By Kevin Eickman
With the regular season winding down, the Milford Buccaneers hosted their final home Henlopen South dual meet of the season this past Wednesday. In hosting Lake Forest, Milford was facing the only other undefeated team in the South. With a victory against the Spartans, the Buccaneers would wrap up the division and the automatic State tournament birth that goes with it. The issue was never in doubt.
Beginning with the very first match, it was quite clear that the Buccaneers were going to continue their dominating ways. After winning by forfeit at 106 pounds, the route was on. Sophomore Robbie Rosser would win by fall at 113 pounds as would the next nine matches for the Bucs. All of the matches ended in pins for the Buccaneers, with the lone exception of senior Adam Funkhouser, whose victory would come by a 16-0 technical fall.
One of the highlights of the evening was the return of junior Jace Darling to the Milford lineup for the first time this season, as he attempts to recover from injury. Along with Darling and Rosser, other victors during the run were Alex Creasey, Gavin Garcia, Bart Dalious, Chase Taylor, Wesley Saint Vil, Bevensky Augustine and Kenny VanVorst. They only question was becoming, could Milford shut out the visitors entirely.
The best match of the evening would come at 195 pounds as Milford junior Dominyc Hovington would battle Lake senior Tervon Hardeman, in a back and forth match. Both wrestlers would have opportunities to pin each other, with each making spectacular moves to escape defeat. The match would turn a a reversal by Hovington, who would go on to earn a 6-5 decision.
With VanVorst and Hovington wrestling at lower weights than usual, it would give Milford freshman Eric Bennett the opportunity to wrestle at 220 pounds. Bennett would succumb to the pin of Lake senior Tony Williams, becoming the lone Buccaneer to suffer a defeat on the evening. Bennett was given the opportunity as coach Don Parsley has an eye towards the future.
“The younger guys are going to grow up and become varsity wrestlers at some point. In the match tonight, Bennett wrestled really well and he was our only loss,” Parsley stated. “He needs that varsity experience so that the next time we get there, we’re a little bit better prepared.”
Following the 74-6 dismantling of Lake, Milford would venture north on Saturday. Their opponent would be the defending Division I champion, Smyrna Eagles. It is part of the plan to face stiff competition, ensuring that the Milford squad is ready for the season. “The idea is to give our guys competition and put them in the fire and see what they got,” said Parsley. “We need our guys to get some quality matches, in preparation for the State Dual’s because everyone is coming with both guns blazing.” While Milford did not win, they most certainly put the Eagles 41 match unbeaten streak in jeopardy, falling 32-30.
This Wednesday Milford will host Cape Henlopen, with the visiting Vikings looking for a win to enhance their tournament resume. First match is set for 6:30.