By Kevin Eickman
The opening series of the game gave little indication of the defensive slug fest it would turn into. On just their fourth play of the game, senior William Kimmel connected on a wide receiver screen with senior Brion Murray. After shaking a tackle, Murray was off to the races and would not stop until he hit pay dirt 78 yards later.
“When I got the ball my blocking was right where it needed to be and I just had to take off for the score,” Murray stated. Following the two point conversion Milford held an 8-0 lead with 8:14 left in the first period.
The Seahawks held a 3-0 lifetime record over the Buccaneers, headed into last Friday’s game at Briggs stadium. Delaware Military Academy (DMA) also brought with them a stout defense, that would challenge the Bucs all night. While they knew it would not be easy, the Bucs had little idea how taxing the first half would be. With their defense spending almost the entire first half with their backs to their own goal line, they were asked time and again to answer the call. That would be exactly what the defense would do, all evening long as the Buccaneers pitched a 24-0 shutout against DMA.
“The defense was their all night for us, they had to deal with being under tremendous pressure the entire first half, but they refused to crack,” coach Shaun Strickland said. “This was a total team effort tonight, starting with the ability of our defense to repeatedly keep them out of our endzone.”
The Buccaneers would come up with three stops in the red zone in the first half, the last coming as the Seahawks drove to the Milford five yard line, before senior linebacker Dominyc Hovington was able to sack DMA quarterback Jacob Hudson on fourth and goal. The play was just one of several key plays Milford would make in during the game, just when they seemed to need it the most. “I can’t begin to tell you how important the coaches were tonight. They constantly called the right play at the right time, just when we needed it,” Strickland stated.
Milford finally began to move the ball in the third quarter, driving to the DMA 20 yard line on their opening possession of the half. Although the drive stalled, the Buccaneers finally demonstrated they could move the ball against the Seahawks.
The defense came up big for the Buccaneers again as junior David Bowman picked off a Hudson offering, allowing Milford to set up shop around midfield. The Buccaneers went to a quick tempo attack and the dividends were evident as they moved the ball the best they had all day. A key moment came on third down and 10 when a pitch intended for sophomore Rahshawn Price at the DMA 30 came up short and was lying on the turf for anyone to grab. Price grabbed it and was able to carry the ball to the DMA 10 yard line. The drive culminated on a fourth down play from the DMA six yard line. Kimmel connected with Murray for his second TD reception of the game, an over the shoulder catch which Kimmel dropped into the bucket. With the two point conversion, Milford doubled their advantage to 16-0 with 1:58 left in the third quarter.
Milford was starting to take control of the game and soon would grab it by the throat. After DMA drove into Milford territory, the Buccaneers forced a turnover on downs and set up shop at their own 44 yard line at the start of the fourth quarter. With the way the defense played all night, just a few first downs would be more than enough to put the game away. It was at this point that Milford pulled a rabbit out of their hat. Earlier in the game, the Bucs had run a bit of a gimmick play, with Kimmel pretending to bark out instructions as a direct snap to the running back resulted in a 10 yard gain. As Kimmel repeated his acting performance, DMA was more than ready for the direct snap to the running back. What they were not ready for however, was the reverse to junior wide receiver Marcus Correa, followed by the 56 yard rainbow that he would throw to Kimmel for the games final touchdown.
“We knew that we could have a big play after what we had seen earlier. I told Kimmel to just remember to chill out and let the flow go the other way, then I got you,” Correa stated. On the receiving end of the ball, Kimmel knew it was a touchdown the moment it left Correa’s hand. “Once he let it go, I knew it was a touchdown. I just had to make the grab and run into the endzone. With another two point conversion and the lead pushed to 24-0, the Bucs never looked back.
It was a big night for coach Strickland as his father was inducted into the Hall of Fame on Friday, one he will not soon forget “What an incredible night this was, I can’t begin to describe how thrilled I am with everything. I am the happiest coach in the State right now. I had a group of guys come out and lay it all on the line to get the win.”
While the win was nice, this was a step into what they hope will be bigger things later in the season. Perhaps Murray summed it up best when he talked about what his teammates did in the game. “This team is all about having each other’s back. I made a few mistakes out there tonight, but my teammates were there to pick me up,” Murray said. “The guys are there for each other, that’s what makes us a team.”
Milford will be off this week, before they host Conrad on September 30 at 7:30pm.
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