkach stated. The halfbacks are projected to be Son Martinez, Raheem Fullman, David Bowman and Rafiq Henry. Tkach is equally optimistic about the fullback position as well, where the Bucs will present a solid group of fullbacks as Micheal Tkach, Ryan Jones, Dennis Wimer and Clay Stevenson are tasked with those duties “We believe that depth will be a key factor this year and these are the guys that can provide that,” Tkach concluded.
Ricky Armstrong is projected to be the starting quarterback, with some younger guys Tkach believes can step in if needed. Patrick Wheeler and Omet Kooner are expected to rotate through at the wide receiver spot. The depth at tight end is a strength that Tkach hopes will be an added strength to the running game. Mark Henderson, Shawn Snowden, Taylor Reynolds and Micheal Holstein will be key players in this very talented group. “We have a lot of guys that are right around the same talent level and are expected to compete,” Tkach stated.
One thing noticeable is the number of players listed at the various positions, Tkach explained that this is no accident. “You may see different starters from one week to the next, it’s going to be based upon the effort that the players are putting in during the week,” commented Tkach.“This is a little different than it has been in the past, nothing is guaranteed.”
Tkach believes that the offensive line will be another strength of this year’s squad “This is an area that we should have some depth where we didn’t have it last season,” Tkach said. “It’s not just the depth, it’s the attitude. This looks to be a very tough group that we are counting on.”
On the defensive side of the ball, Milford possesses a group of linebackers that have experience and the skill to go with it. Rafiq Henry, Ben Mitzel and Matt Viramontes will anchor this talented group. “These guys all run well to the ball, it’s something that we are very excited about,” stated Tkach. “Looking at it honestly, these guys can be some of the best in the Henlopen South.” Look for Ryan Jones to contribute to this group of players as well.
One of the more noticeable attributes that this year’s squad seems to have is togetherness. It is something Tkach believes will serve this years squad well. “There is a real family feel to this team, something we haven’t seen in a little while,” Tkach commented. “It started in the off-season with the guys putting hard work in the weight room. They are constantly pushing and supporting each other, it’s been great to see.” Talking about goals for this season, Tkach is hoping to turn in a winning season and hopefully make a run at the playoffs. “After the last couple of seasons, we need to start winning again and the rest will take care of itself.” Tkach stated.
Milford will open their season on the road at Cape Henlopen on September 5 and will host Delaware Military Academy on Hall of Fame night, on September12. Start time for both games is 7:30pm.