By Kevin Eickman
When you speak to almost anyone from Delaware Foundation reaching Citizens (DFRC) they will inevitably come around to the fact that in the end it is all about family. This year was a little truer from the standpoint of Milford and the Henlopen Conference.
Besides Milford players Ritchy Corvil and Rahsawn Price, the Milford family ties ran deep in this year’s version of the annual football game. In addition to Buccaneers’ coach Shaun Strickland on the staff, the Buccaneer family was also represented by former Milford head coach Mike Tkach who now coaches at Cape Henlopen. Rounding out the portion of the staff was Milford graduate and now Woodbridge head coach Jed Bell.
Strickland embraced the moment to coach Price and Corvil for one final time. “Knowing these young men for four years has been incredible,” said Strickland. “They carry themselves the way we want all our players to. They are strong competitors but more importantly quality individuals that they are. It was a joy to coach them one final time.”
Corvil and Price, who have both committed to Delaware State University, both played key roles on what was the final score of a wild 38-24 Gold victory. With the Blue team trailing by just seven with a little over two minutes remaining, the stage was set for the final carry of Price’s high school career. From the Blue fifteen yard line the Gold put the ball in Price’s hands as they ran to the left side of a sagging Blue defensive line. With Corvil sealing his man inside, Price bounced outside and took it to the house to settle the issue.
“It was really great to get Rah in the endzone there. When I heard the play call, I just wanted to do my job and give him a chance and he did all the rest,” Corvil stated. As for Price he was happy but reserved about the score. “It was nice to score, we have been working hard all week but I was just one of the guys who scored tonight.”
Gold found themselves in a deep hole late in the first quarter as a pair of pick sixes handed Blue a 24-7 lead with just 33 seconds remaining. It was at that moment that the Woodbridge players began to shine. Blue Raider Gabe Wescott took the ensuing kick-off 72 yards for a momentum-swinging touchdown. Following a failed extra point attempt, Gold entered the locker room trailing 24-13. With the way the Gold offensive line was controlling the line of scrimmage it was obvious the game was far from over.
After holding the initial Blue drive of the second half, the Gold squad imposed their will on Blue. The offense started to click and the defense upped its game as well. It looked to be just a matter of time before Gold found the end zone. At the 6:13 mark of the third quarter Wescott made a spectacular one-handed 24 yard touchdown reception to close the gap 24-19. On the play Wescott was well covered by the defender but still came up with one of the best receptions of the game.
Gold took the lead for good following a textbook drive which culminated in a three yard touchdown run by Te’Shawn Denard from Delmar. Another score followed that from Brian Benson of Saint Georges who took a run over the every strengthening left side of the Gold offensive line to extend the Gold’s advantage to 31-24 with six minutes remaining in the game.
Woodbridge players ruled the day, inspired by the lack of Troy Haynes who is battling cancer. Even with the heroics of Wescott, the games most outstanding player was Jamon Kane who had 123 yards and a touchdown on an astonishing 29 carries. Wescott was also recognized with the Outstanding Leadership Award. When asked about his players work during the game, Bell said he expected nothing less.
“We were motivated, I can’t say it was a surprise,” said Bell. “These guys are outstanding athletes and were out there playing for their brother tonight. There was never any doubt in my mind that they were going to shine.”
Coach Tkach, who still resides in Milford, also had the pleasure of coaching his son Patrick, who was a water boy on the 2008 Milford team that won the Delaware State Championship. When Patrick was asked during a Gold scrimmage in Milford how it felt to be back where it all started, he said, “When you stop and think about how long ago that was, it feels like it was just yesterday. My father has been there every step of the way and to be able to step on this field with him one last time is very special.”
Speaking with Coach Tkach following the game, he was thrilled to spend one more game on the sidelines with his son. “To have this one last chance is very difficult to describe, he said. “I am proud of him and how hard he worked. This is a moment I will always treasure.”
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