By Kevin Eickman
As the Milford Buccaneers headed down to Lewes to battle Cape Henlopen this past Friday the mission was clear, anything less than their best was not going to cut it. One week after being sliced and diced by Woodbridge, Milford could ill afford to lay another egg. Winning on the road can be tough, and winning at another team’s Homecoming doesn’t make it easier. When Milford needed it most they came up with their best team effort of the season.
“We had a really good week of practice this week,” Bucs coach Shaun Strickland stated. “Last week was last week and this week is this week. We put Woodbridge behind us and focused on our opponent, just like we have to do every week.”
There was no secret to the Buccaneers success on the evening as the game was decided in the trenches. The Buccaneers got their first score on the evening as Milford quarterback freshman Shawn Saxon threw to senior Tyron Mifflin on a 22 yard scoring strike. Saxon hit Mifflin at the 7 yard line as Mifflin broke though two Cape defenders to find pay dirt. Senior Jonathan Gaglione converted the extra point and Milford had a 7-0 lead with 7:52 remaining in the first quarter.
The Buccaneers defensive unit was solid to start the game and remained so for most of the evening. After stopping the Viking’s on successive possessions, the Milford ground game started gaining yards in chunks. The second score of the game came on a 25 yard touchdown jaunt by sophomore Kadin Bates as Milford doubled their advantage to 14-0; with 3:45 still to go in the first.
The Vikings threatened to make a game of it on their ensuing possession. With some big running plays and a few key completions Cape traveled deep into Milford territory. Goal line defense is all about attitude and the Milford defense demonstrated plenty of it as they turned away Cape on four plays from inside the Bucs five yard line. The highlight of the stop came on fourth and one as the Buccaneers front overpowered the Cape offensive line to keep them out of the endzone.
“We knew they could still make a game of it at that point and we weren’t going to let them do it,” senior Ritchy Corvil said. “We knew it was our job to stop them so we all stepped up and did it.”
With Milford taking over at the Cape one yard line there was some work to be done. After a quarterback sneak to give Milford a little breathing room, senior Rahshawn Price took a hand off to the right and proceeded to travel 94 yards for a Buccaneers touchdown. The 21-0 lead came with just under seven minutes remaining in the first half.
“Like they did all night the line and everyone else gave me great blocking,” Price commented. “Everyone dreams about breaking a big run like that so it felt awesome, 94 yards is long way to go.”
Milford scored one last time in the first half as Gaglione made a 21 yard field goal as the clock hit zero, sending both teams to the locker rooms with 24-0 advantage.
Following the halftime Homecoming festivities, the Milford offensive line erased any doubt of a Cape comeback as the Bucs traveled 75 yards, gashing the Vikings defense as Buccaneers junior Rodney Robinson took it in from one yard out. ith 7:51 remaining in the third quarter, Gaglione made the lead 31-0.
The offensive line was an efficient machine all evening. Speaking with a pair of Buccaneer lineman following the game there was little doubt they were focused and ready. “We worked as a team out there tonight, everyone did their job and when we all complete our assignments we are hard to stop,” senior Jacob Bryant stated. Fellow lineman junior Antoine Johnson knew it was important to rebound after last weeks loss. “Last week presented us adversity and we needed to overcome that. We needed to get back to playing Buc football and that’s just what we did tonight.”
Buccaneer sophomore Jabraih Luke closed out the scoring on the evening as he took a hand off and traveled 48 yards for the games final touchdown. The touchdown and PAT gave Milford a 38-0 lead and the luxury of a running clock. “We really needed tonight, we had to have it. To have the team come out and give their best effort of the season was very important to us,” Strickland said. “As good as we played this week, we have another game coming up. We are at the point that we need to bring our A game every week, every night. Anything less from this point on is unacceptable.”
Milford will host Indian River for Homecoming this Friday. The game is set to start at 7 PM.
Sign up for you free digital subscription of The Weekly Review, delivered directly to your email every Tuesday morning. A quick cover-to-cover read to catch up on the news of the week and experience great stories about our local communities. Sign up for your free email subscription below.