At the halfway mark of the regular season, the Milford Buccaneers head into their homecoming game looking to move up in the standings, as the most important games of the year are ahead.
After going 9-1 last season, things have come as easily for the Bucs, who are not only now on every team’s radar after their impressive 2016 campaign, but have also already endured a much tougher schedule this time around.
Down the home stretch, each and every week’s game is vitally important not only for the Bucs, but for any team hoping to make a postseason run in the state tournament.
Through five games, the Bucs sit at 3-2 on the year, fresh off two-straight shutout victories over Seaford and Laurel.
Milford opened the season with a 3-0 victory over Sussex Tech before dropping two straight, first to DMA by just a point (24-23) and to the surprise team in the Henlopen conference Polytech (16-7).
The Bucs bounced back with a blowout win over Seaford to break the two game losing streak and get them back to .500 and followed that up with another impressive win over Laurel last week 25-0.
“Through five games, I feel we’re making progress week in and week out,” said Milford Head Coach Shaun Strickland. “We are very young and inexperienced this year, with only five or six guys who returned in starting positions from last year - each week we strive to become better as a team.”
Friday night Milford will host another Henlopen South squad after taking on Laurel last Friday, in one of the top contenders in Division II football, Woodbridge.
The Blue Raiders entered last Friday’s action undefeated through four games, having beaten the likes of Cambridge-South Dorchester High (Md.), Dover, Wilmington Friends and the aforementioned Laurel Bulldogs.
Woodbridge quarterback Troy Haynes, along with skilled weapons at wideout, Gabriel Wescott and Michael Brewer, have the Blue Raiders offense clicking. They scored 20 or more points in each of their first four games, and 30 plus in three of those games.
Meanwhile, Woodbridge’s defense held three of their first four opponents to 14 points or less, including a shutout against Laurel.
While the Blue Raiders have impact players on both ends of the ball, Milford has some weapons of their own.
In the backfield, David Bowman has quickly become one of the state’s most dangerous running backs, capable of breaking off a big play in an instant. On the same end of the ball, junior quarterback Tayone’ Matthews is progressing as the Bucs’ signal caller and hopes for more improvement down the home stretch of the season.
Jerry Williams is coming off a big game against Seaford, leading the charge for a Bucs defense that has shutout two opponents this season.
Though, moving ahead to a big homecoming game against a talented Woodbridge team, there’s areas Milford would like to improve.
“Our improvements need to be in the areas of discipline and executions - penalties are taking us out of great field position, stalling drives, giving team’s second chances and taking points off the board, we need to limit those penalties,” Strickland said. “Execution - we’re still making some minor assignment mistakes where we’re one block away from a big play, but that comes with the youth, so we just need to keep working on our discipline and execution.”
Milford and Woodbridge will kick things off Friday night at 7 p.m.