On a humid night at Briggs Stadium on Friday a young Buccaneers team looked just that, young. With a plethora of penalties and the disadvantage of being forced to play from behind, the Bucs were up against it all evening. While the defeat stung, there were enough good things that happened to provide hope as the season moves forward.
“We have some inexperienced players who went up against a well prepared team tonight,” coach Shaun Strickland stated. “We got beat tonight but there were also some positive things that we can take out of the game.”
The game started out difficult for Milford as Sussex Tech took the opening drive and drove into Milford territory. When the Milford defense held, Tech showed confidence in their kicking game as they attempted a 50-yard field goal that sailed right of the goal posts.
After taking over at their own 20, Milford could do little on offense and after a three and out the Ravens took over at the Buccaneers 45 yard line with 5:55 left in the first quarter. After a first down, Tech’s Andrell Fulton toted the rock 31 yards to pay dirt and the games first score with 3:36 remaining in the first quarter to establish a 7-0 advantage.
Things would go from bad to worse for Milford after failing to obtain a first down once again. Disaster would strike as Tech senior Michael Norsworthy returned the punt for a 45 yard touchdown with 1:11 still remaining in the opening stanza.
Following a 30 minute delay due to lightning in the area, the Buccaneers came out to start the second quarter with a new determination on offense. Mixing the run and pass well, keyed by a 30 yard trap play to sophomore Marquis Gillis, the Buccaneers worked their way deep into Raven territory. Junior Rodney Robinson took it in from six yards out carrying a host of Ravens on his back to halve the deficit to 14-7 with just over 10 minutes remaining in the second quarter. Unfortunately for Milford it was as close as they would get for the rest of the evening.
Milford started the second half on offense but once again could do nothing. When Tech took over on their own 39 yard line, following the Buccaneers three and out, the Ravens came out on the field ready to settle the issue. Fulton took an inside trap play up the gut and saw nothing but open space in front of him. The sophomore hit the gas and the only thing that stopped him was the official’s whistle as he crossed the goal line and the Ravens extended their advantage to 21-7. Milford never seriously challenged again. Milford’s final score would come on a 72-yard touchdown run from senior Dion Warner as the fourth quarter expired. The Buccaneers did not even attempt the extra point as the two teams shook hands.
Seeing significant time under center was freshman Shawn Saxon who had both positive and negative moments as he tried to come from behind. It is difficult for a freshman to come in and be successful but there were glimpses of what could be. “Shawn had a nice drive in the second quarter and looked good at times. He also made a few mistakes which you would expect from a freshman,” Strickland stated.
Perhaps the most troubling issue for the Bucs was that mistakes were both abundant and critical. “The amount of mistakes we made tonight was completely unacceptable. There were times when we could have gotten the defense off the field but we didn’t because of a penalty,” coach Shaun Strickland said. “We can’t get an offensive first down called back because guys don’t know how to line up, we just can’t do it. The one thing about these mistakes is, they are all fixable and we are going to do it.”
Milford will travel north next Saturday evening to battle DMA. Kick is set for 7 pm.
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