It looked all too familiar at first for the Milford Buccaneers as they hosted Indian River on a rainy Friday night at Briggs Stadium. Despite having multiple opportunities to put points on the board early, Milford made mistakes and kept the IR team hanging around much too long.
Things looked to start off fantastic for Milford as freshman quarterback hit junior Gaij Coates on what was to be a 56 yard touchdown strike on Milford’s first play from scrimmage. There was just one problem, a flag on the play nullified the score. Milford’s second scoring opportunity of the night came as senior Jonathan Gaglione missed a 41 yard field goal attempt and came up short with 2:40 left in the first quarter.
With 55 seconds remaining in the first, the Buccaneers came up big as they partially blocked a punt and returned it to the Indian River 22 yard line. As the second quarter came to a close, the score was tied at zero. On the first play of the second quarter Saxon was picked off in the end zone, killing another Milford drive. “We got off really slow tonight and that was just one of a few plays we failed to execute on,” coach Shaun Strickland stated. “Maybe it was because the game started at six instead of seven but it took us a while to get in sync.”
Starting at their own 20 yard line the Indian River offense began to move the ball. The key play on the drive came on a fourth and 8 conversion that IR took to mid field. The Buccaneers defense finally stiffened at their own 26 yard line, with Indian River failing to convert on a 36 yard field goal attempt.
The first score of the game was on a 13 yard slant from Saxon to senior and Homecoming King Tyron Mifflin which saw Mifflin bust through a pair of tackles resulting in an 88 yard touchdown strike. Speaking with Mifflin before the game, he indicated that he thought he would have a big evening. “I’m really ready for tonight, I’m fired up,” Mifflin said. “This is the type of team we can throw the ball against I expect to be a part of that.” The Gaglione conversion would make it 7-0 with 6:56 remaining in the first half.
The teams looked to be headed to the locker room knotted at seven as Milford took over on their own 25 yard line with 25 seconds remaining in the half. Milford had other ideas as Sophomore Marquis Gillis took an end around heading towards the left side of the Milford offensive line. The Buccaneers set the edge nicely and when Gillis turned the corner all he could see was open space. “Once I turned it up an looked up field I could see that I had a chance. I just turned on the jets and took off,” commented Gillis. “One guy had a bit of an angle on me but I could see he wasn’t fast enough so I didn’t even need to cut it back.” The Gaglione PAT sent Milford to the locker room holding a 14-0 advantage.
The Buccaneers looked like a different team in the second half. Starting the third quarter with the ball, it took Milford just two plays to score as Indian River attempted an unsuccessful on-side kick off to start the first half. After a short pass play by the Buccaneers, senior Rahshawn Price took it in from 36 yards as Milford stretched the advantage to 21-0 with less than two minutes gone in the second half. The touchdown was the first of a pair for Price who has been very productive in the last few games.
“The offensive line is really getting better by the week. They are making some really good blocks and then when they get up to the second level it really opens up the running game for us,” Price stated.
Things went from good to great for the Buccaneers as Mifflin came up huge on the ensuing Indian River drive, picking off an IR pass attempt at the visitor’s 22 yard line and returned it to the house. Milford extended their lead to 28-0 with 10:17 remaining in the third quarter. “We were aware of there tendency to throw the ball, especially on the slant so we were ready for it,” Strickland stated.
Unfortunately for Milford, Mifflin earned an ejection as he picked up two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties during the course of the game. While it did not impact the Indian River game, he will not be eligible for next week’s crucial game against visiting 8-0 (4-0) Delmar. “It was tough to lose Tyron like that but there is nothing we can do about it now,” Strickland stated.
Following the ejection, Indian River gained their only points of the night as they punched it in from 6 yards out with 3:05 remaining in the third quarter. With a failed extra point, Milford still held the advantage 28-6.
The Buccaneers wasted little time responding as Price took it in from 35 yards out with 2:55 remaining in the third quarter as Milford extended their lead to 35-6. Buccaneer’s senior Dion Warner and junior Rodney Robinson each added running touchdowns to get Milford to the final of 48-6.
The victory for Milford improved their record to 5-3 (3-1) as they prepare to host Delmar on senior night. Anything less than their best could spell doom for Milford. “We have to have a great week of practice and we have to be ready for what is always a team that comes ready to play,” Strickland said. “It’s about assignment football, if everyone doesn’t do their job Delmar will make you pay for it.”
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