By Kevin Eickman
One week after defeating a highly regarded Dover team, while doing everything right, the Milford Buccaneers traveled to Camden to face off against a Caesar Rodney team that wascelebrating homecoming. Celebrate is exactly what they did as they handed Milford a 34-7 defeat in a contest which saw Milford do almost nothing right.
The game started quietly enough as both team’s defenses forced three and outs, in what looked to be setting up as a defensive struggle. On the second Milford possession they committed the first of what was many key penalties on the evening. It was a problem that continued all evening along with an offense that at times could not get out of their own way. Following another three and out, Caesar Rodney set up shop at their own 32-yard line.
Going to a no huddle offense the Riders moved the ball rapidly down the field. With chunk plays and Milford not able to provide an answer on defense, CR opened the game’s scoring with a run from five yards out which took just over two minutes.
With the Buccaneers now trailing 7-0 they started their next possession at Midfield and moved the ball deep into Caesar Rodney territory. Faced with a fourth and seven from the Rider’s 19, Milford went to the air but a pass into the end zone fell incomplete.
“We had some chances to score tonight but we just didn’t execute when we needed to,” Coach Shaun Strickland stated. On the drive Milford put the ball on the ground twice, a feat that they would reproduce five times in the game, with CR recovering three of them. “Our offense just really wasn’t focused tonight, we made too many mistakes and you can’t win like that.” Strickland added “We had a good week of practice, we had a good game plan, we just didn’t play like we were capable of.”
The Milford defense held strong on the next possession, allowing them to set up shop at the Rider’s 33-yard line with 9:21 remaining in the second quarter. Milford moved the ball to the 16-yard line before disaster struck. The Bucs fumbled the ball away and the Rider’s set up shop at their own 33-yard line.
It did not take long for the homecoming crowd to get what they wanted as Rodney quarterback struck a 54 yard touchdown pass to receiver Corey Handy. With a successful two-point conversion, Caesar Rodney enjoyed a 16-0 lead. With the Buccaneers next drive ending in yet another lost fumble, the hosts took that 16-0 lead into the locker room.
On the Bucs opening drive of the second half they drove the ball down to midfield and on fourth and long attempted a fake punt. Caesar Rodney was ready for it and took over at their own 49-yard line, with just over 10 minutes remaining. The Riders went to the no huddle offense again and once again the Buccaneers were helpless against it. They took a 21-0 advantage with 7:10 left in the third quarter.
The game also got a little choppy with a player ejected from both teams and the game on the verge of becoming a flag-fest. The officiating crew took a time out and instructed both coaches to speak with their teams and calm them down.
The lone highlight for the Buccaneers came as sophomore quarterback Shawn Saxon connected on a 61-yard touchdown pass to junior Marquis Gillis. With the extra point Milford closed the gap to 21-7, they never threatened again.
The loss dropped Milford to 3-3 [1-3] on the season. The Buccaneers will have a bigger challenge this week as they travel to Smyrna for yet another homecoming contest. When asked where the team goes from here, Strickland responded, “We go back to practice on Monday and we clean up the mistakes we made tonight. We can’t expect to beat anyone if we continue to play this way.”
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