A season removed from reaching the Division II DIAA Football state championship game, the Milford Buccaneers return to the field hungry.

For much of the past few seasons, DJ Bowman led the way for the Buccaneers as an electric player on both sides of the ball. While Bowman will be greatly missed, returning players and newcomers are ready to fill the void.

On offense, Tayone’ Matthews is back for his senior year, ready to take the lead at several positions, including quarterback, running back and wide receiver, offering the Buccaneers a dangerous and versatile player.

Along with his duties on the offense, Matthews has proven to be an effective player otherwise.

“Tayone’ will be a guy on offense, defense and special teams,” said Milford head coach Shaun Strickland. “He’s a tremendous athlete and we will do our best to get him on the field as much as possible.”

With Matthews’ ability to play so many positions, there will be opportunities for others at quarterback.

“Each week we will assess who gives us the best looks and can put the most pressure on the other team’s defense and try to play to theirs and our strengths on offense,” Strickland said.

Milford also has a promising group of running backs to lean, one that Strickland says has tremendous depth.

“We have veteran Rashawn Price back, a quick and exciting back to watch,” Strickland said. “We have bruisers in Mardis Powell and Rodney Robinson back as seniors, and some new additions to the backfield.”

With so many options in the backfield, the Buccaneers have plenty of players ready to replace the production by a standout like Bowman.

“I envision us using a healthy rotation of guys in different situations,” Strickland said. “Each guy brings something different, but best of all each guy is capable of taking over at any point in time.”

On the defense, the Buccaneers hope to duplicate what they were able to do last season when they held seven opponents to 16 points or less, shutting out four.

“It is definitely a blow losing DJ, the defensive player of the year in the state and quarterback of our defense, but at the same time we have a lot of speed and those guys aren’t afraid to bring the wood,” Strickland said. “We’ll be relying on our defense to keep us in tough ball games against strong offenses and I’m confident they are up to the task.”

After opening the season last week against Sussex Tech, the Buccaneers will hit the road Friday night, traveling north to take on Delaware Military Academy at Baynard Stadium in Wilmington.