By Kevin Eickman
It was all up to the offensive line now. Laurel had closed the gap to 11 points and the Buccaneers looked to be on the ropes. After having gone ahead 36-13 with just over eight minutes left in the game, it looked like it was going to be smooth sailing to their seventh victory of the season. The Laurel running game, which had been dormant for most of the second half, sprang to life and just like that they had narrowed the gap to 36-19. On Milford’s next series, they would gift the visiting Bulldogs a defensive touchdown with just over six minutes left, resurrecting a game that had looked all but over.
What followed over the next six minutes was a text book lesson on killing the clock. Milford’s methodical, time consuming 80 yard drive used up all but a few seconds of clock. The drive culminated in the games final touchdown, a two yard run from senior Tymire Riddick.
“That final drive showed you what this team is all about, it’s about getting to work and getting the job done,” coach Shaun Strickland stated. “This is about all the hard work the guys put in off the field, it’s why we were able to finish when we needed it the most.”
The final drive was a long way from the beginning of the game, which saw Milford fall behind early in the first quarter after their defense had been uncharacteristically pushed around by the visiting Bulldogs. Milford found themselves trailing 7-0 with 1:44 left in the opening quarter, looking to find a way to move the ball against Laurel after the Buccaneer running game had been stuffed repeatedly.
The answer would come in the person of senior quarterback William Kimmel and the Buccaneers wide receivers. After returning the ensuing kick-off their own 45 yard line, the Milford Buccaneers air show was about to begin. Kimmel found senior Brion Murray streaking down the left sideline, hitting him in stride for a 55 yard scoring strike. It was just the confidence builder that Milford had been hoping for.
“We knew we were going to have to throw it to win, there was no doubt about it,” Kimmel said. “I know with the line I have and the receivers I have, it’s about me just putting the ball where it needs to be and just letting them do the hard work.” The two point conversion would give Milford their first lead of the night 8-7 with 51 seconds to go in the quarter.
Laurel would be quick to respond however, once again driving down the field and regaining the lead. The key play on the drive would be a fake punt. The extra point would fail and Laurel would regain the lead 13-8, it would be their last.
Kimmel started lighting up the Laurel secondary with junior Marcus Correa, joining Murray in providing match up problems, that Laurel would fail to adjust to all game long. Milford moved quickly down the field, regaining the lead for good as Kimmel found Murray once again for pay dirt, this time from just six yards out. Murray would later provide a second 55 yard reception later in the game, as he would end up collecting five receptions on the evening. “Once we went to the air, things really started to open up for us. Kimmel was throwing the ball right where it needed to be tonight, it was about me turning and locating the ball, which he made real easy tonight,” Murray stated.
Correa would get into the scoring column as well, turning in a leaping circus style 25 yard touchdown catch, which would be the last of Kimmel’s three passing TD’s on the evening. Kimmel along with senior Dominyc Hovington would add rushing scores to provide the icing on the cake for the evening as Milford would improve to 7-0 (3-0) in the Henlopen South.
The pressure is about to ratchet up for Milford this week as the travel down to Woodbridge to battle the equally impressive 7-0 (3-0) Blue Raiders. There is little doubt that Milford knows that they have their work cut our for them. “That is a real good team down there, the topped ranked team in the State,” Strickland stated. “We have to show up ready to work on Monday and be at our very best all week if we want to even have a chance against them.”
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