By Kevin Eickman
When you are an 0-6 football team, you do not take anything for granted. That was the case late in Friday’s game as Milford traveled to Seaford. Holding a 14-0 lead, the Buccaneers had just turned the ball over to the Bluejays on a first down play with just over five minutes remaining in the game. Once again the Milford defense would be called upon to stop their hosts, this time with 5:20 remaining in the game. It was a challenge Milford had been up to all evening, this time a stop would all but insure victory. While it probably should not have come to this, senior linebacker Rafiq Henry explained the Buccaneers defense relished the challenge. “We like having the pressure on us, because pressure makes diamond,” Henry said. “We sure shined like one tonight.”
Shine is just what they did, as on the first Seaford play following the Milford turnover allowed the Buccaneers to salt the game away. A pass to the right flat popped off the intended receiver’s hands and floated tantalizingly in the air. Freshman David Bowman saw it right away and headed directly towards the ball. The ball seemed to float in the air for an eternity and when it finally came down it was right in Bowman’s hands.
“When I saw it in the air, I knew I had to get to it, there was no way I was going to miss it,” Bowman stated. Once he secured the ball, Bowman was off to the races. He was untouched as he crossed the goal line for the touchdown and with it Milford’s 21-0 victory.
It was more than just one play that defined Bowman’s night however, as he put in a yeoman like performance. With Milford’s available players limited due to an altercation following the Polytech game, Bowman was called upon to carry almost the entire offensive load. Starting with the game’s opening drive, Bowman was a one man wrecking crew. The Bucs took the ball from deep inside their own territory and proceeded to run right at Seaford. Before the Bluejays knew what hit them, senior quarterback Ricky Armstrong crossed the goal line on a one yard keeper with 8:05 left in the first quarter. With a missed extra point attempt, Milford had an early 6-0 lead.
Things went from good to great as Milford snuffed out a fake punt attempt later in the quarter, the resulting stop allow the Bucs to set up shop at the Seaford 35 yard line. Milford took advantage of their Homecoming hosts benevolence, cashing in the gift a few plays later as Bowman scored his first touchdown of the evening. Bowman also converted the two point attempt, extending Milford’s advantage to 14-0.
Credit has to be given to the Seaford defense, because after the score they clamped down on Milford and made it difficult for them to get anything done on the offensive side of the ball. As the game wore on, it was obvious that Milford would have to do something to try and get Bowman free. The answer came from Bowman himself, as Milford went almost exclusively from the wildcat formation with Bowman calling the signals.
“I wasn’t really expecting to have to put in as much work as I did, but I just had to step it up and get it done,” Bowman commented. “With the guys out tonight, I really had a lot more work than I am used to, but you just have to give it all you have.” While the Milford offense would not score another touchdown, they were able to get out of the shadows of their own goal post, easing the pressure that had been mounting on the defense.
Talking with coach Mike Tkach after the game, he was pleased that his team was able to come away with the victory, even though they were missing six players for the game. “It was one of those ugly ones, but when all is said and done we got the win we wanted,” Tkach stated. “Having six players not available tonight was a challenge, but guys stepped up tonight and got it done.”
Seeing their first varsity action on that night, juniors Philip Ruiz and Adam Funkhouser pressed into action in the defensive backfield, both having solid games. Next up 1-6 Milford will host 3-4 Woodbridge in their Homecoming game, this Friday at 7:30pm.