By Kevin Eickman
Heading down to Georgetown to face off against the defending D-1 Champion’s Sussex never was going to be an easy task for the Milford Buccaneers. Still reeling from a 49-0 road homecoming loss to high flying Smyrna, the Bucs were in for a tough test.
“We knew that we were going to be a tough team to beat and would have to be perfect to do it,” Coach Shaun Strickland said. “We had our chances tonight but we made mistakes at key times and paid a big price for it.”
The game began with an auspicious start for Milford as on the second play from scrimmage, Golden Knight’s quarterback Michael Glandon evaded a sack, found his footing and let fly to a wide open receiver. Just like that Milford found themselves in a 7-0 hole thanks to a 76 yard touchdown pass to Central’s Ty Parker for the game’s first score.
Unable to move the ball on their opening drive, the Buccaneers once again handed their hosts a long field to operate on. It did take long for Central to rectify the situation on their end as a running play to the right side by Shihiem Williams busted right open.
“They hit us hard early but to our guys credit they kept fighting,” Strickland said. “You never want to get down like that early but we also had our chances and just couldn’t take advantage of them.”
That was indeed the case for the remainder of the first half as the Buccaneers had solid drives that they could not finish. On multiple occasions Milford drove deep into Central territory only to be held out of the end zone. On the host’s 30-yard line where they faced a fourth and an inch, the Bucs went for it out of the shotgun. The Milford running play never stood a chance as Central blew through the Bucs offensive line to tackle the running back for a loss.
The Buccaneers defense began to find their rhythm, as they forced Central of the field repeatedly. The Milford offense simply could not take advantage of the opportunities with which they were presented. With senior Jabraih Luke and sophomore Marquis Gillis gaining tough yards all night, the Milford running game showed solidly.
Perhaps the most disappointing moment for the Bucs came at the end of a methodical 70 yard drive which saw them reach the Central three yard line. A personal foul penalty on Milford forced the Buccaneers all the way back to the 19-yard line. Two pass plays later Milford turned the ball over on downs, wondering what could have been.
“It was really disappointing to get down there and not come away with a score,” Strickland said. “You can’t commit penalties like some of the ones we did tonight and expect to win. We have to get better at discipline, we can’t continue to beat ourselves.”
Trailing 14-0 to start the second half, Milford hoped to get back in the ball game. Those hopes were be squashed however as the Bucs went three and out to start the third quarter. While a good punt set up Central at their own 29-yard line, it would not make a difference to them.
What followed was a methodical clinic by Central; a 71-yard drive that never saw them put the ball in the air. Play after play the Milford defense searched for an answer but could find none. By the time Central scored from five yards out, the drive had consumed over six minutes of time, all but settling the issue with a 20-0 advantage.
“You have to hand it to Central, they really handed it to us on that drive. We needed to stop them and we just couldn’t get it done,’ commented Strickland. Central would score one final time another big run to set the game’s final score at 27-0.
The loss dropped Milford to 3-5 on the season and ended a brutal road stretch of three road games, all homecoming, against top quality teams. “I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t difficult, we just have to get better and learn from it,” Strickland said. “We have two games left and that is what we are going to concentrate on. We have Poly this week and Lake for our final game, both of them at home. We are going to focus on those and try to get some wins.”
Milford will host Polytech for Homecoming this Friday night at 7:00pm.
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