By Kevin Eickman
Ten years may seem like a long time. In those ten years, however, it has been a great pleasure to watch the Milford lacrosse team go from a laughingstock to a team that has been consistently on the rise. While the graph has not always been pointing straight up during this time, make no mistake about it, Milford lacrosse has been crossing the divide of the have and have not’s of Delaware High School lacrosse. At the helm for the last seven of those years has been 2006 graduate, Blake Faulkner.
The last time the Buccaneers took the field was a 20-8 defeat at the hands of 2019 Division I State Title runners-up, Salesianum. It was a road game against a top-ranked team that saw Milford fall behind early, it was also a game in which Milford realized that it could compete against the “big boys.” After an atrocious first quarter, filled with nerves and mistakes, Milford found itself behind 10-1 as the horn sounded for the end of the first quarter. The Buccaneers would outscore their hosts 10-7 the rest of the game. That was the moment, that was the time that Faulkner really knew that his team was on the way to taking the next step. “We had a team filled with juniors and they didn’t hang their heads, they didn’t quit, they just dug in and played the best three-quarters of lacrosse I had ever seen from them,” he said.
Milford raised the bar that evening and with an upgraded schedule and a solid core of returning seniors, the mark for this year’s squad was set high. And then along came COVID-19. “I can’t tell you how much I hurt for those guys, Alex Herka, Conor Christie, Charles Hayes and all the rest of the returning seniors, were all poised for big a big senior season,” Faulkner continued. “In the grand scale of what is going on in the world today, it’s not the greatest of tragedies, but it really is a regret that they didn’t get a chance to play that one final season together.”
During his time as a student at Milford, Faulkner enjoyed the school’s culture and has always been keen at coming back to lead the lacrosse team he was once a part of. “This was a fantastic place to go to school. I was with the friends that I grew up with and the teachers and staff were fantastic,” he said. “I always knew in my heart that I wanted to coach lacrosse here, now that I am doing it, I am having a great time watching the program grow. In my mind, we are poised to take the next step and prove what kind of team we can be.”
Faulkner chose to play only one year of college lacrosse, a decision that he looks back on with a bit of regret, but at the time it was the decision that was best for his educational goals. “I would have liked to have played; it just didn’t fit my path at the time. Would I have liked to have played? Yes,” Faulkner said. “Without that decision, however, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”
Faulkner graduated from Delaware State University with a degree in Mathematics Education and presently teaches at Cape Henlopen, performing double duty as the Milford coach. He is in the process of pursuing his Master’s in Administration and plans to continue on the path to receive his Doctorate. “There is always value in education, it is something I preach to my students and my players,” he said.
Faulkner likes to spend his off time with his family, going to the beach and playing golf. He is in a serious relationship with his girlfriend Susan Jordan. His parents are Paul and Ann, with a sister named Amber.