By Kevin Eickman
The Achilles’s heel for the Milford Buccaneers football team has been giving up big plays on defense. This past Friday as Milford hosted Woodbridge before a fired up Homecoming crowd, it would be those big plays that would prove their undoing. With the Blue Raiders featuring highly touted quarterback Logan Wescott, the Buccaneers defense played arguably their best game of the season. However, a player of Wescott’s quality can strike at any time and that is just what happened.
On just the second offensive snap of the game, Wescott faked a hand off up the middle and took the ball around the left side of the sucked in Milford defense. Wescott was off to the races and in what seemed like the blink of an eye, had traveled 50 yards for the games first score. Just a minute and a half into the game, Milford had surrendered the games first score. A missed extra point would set the deficit at 6-0 and raised serious doubt as to whether Milford would be able to hang with the visiting Blue Raiders.
With Milford not being able to do much on their first possession, Woodbridge looked as if they were getting ready for a big night. A funny thing happened on their way to the blowout however as the Milford defense found their feet. With time winding down in the first quarter, Wescott threw a rocket towards his intended receiver. There was just one problem, between Wescott and the intended target was Milford senior linebacker Ben Mitzel. Intercepting the ball at the Woodbridge 35 yard line, Mitzel weaved his way through would be tacklers and somehow managed to find his way to the end zone. While Milford would miss the extra point, their spirits were clearly lifted.
“Mitzel made a big play there, it was exactly what we have been looking for,” coach Mike Tkach stated.
It looked as if Milford could really take control of the game as senior Junior Lamur Blocked a Woodbridge punt on the Blue Raiders next possession. Although given great field position at the Woodbridge 25 yard line, Milford could do nothing. A defensive battle was waged for the remainder of the half, with neither offense able to move the ball consistently. It looked as if Milford had shot themselves in the foot, turning the ball over in the shadow of their own goal posts. The defense stood tall and the teams entered the locker rooms knotted at six.
In the second half the Milford defense continued to impress, stopping Woodbridge cold on their first three possessions. With the Woodbridge defense sharp as well, something had to be done. The answer for Milford came in the answer of freshman phenom David Bowman. Called on to run the Wildcat offense in the fourth quarter, Bowman responded for the second week in a row. Milford moved the ball down the field and found themselves at the Woodbridge 11 yard line. Bowman was able to score from there and give Milford the 12-6 lead with 9:08 left in the game.
Thinks looked to get even better for Milford as Woodbridge found themselves pinned at their own five yard line to begin the next series. Players like Wescott are special however, and those present got a chance to see how special he is. With the Milford pass rush bearing down on him, Wescott let go with a perfect spiral. The ball traveled 50 yards in the air and right into the hands of Garrett Temple, who ran the other 45 yards for a touchdown. “We got caught in a bit of a defensive rotation there and had a linebacker trying to cover someone much faster than him,” coach Tkach stated.
Following the successful two point conversion by Woodbridge, Milford trailed 13-12. Pressing a bit too much Milford quarterback Ricky Armstrong would be intercepted and Woodbridge would need to travel just 1 yard to extend their lead to 20-12.
Milford showed lots of heart however, as with time winding down they managed to drive deep into Woodbridge territory. Milford took their shots from inside the 25, they just could not get it done. While it was a good game, much better than most had expected, it had once again ended in defeat. “Our guys played wonderful tonight, it was a real tough game to lose,” Tkach said. “While it’s still a loss, you have to admire the heart that everybody on this team played with tonight.”
Milford will play 6-2 Laurel next Friday at home. Kick-off is 7:30pm and Senior Night ceremonies will be held at halftime.