Bowman’s return fuels Milford victory over Delmar

MILFORD — Star running back David Bowman has been sidelined due to injury for the last three games, but his return Friday night fueled Milford to a 35-18 victory over the Delmar Wildcats (6-3).

Offensively, Milford’s ground game produced all five touchdowns, three of which came from Bowman.

Bowman’s return is exactly what the offense needed given the team’s eight-point performance against Woodbridge a week prior.

“I’ve been waiting to play for three weeks,” Bowman said. “When I saw them struggling in games I felt bad that I couldn’t help them. So I just really wanted to come back out here and play.”

Head coach Shaun Strickland took no time getting the ball to his starting running back, as Bowman turned the team’s first play from scrimmage into a long first down run. Dominyc Hovington capped the team’s opening drive with a one-yard rushing touchdown a handful of plays later.

Touchdowns from Hovington and Bowman came on the team’s first two offensive possessions.

Delmar’s option offense proved difficult to stop in the first half, with junior running back Brooks Parker rushing for a 12-yard touchdown on the Wildcats’ second possession of the game. A 31-yard rushing touchdown one drive later brought the game to within two points, 14-12.

Late in the second quarter, Delmar’s defense forced a turnover on downs. Driving 73 yards down the field, quarterback James Adkins hit freshman receiver Zachary Covington for a 21-yard touchdown connection. The touchdown allowed the Wildcats to take its first lead of the game, 18-14, with just 35 seconds to spare in the opening half.

Following the kick-off, Milford’s offense took possession and capitalized on a 59-yard wide receiver pass from Marcus Correa to Brion Murray. The explosive play set the Bucs up at the Delmar five-yard line, and a few plays later Bowman ran it in for his second score as time expired.

Milford and Delmar exchanged punts to begin the second half before Milford extended its lead to 10 points. Bowman ran for a 57-yard touchdown, and the successful extra point try broke the game open for Milford.

Early in the fourth quarter Delmar looked to be driving down the length of the field, reaching Milford’s six-yard line. Milford’s defense stepped up and stopped Delmar four straight plays from the six-yard line, forcing a turnover on downs deep inside their own territory.

Milford’s offense muffed a hand-off exchange, fumbling the football back to Delmar at the 10-yard line.

But, once again, Strickland’s defensive unit forced a second consecutive turnover on downs.

“Our defense really stepped up,” Strickland said.

“We have a lot of guys playing both ways so we can’t always necessarily make the adjustments we need to make on the sidelines. So, what these coaches have done in making adjustments at the half has just been phenomenal,” Strickland said.

Following the second turnover on downs, Milford’s offense took over at their own six-yard line. Quarterback William Kimmel and the Bucs’ ground game ate up over five minutes of game clock and drove 94 yards to put the game out of the Wildcats’ reach.

Kimmel capped the efficient scoring drive off with a 3-yard touchdown run. A successful extra point attempt sealed the 35-18 victory for the Buccaneers.

At 8-1, Strickland’s Buccaneers will travel to Lake Forest next week as they look to avenge last year’s 39-26 Battle of the Bell loss to the Spartans.

“We’re just do that same thing we’ve been doing all season, and just do what we have to do to win,” Bowman said of next week’s match-up.

Despite just two wins for Lake Forest this season, Milford won’t be taking the match-up lightly.

“No matter what the records show, rivals come out to play each other tough,” Strickland said.

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