Bowman leads Bucs in hunt for 1st title since ‘08

Milford’s David Bowman rushes his way through Friends defenders during the Division 2 semi-finals state football championship at St. Marks on Saturday. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

NEW CASTLE — David “D.J.” Bowman was there the last time Milford High won a football state championship.

He was 8-years-old that day in 2008 when the Buccaneers downed Laurel High to capture the Division II state title.

Nine years later, Bowman is part of the group who has led Milford back to the state championship game. The Buccaneers will meet Delmar High at the University of Delaware’s Delaware Stadium on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. for the Division II crown.

Bowman spoke about his memories of 2008 on Monday as the DIAA held its annual football championship week luncheon.

“I remember that feeling in Milford,” Bowman said. “After the game, everyone ran on the field. I was too young to realize what that was like. Now that we’re here, it’s kind of hit me, we haven’t been there since 2008. You’re getting a lot of love from everybody in Milford.”

Bowman was at the 2008 contest because his cousin was on the team and because he looked up to running back Brandon Legrand.

Now Bowman is a senior and he broke Legrand’s record for most touchdowns at Milford. When he set the record earlier this season, Bowman said he got calls and texts congratulating him from numerous people who played on Milford’s 2008 championship squad.

“They all show a lot of respect to me,” Bowman said. “We’re trying to make them proud.”

Bowman has rewritten the record book at Milford. Not only does he have the most career touchdowns, but he also has gained the most rushing yards, total yards from scrimmage and has also recorded the most tackles of any Buccaneer in history.

All this from a player who some thought would not make varsity as a freshman because he was too small.

Despite being 5-foot-6, former coach Mike Tkach asked Bowman to joined the varsity squad in 2014. Bowman heard from plenty of doubters who had concerns about his size,

“I don’t like when people talk down on me,” he said. “I just wanted to prove to everybody that I could do it. I always had an urge to prove a lot of people wrong.”

And current Milford coach Shaun Strickland says Bowman plays bigger than what he is.

“If you watched him play the other day, he carries people,” Strickland said. “He may weigh only 175 but he’s strong and he’s fast. … I tell these college coaches, trust me, if you put him in a program where he’s able to put on weight … He’s probably going to put on a good 15 or 20 pounds right off the bat and just be a rolling ball of muscle.”

Bowman still remembers the surprise of opposing teams when they played against him for the first time.

“After the game they would say, ‘We never thought you could do what you’re doing,’” Bowman said. “As a freshman people would say, ‘Good luck with your next three years because you’re the best running back we’ve seen in a while.’ I didn’t want to take that in as cockiness, cause I knew I had three more years to prove to people I could do things.”

What is not a surprise is Bowman’s personal accolades this season. He landed on the All-Henlopen Conference Southern Division First Team as a running back and a defensive back.

Bowman plans to continue playing football in college. He has drawn recruiting interest from Division I, Division II and Division III schools.

“He’s got some (interest) from all over,” Strickland said. “He’s a very high academic kid so some of the Patriot and Ivy League schools have shown interest… a lot of D-IIIs and some of the D-IIs as well.

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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