By Kevin Eickman
Coming off what was essentially a bye week, since their 24-0 victory over DMA, Milford was attacking visiting Conrad from the opening whistle. After being held primarily in check against DMA, the goal was to get the running game going. When you think about the Milford running game, the first name that comes to mind is junior DJ Bowman. On Friday night, Bowman would turn in a vintage three touchdown performance, with two touchdowns coming on the ground and a third coming via the air.
At first glance it seemed like it was just a typical night for Bowman. Running for over a 100 yards, Bowman looked much more free as he, along with the rest of the Buccaneer running backs , was gaining yards in chunks. A good example was the very first Milford drive of the game, when the Buccaneers carved up the Conrad defense on a 53 yard drive. Capping the trip to the endzone with at 29 yard Bowman run with just over two minutes gone in the game.
While Bowman may have gotten the glory, the credit not only went to the offensive line, but to the Buccaneers wide receivers as well. All evening long, the Milford receivers were continuing their assignments to the whistle. Senior Brion Murray and junior Marcus Correa gave an incredible effort driving the Conrad defenders backwards, helping what would normally be a three or four yard gain into plays of 10 yards or more. From the start of the play, until the whistle, Murray and Correa were relentless.
“When you take a look at what those guys did tonight, it was incredible,” coach Shaun Strickland stated. “When we looked at the film from DMA, we thought that we left yards on the field. So those guys dug deeper and because of their hard work we had some huge gains.”
The first quarter must have seemed like a blur to Conrad, with the Buccaneer defense flying to the ball and the offense imposing their will on the visitors. The Milford defense continued their dominance, forcing the second consecutive three and out to start the game. Milford once again went on the march. This time it would be sophomore Rahshawn Price getting the honor, as he turned in a spectacular 42 yard touchdown to give the Buccaneers a 14-0 lead, with 6:02 still to go in the first quarter.
It would be more of the same for the Bucs, holding Conrad to another three and out and setting up shop on the Conrad 43 yard line. It would be more of Mr. Bowman as he ripped off two long runs, the second being a 25 yard run to put Milford up 20-0 with 4:02 left to go in the first quarter. Bowman was thrilled to be contributing big plays after what he considered to be a slow start to the season.
“I really haven’t been thrilled with my first few games, but I really felt like I had a good rhythm tonight,” Bowman said. “I have to say though, with the blocking I got tonight it was easy. Everyone, I mean everyone was holding their blocking and it made things so much easier. “
With Conrad starting to press up more on the line of scrimmage, Milford began to take advantage of it by going through the air. Early in the second quarter, senior quarterback William Kimmel was forced out of the pocket. Looking down field he spotted Bowman streaking down the left sideline. Kimmel would hit Bowman in stride and he was off to the races. The next stop would be 78 yards later in the Conrad endzone, for Bowman’s third touchdown of the night. “I was just about to tuck the ball and run up the field and try to get what I could out of the play, when I just caught DJ out of the corner of my eye. I got it to him real quick and he did the rest,” Kimmel stated. Following the two point conversion, Milford had a very comfortable 28-0 lead early in the third quarter.
The Milford defense, which had not allowed any points all season prior to Friday night’s game, did allow some big plays during the course of the evening. The first would come with just over seven minutes remaining in the first half as the Buccaneers allowed a 37 yard completion to a wide open receiver. Instead of stiffening as they usually do, Conrad took just three plays to cover the next 25 yards to pay dirt. “We had a few lapses tonight and that was one of them. We left a guy open and we paid a price for it, that really shouldn’t happen,” Strickland said. “There were times we lost focus tonight. That can happen when you have breaks between games, you can let down at times.”
Milford would come out of the locker room and add to their 28-7 lead on the first drive of the second half. Following a 28 yard catch and run by Murray, senior Dominyc Hovington would cash it in from two yards out for the first touchdown of the half. With the two point conversion, the Buccaneers were now on the correct side of a 36-7 score.
Kimmel would tally the final Buc touchdown of the night with a one yard keeper. After taking the 42-7 lead, the Buccaneers would allow a late touchdown as their record improved to 4-0. Milford received credit for a forfeit from Saint Andrew’s, earlier in the week, giving them the additional victory. While the record is nice, Kimmel believes that Milford’s best football may be ahead of them. “Every week we have to get better. Every practice we need to be focused and keep on improving,” commented Kimmel. “I don’t think that we have played our best football yet, we can be better.”
Milford will travel to Seaford this Friday as they start their Henlopen South conference schedule. “We know that the South is a real tough conference, so we have to keep getting better and we have to remain focused,” stated Strickland. “There are some things we need to clean up going forward. We will be going up against some very solid teams and will pay dearly if we make some of the mistakes we made tonight.”
The Buccaneers next home game will be on the October 14 as the host Indian River for Homecoming.
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