By Kevin Eickman
While the Milford Buccaneers’ trip to the State title game last season was a big achievement, it is just that, last year’s news. While the 2018 version of the Buccaneers will be similar in some regards, some key holes due to graduation are going to have to be filled. Three players who have moved on are Thomas Eisenbrey, Jordan Waters and David Bowman Jr, three players who participated in this year’s Blue-Gold game. While the losses are substantial, Milford coach Shaun Strickland believes his squad has the moxie to fill the void.
“This is high school football, you lose players every year to graduation and this season is no different,” Strickland said. “We have been building this program up for a while now and believe that we can be competitive this year.”
The Buccaneers have always relied on defense and the running game and this year looks to be shaping up the same way. The offensive line will be anchored by returning senior and captain, Ritchy Corvil. The two-way standout is highly regarded and it was easy to see his play improve last season during his junior campaign.
“Ritchy and Toledo and all of the lineman have really been putting in the work and it shows on the field,” Strickland commented.
The running back position will be led by senior and captain Rahshawn Price. While Bowman may have cast a large shadow during his time on the Buccaneers, Price has continually shown the skills to be a feature back and should do well this season.
“Rhashawn has always been a hard worker and this year has been no different, it’s going to be great to see him get more touches this season,” Strickland said.
The quarterback position will see the return of senior Tayone’ Matthews who is looking to improve off of last season. Another quarterback to keep an eye out for will be freshman Shawn Saxon who has looked impressive in practice as well as a 7 on 7 scrimmage at North Caroline last Monday. Also vying for time under center has been sophomore Kenny Reed and senior Brandon Jones. Strickland feels confident this group has what it takes to succeed.
“I am really happy with the quarterbacks as a group. Each one brings something to the table and they have been working really well together,” he said.
Another player to keep an eye out for will be sophomore Marquis Gillis who is coming off an impressive freshman season. Gillis will be playing both wide receiver and cornerback this year and Strickland is expecting a leap forward this season. “Marquis showed up in phenomenal shape and has a great camp.” An additional wide receiver to watch is junior Jabraih Luke who transferred into Milford late last year. Strickland thinks the pairing with Gillis will pay dividends .“Luke has been outstanding on both sides of the ball, he really has a solid game and a great attitude.”
Just like last season Milford has three Division I opponents on their schedule, with Sussex Tech, Polytech and Cape Henlopen set to offer some stiff competition. The Buccaneers’ lone non-conference Division II opponent will be against playoff contender Delaware Military Academy as they square off under the light for Saturday night game at Baynard stadium.
Beyond those challenges, Milford resides in the deepest Division II conference in the State, competing in the Henlopen South. Over the last few years the South has flexed their muscles with Woodbridge and Delmar both capturing State titles. Speaking with Strickland however, it goes much deeper than that “The Henlopen South is full of quality teams. While there are teams that have some off years, they always come back and they always rebuild,” Strickland said. “You can’t take any team for granted down here, they are always looking to take you down no matter who they are.”
Milford will start their season hosting Sussex Tech on September 7 which is also Hall of Fame night. This year the Bucs will be enshrining the 2008 championship squad. Kick is set for 7pm.
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