Davis leads Cape past Bucs 41-28

Cape’s Jaden Davis runs up the middle of the field as Milford defenders gives chase at Milford on Friday Delaware State News/Marc Clery

MILFORD — Jaden Davis was one of the big reasons Cape Henlopen High built a 27-point lead over Milford early in the third quarter.

And when the Buccaneers had whittled that advantage down to just six points with seven minutes still remaining in the game, Davis was one of the big reasons the Vikings still went back home with a win.

Davis carried the ball on all nine plays of a game-clinching 38-yard drive as Cape picked up its first victory of the football season with a 41-28 victory over a determined Milford squad on Friday night.

Davis scored his fifth touchdown of the night on a three-yard burst with just 1:10 remaining as the Vikings improved to 1-2 on the condensed season.

Milford’s Marquis Gillis leaps to break a Cape tackle in the first quarter at Milford.

A senior running back, Davis finished with 217 yards on a workhorse 38 carries to go along with his five TDs.

The victory was especially satisfying for a Cape Henlopen program that had won just three of its previous 22 games. The Vikings, though, in falling to Sussex Central and Smyrna in the first two games of this season.

“We’ve been disappointed the last two weeks,” said Cape coach J.D. Maull. “We played hard but, if you picked up the paper, you said, ‘Oh man, Cape’s Cape again.’ But we’re a good team.

“I didn’t like what was going on in the second half. We gave up some points. But Milford has a great running back in (Marquis) Gillis. He’s tough to stop.

“It’s a backyard rivalry,” he added. “The kids know each other. We expected Milford come back hard in the second half. But we held on and we’re happy to get the victory.”

Davis’ big night offset a tough performance by Milford senior Marquis Gillis, who scored three TDs himself. He scampered 70 yards for one touchdown and then blocked a punt, scooped it up and returned it for a TD that fueled the comeback by the Buccaneers (1-1).

Gillis finished with 170 yards on 19 carries.

After Cape opened up a 34-7 third quarter lead, Milford closed within 34-28 when quarterback Sean Saxton scored on a one-yard sneak with 7:07 still on the clock.

Even after Cape pushed its advantage back to 41-28, the Bucs drove the length of the field in the closing minute. They reached Cape’s one-yard lline on the final play of the night.

The Vikings looked like they might put the contest out of each early when they opened up a 21-0 second-quarter lead.

Milford’s Kenny Reed gets tackled after catching a pass against Cape in the first quarter at Milford on Friday.

On the second play of the game, Cape quarterback Henry D’Ambrogi found receiver Ja’Vaughn Burton for a 70-yard reception. Davis then scored on an 11-yard sweep on the following play.

But Gillis’ 70-yard scoring run game Milford some life before halftime.

The Vikings’ D’Ambrogi scrambled for a one-yard TD run just before intermission. Cape then converted a fumble recovery at the Milford one into a quick touchdown to start the third quarter.

The two teams have traded wins in the rivalry over the years. Cape beat Milford, 28-14, a year ago after the Bucs blanked the Vikings, 38-0, the year before.

Milford had an unexpected open date last weekend when Woodbridge couldn’t play its scheduled contest with the Bucs because of positive COVID-19 cases at the school. Milford opened the season with a 24-0 win at Caravel the week before.

To help the Henlopen Conference with scheduling, Milford is playing a league slate split between Henlopen North and South squads. The Bucs travel to Delmar next Friday night.

Cape Henlopen will host Sussex Tech next Saturday at 11 a.m. The Ravens have had to cancel their last two games due to positive virus test results at their school.