Bowman leads Bucs by Raiders 24-23 in Division II tournament

David Bowman of the Buccaneers rushes for a short gain in the first quarter against Woodbridge Special To The Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh

MILFORD — David Bowman just keeps making history at Milford High.

Already the school’s career leader in touchdowns and tackles, Bowman earned two new accolades on Saturday night — play quarterback and help the Buccaneers to their first playoff win since 2008.

Milford, the fourth seed, defeated fifth-seeded Woodbridge High 24-23 in the first round of the Division II football state tournament. The Buccaneers advanced to play No. 3 Wilmington Friends at a time and venue to be determined.

Bowman, Milford’s star senior running back, made his debut at quarterback in the first round. He completed a touchdown pass in the second quarter before taking up a more familiar role, running the ball in for the game-winning touchdown with 6:23 left after Jonathan Gaglione’s extra point made it 24-23.

Parker Chandler (left) of Milford celebrates with teammate Juwan Savage after he caught a long pass and fought his way into the end zone Saturday night against Woodbridge. Special To The Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh

“I do whatever my team needs me to do to win the game,” Bowman said. “This is my first time at quarterback but I knew it was win or go home. I had to step up to the challenge and practice on it. I think I did pretty good for my first time.”

Bowman completed a quick 36-yard pass the play before his touchdown. Bowman connected with Tyron Mifflin over the middle to get the Buccaneers out of a 2nd-and-14 situation in their own territory.

On the very next play, Bowman scampered around the right side of the line for a 35-yard rushing touchdown.

“You’ve literally seen him do it all this year,” said Milford coach Shaun Strickland. “The kids is so special. We have that confidence in him.”

Bowman’s 36-yard pass wasn’t even his longest of the night. He had a 40-yard touchdown throw to Parker Chandler which gave Milford a 14-10 lead before halftime.

But the pass to Mifflin helped swing the momentum back to Milford after Woodbridge had gone on top 23-17 on Troy Haynes’ 25-yard touchdown pass to Mike Brewer just a flew plays earlier.

Jamon Kane of the Blue Raiders takes a handoff and goes into high gear for a gain against Milford Saturday night. Special To The Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh

“That’s something we had in our back pocket and we were waiting for the right time and that was it.” Strickland said. “He worked on it all week. He completed it all week at practice and we had the confidence that he would.”

Milford’s defense needed to hold on twice in the final minutes,

First the Buccaneers forced a turnover on downs on 4th-and-1 with 3:34 left. But the Blue Raiders would have one more chance to win it after a three-and-out by Woodbridge.

Milford was facing short yardage on fourth down but Strickland was confident enough in his defense to punt.

“I said punt it away and let our defense do what its done all year,” Strickland said. “They showed up on that last drive.”

Two incompletions and two sacks later, the Buccaneers were taking over on downs and lining up for two kneeldowns to end the contest.

“The defensive line toughened up the last two minutes and got to the quarterback,” Bowman said. “They did what they had to do. I love them for it.”

Rahshawn Price also had a rushing touchdown for Milford, from 24 yards out while Gaglione converted a 20-yard field goal before halftime.

Woodbridge, the defending Division II state champions, was led by Brewer who also had a 43-yard fumble return for a score. Jamon Kane recorded a 75-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage.

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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