Bowman, Bucs ready for early showdown vs. DMA tonight

In last year’s game vs. DMA, Milford’s D.J. Bowman ran for almost 200 yards and returned a kickoff for a TD. (Delaware State News file photo)

In last year’s game vs. DMA, Milford’s D.J. Bowman ran for almost 200 yards and returned a kickoff for a TD. (Delaware State News file photo)

MILFORD — D.J. Bowman isn’t a big fan of standing on the sidelines.

The Milford High junior would much rather be on the field all the time.

It doesn’t matter that he’s going to feel it in every inch of his 5-foot-5, 150-pound body by the end of the night.

“If I’m on the sidelines,” said Bowman, “it makes me feel like I wasn’t helping stop them (the other team) if something happened.”

And Buccaneer football coach Shaun Strickland is more than happy to play Bowman as much as he can.

Bowman will be at his usual starting running back and safety spots when Milford (1-0) hosts Delaware Military (1-0) today at 7:30 p.m. in an important early-season Division II showdown.

The Bucs, who are trying to make the program’s first state tournament appearance since winning the Division II state title in 2008, have lost to DMA each of the last three seasons.

Bowman and his teammates know they have something to prove tonight.

A year after going 6-4 — the program’s first winning season since 2009 — second-year coach Shaun Strickland’s Milford team opened the season with a 64-0 victory over Red Lion Christian last Friday. The Bucs outgained the overmatched Lions 440 yards to 16. (Delaware State News file photo)

A year after going 6-4 — the program’s first winning season since 2009 — second-year coach Shaun Strickland’s Milford team opened the season with a 64-0 victory over Red Lion Christian last Friday. The Bucs outgained the overmatched Lions 440 yards to 16. (Delaware State News file photo)

“It’s going to show us where we’re at,” he said about the game. “If we get this win, it’s going to show everybody that we’re not a pushover. And it’s going to show us that we really do have talent.

“We haven’t beaten them so we really have something to go out there and play for.”

“A lot of people overlook us from our past seasons,” said senior offensive tackle Greggory Clark. “If we beat a team like DMA, I feel like we’d get a lot of attention that we deserve.”

A year after going 6-4 — the program’s first winning season since 2009 — Milford opened the season with a 64-0 victory over Red Lion Christian last Friday. The Bucs outgained the overmatched Lions 440 yards to 16.

Bowman led the way offensively with 101 yards and a pair of touchdowns on nine carries. He was a first-team All-Henlopen South selection at running back as a sophomore despite being bothered by a knee injury at the end of the season.

In last year’s 34-14 loss to DMA, Bowman ran for almost 200 yards and returned a kickoff for a TD.

“He’s a kid that’s explosive,” said Strickland, who’s in his second season as Milford’s head coach. “It’s exciting.

“He was tuned in on offense as a freshman. Then last year he was a two-way kid. There were games last year where we were even able to move him up to linebacker. He’s a physical, athletic kid.”

“When he was a freshman, a lot of people weren’t sure about his size,” said Clark. “But he knows how to hit. I give it to him, he’s a very good running back. He runs hard. He’s a really good workhorse. It pushes us to want to be great as well.”

Bowman remembers what it was like playing varsity football when he was just a freshman. Even his dad wasn’t sure if he should be playing at that level yet.

“I said, ‘I’m going to go try it,’” said Bowman. “It worked out pretty well.

“Some people did come to me and said, ‘I don’t think you need to be playing varsity right now.’ It made me work even harder so that I can show them that I can play varsity. I showed them that I could do it. That made me work even harder so I could do the same thing next year.”

Bowman isn’t Milford’s only offensive weapon.

Rashawn Price, just a sophomore, ran for 106 yards and a touchdown in the win over Red Lion while senior quarterback William Kimmel completed 6-of-8 passes for 125 yards and a TD.

Bowman likes having the help, of course. But he’s also good with having plenty of responsibility on his shoulders.

He knows there’s an ice bath waiting for him after the game.

“When the game’s over, that’s when it hits me,” said Bowman. “During the game, I don’t think about it. Afterward I go home, take an ice bath, and I’m ready for the next day.“

Extra points

Delaware 105.9-FM is broadcasting the Polytech at Woodbridge game tonight. … The Caesar Rodney at Salesianum contest can be heard on 1290-AM. … Smyrna’s 40-point first quarter in last week’s 56-0 win over Delcastle was more than it scored in any one quarter last fall. The Eagles’ biggest quarter last year was 38 points. … The Riders have lost nine straight meetings with the Sals. CR’s last win in the series was in its Division I state championship campaign of 2008. … Woodbridge is going after its second win over a Division I team to start the season when it hosts Polytech. Those are some big state tourney points for a Division II squad.  … Five of the 14 Henlopen Conference schools are playing out-of-state teams tonight.

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