By Kevin Eickman
It was the kind of night fall football was made for. With a hint of autumn in the air and the sky taking a brief respite from dumping rain on everyone, the weather was perfect as Milford traveled to Seaford to battle the Blue jays. With both teams sporting a 1-2 record as they entered the Henlopen South portion of their schedule, a victory was a must for both teams.
While it took a little while for the Buccaneers to get going, once they they started moving the Milford offense was a force on the ground and in the air. Defense and special teams showed up to play as well, with the Buccaneers earning the victory via a total team effort.
On their second series of the game Seaford worked their way into Milford territory before the Buccaneers defense stiffened and stopped the Blue jays cold on a fourth down attempt from the Milford 35 yard line. Following the stop, the Buccaneer offense put on a clinic.
Milford quickly worked their way out of their own territory and across midfield. The Buccaneers hit the board first on a 45 yard jaunt from senior Rahshawn Price. Senior Jonathan Gaglione connected on the first of his seven extra points on the evening as Milford jumped up to out to a 7-0 lead at the 6:35 mark of the first quarter, from which they would never look back.
On the ensuing drive Milford forced a three and out, setting up one of the most exciting plays of the evening. The Seaford punt was fairly high and was returned by Buccaneer senior Tyron Mifflin 55 yards for a touchdown.
“When I saw how high the punt was my first instinct was to fair catch it. I took a quick look and could see there might be room for a return so I took a shot,” Mifflin said. “Once I saw how the blocking was setting up I could see the crease and then I just took off.” Milford doubled their lead to 14-0 with 4:58 still remaining in the first quarter.
With the Buccaneers remaining stout on defense the inevitability of a blowout was beginning to take shape. As the second quarter got underway, Milford once again found themselves in Seaford territory. The touchdown this time came via the air as freshman quarterback Shawn Saxon connected junior Gaij Copes on a 37 yard touchdown pass. The touchdown pass was the first of the Milford freshman’s career.
“When I got to the line I could see that the out was going to be there so it was a pretty easy read to make,” commented Saxon. “It was nice to get my first touchdown pass, but it was all about getting the win tonight.”
Things went from bad to worse for Seaford as they fumbled the ensuing kick-off allowing Milford to set up shop at the Blue jay 17 yard line. Milford made quick work of the drive as senior Tayone’ Matthews took it in from five yards out as the Buccaneers extended their lead to 28-0 with 10:22 remaining in the second quarter. Matthews has been solid on both sides of the ball this season and has been standing out on the field.
“With me and Shawn swapping in and out at quarterback, we are really able to show the other teams some different looks,” Matthews stated. “I can see us getting better each game and I feel like we haven’t even played our best yet.”
The only drama remaining for Milford would be self inflicted. With Seaford on offense they began to travel down the field with the aid of multiple penalties committed by the Bucs. As the Blue jays entered deep into Milford territory, coach Shaun Strickland utilized a Milford time out to settle down his defense “We made some mistakes tonight that we have to fix, we can’t help the other team work their way down the field,” Strickland stated. The Buccaneers finally stopped the Blue jays at the Milford seven yard line.
With their backs to their own endzone, Milford figured they needed a little breathing room and they got that and more on their very next play. Saxon dropped back and let fly as Mifflin streaked down the right side with single coverage. Mifflin made an adjustment coming back to the ball and then found some open field. With Seaford unable to catch up to him, Mifflin ended up with a 94 yard touchdown reception extending the Milford lead to 35-0 late in the 2nd quarter. It was at this point that the Seaford coach requested a running clock.
Milford entered the locker room with a 42-0 advantage as senior Caleb Watson ran it in from seven yards out for the final score of the first half. Senior Kadin Bates closed out the Milford scoring as he took it in from four yards out early in the third quarter.
While the Buccaneers did not record a shutout, as they gave up a late touchdown, the victory raised their record to 2-2 as they prepare to host a Laurel team sporting and identical 2-2 record and an offense averaging 42 points per game. “Laurel has looked very good this year and it’s we are going to have to put together a solid week of practice and come ready to play next Friday night,” Strickland stated.
The game will kick at 7pm.
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