Continuing our series looking back on the best of the best from Milford Athletics this past school year, this week we take a look at the Milford Football program.
This past fall, the Buccaneers posted another winning season, advancing to the Division II state championship game in the DIAA Football State Tournament.
Hired back in 2015, Milford Head Coach Shaun Strickland had high hopes of turning the football program around after several down seasons. When asked what his goals for the team were, his answer back then was a preview of what was to come.
“Milford football has struggled and I believe saying winning as a goal would be the generic answer, but I think it’s even simpler than that,” Strickland said. “The goals I have stressed are always to give 110 percent, never let adversity win and we will hold ourselves accountable for our actions and play. Should we do those three simple things, wins will come and we will see players mature beyond their years.”
Over his three seasons as head coach, the Buccaneers have gone 25-8 during the regular season while posting a 2-2 mark in the postseason.
This past season, Milford had a remarkable run to the DII state title game.
Milford finished the regular season with a 7-3 mark before earning two hardfought playoff victories to advance to the state championship game.
First, they’d take down defending champs Woodbridge, 24-23, in the opening round, before another close victory over Wilmington Friends, 14-7, in the DII state semifinals.
Milford’s run ended unfortunately in the DII state championship game where they fell to Delmar in yet another close game, 14-7.
Despite coming up short of their ultimate goal of hoisting the Division II trophy, Milford has solidified themselves as a threat not only in the Henlopen South but throughout the state.
Seven Buccaneers were named to the Henlopen All-Conference team, including two players who received honors on both ends of the field.
Senior standout DJ Bowman was named first-team all-conference at running back and defensive back, while junior lineman Ritchy Corvil earned first-team honors at offensive line and second team
honors on the defensive line.
Joining Bowman and Corvil were seniors Jordan Waters (First-Team, Defensive End) and Thomas Eisenbrey (Second-Team, Center), juniors Caleb Watson (Second-Team, Linebacker), John Gaglione (Second Team, Kicker and Punter) and Tyron Mifflin (Honorable Mention, Wide Receiver), along with sophomore Zyair Toledo (Second-Team, Offensive Line).
Three players also earned all-state honors this past season. Bowman who was named to the first-team at both running back and defensive back while also being named the Defensive Player of the Year. Meanwhile, Corvil was named second-team all-state on the offensive line and Waters earned third-team all-state honors at defensive end.
While the Buccaneers will move on this fall without several seniors from last year’s team, including Bowman, Eisenbrey and Waters, the vast majority of the team will be returning looking to continue the progress the team has made.
“I feel like win or lose, we always want to feel that we are holding up our end and we hope to continue to share in the successes of the Milford High School community,” Strickland said. “The school spirit is great and it was great getting our guys to games last year to return the favor of those students-athletes that come and cheer us on every Friday night.”