Milford fired up for Woodbridge as unbeatens square off in key South tilt

MILFORD — The players on Milford High’s football team have waited a long time for a game of this magnitude.

The Buccaneers’ Henlopen Conference Southern Division title hopes could take a huge leap forward tonight when Milford travels to Woodbridge High for a 7 p.m. tilt. Both teams enter the contest at 7-0 on the season and 3-0 in the Henlopen South.

Woodbridge has defeated Milford each of the last three seasons. Milford has not won against the Blue Raiders since 2008, which was also the last time the Buccaneers won the Henlopen South championship. Milford went on to capture the Division II state title that year.

The Blue Raiders edged Milford in a tight 17-14 game a season ago. Woodbridge ended up making the Division II state tournament, advancing to the semifinals, while the Buccaneers were on the outside looking in.

“I can’t wait to play them,” said Milford senior wide receiver Brion Murray (8) about Woodbridge, tonight’s opponent. “We’ve been waiting to play them since last year when we let it slip against them.” (Delaware State News file photo)

“I can’t wait to play them,” said Milford senior wide receiver Brion Murray (8) about Woodbridge, tonight’s opponent. “We’ve been waiting to play them since last year when we let it slip against them.” (Delaware State News file photo)

“Man, it’s crazy, I can’t wait to play them,” said Milford senior wide receiver Brion Murray. “We’ve been waiting to play them since last year when we let it slip against them. Everyone talks about how unstoppable they are every week, so we’re excited to see how they really are.”

Milford and Woodbridge are part of a three-way tie for first place in the Henlopen South. Delmar is also 3-0 and the Wildcats travel to Milford next week before a trip to Woodbridge in the season finale.

Delmar squares off against Indian River at 7:30 p.m. tonight at home, which will kick off a frantic three-week stretch to decide the conference champion.

“It’s a battle for the South at this point and we know Woodbridge is on top of that heap,” said Milford second-year coach Shaun Strickland. “They finished us off last year and these guys are ready to go. They’ve been busting their butts and we knew we had to take care of business week in and week out to be ready for Woodbridge. I know our guys are fired up and ready to go.”

It’s been a while since the Buccaneers had a legitimate shot at a championship.

They slumped through back-to-back 1-9 seasons in 2013 and 2014. In Strickland’s first year at the helm last season, he guided Milford to a 6-4 record — the first time the Buccaneers finished above .500 since 2009.

“We’re focused and we know how to put good games together,” said Milford senior quarterback Will Kimmel. “We’re out to win every game.” (Delaware State News file photo)

“We’re focused and we know how to put good games together,” said Milford senior quarterback Will Kimmel. “We’re out to win every game.” (Delaware State News file photo)

Milford has already surpassed last year’s win total and has outscored its opponents by 36.1 points per game.

“We’re ready to achieve our goals that we worked so hard for in the summer,” Murray said. “We never looked forward. We know what the goal is, and that was to be 7-0 up to this point. We want to be 10-0, but we know we have to take it one game at a time.”

But the Buccaneers know Woodbridge is their toughest test so far. The stingy Blue Raider defense has shut out five of its seven opponents.

Woodbridge has allowed only 19 points all season, and has not been scored upon since the third week. Woodbridge’s Henlopen South victories have come against Lake Forest, Seaford and Indian River.

The Buccaneers have also beaten Seaford and Indian River, with their other conference victory coming against Laurel last week.

“We’re focused and we know how to put good games together,” said Milford senior quarterback Will Kimmel. “We’re out to win every game.”

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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