By Kevin Eickman
Offensive lineman rarely have moments of glory. Offensive lines as a whole however, can sometimes have moments of dominance. That was the case this past Saturday as the Milford Buccaneers football team traveled to Wilmington for the second time in two weeks. This time the 2-1 Bucs would be battling against 3-0 Conrad, a huge early season test.
The first half was probably the worst performance the Buccaneers offensive line had all season. Even though Milford entered halftime with an 8-0 lead, courtesy of a David Bowman touchdown and a safety. Milford had a difficult time moving the ball, struggling for the first time on the ground all season.
Junior offensive lineman Gregory Clark approached coach Shaun Strickland during the intermission and told him that Milford should run to the left side of the offensive line. That side is manned by Clark at Guard and senior Jose Ortiz at tackle. Strickland took the advice of his lineman and the result was one of the best halves that Milford football has seen in years. “Clark said that he felt the line would be able to overpower them and that’s just what they did,” stated Strickland.
Getting the ball at their own thirty yard line to start the second half, Milford went on the march. Make no mistake about it, there was nothing fancy at all with what transpired. Over the next 24 minutes Conrad was fed a steady diet of Bowman and sophomore fullback Dominic Hovington, along with a side of freshman Rahshawn Price for desert.
Play after play the Buccaneer offensive line just kept pushing their hosts backwards, their dominance was so complete, the Conrad ran only six offensive plays in the third quarter. Hovington would finish off the four minute plus drive with a 10 yard touchdown run, right through the heart of the Conrad defense.
Then came a look at the second half Milford defense, who while good in the first half, was outstanding in the second. Playing with a fierce conviction, Milford forced a three and out, once again putting the Milford offense on the field against a gassed Conrad defense. “Our defense was solid all day, but I was really impressed with how they were able to raise their level in the second half,” said Strickland.
On the ensuing Milford drive, it was more of the same. Taking over at the Conrad 40 yard line, the Buccaneers once again challenged their hosts to stop them if they could. However, it was becoming obvious there was little Conrad could do to stop Milford. The only difference in this drive would be the way in which Milford capped it, with junior quarterback William Kimmel connecting on a 10 yard touchdown pass with senior Shawn Snowden. Putting Milford up 24-0, with just over four minutes remaining in the third quarter.
The ensuing kickoff would seal the fate of Conrad, as the line drive kick struck one of the Conrad up men. The live ball was recovered by the Buccaneers, once again giving Milford the ball in good field position. At this point the will of the Conrad defensive front was gone. It is a feeling that offensive lineman live for, it is often referred to as “killing it”. Speaking with Clark following the game, it was clear that the offensive line enjoyed it. “When you are dominating like that, it’s a great feeling,” Clark said. “The offensive line had a tough first half, but we got it together and played like we are capable of in the second.”
Bowman would add his second touchdown of the day, this time a 35 yard scamper., while Kimmel would run it in from seven yards out to provide the 36-0 final scored. Bowman was thrilled with the win, as well as how the Bucs responded to the poor first half. “3-1 is a nice record, but we still have a lot of work to do, we are a team looking to get better,” Bowman stated. “We know we didn’t play our best to start the game, but we corrected our problems and played the kind of football we are capable of.”
The road win was especially satisfying for Strickland, who knew that it was going to be a very difficult challenge. “We had to travel up state and play a 3-0 team, who not too many people thought we could compete against,” Strickland said. “We had a rough first half, but we made the adjustments we needed to and accomplished our goal of getting a win.”
Milford will host 0-4 Seaford this Friday at 7:30 for homecoming.