Milford looks impressive in 24-0 shutout win over DMA

Delaware State News/Marc Clery

 

MILFORD — As the final seconds ticked away in Milford’s impressive 24-0 victory over Delaware Military Academy Friday night at Briggs Stadium, Buccaneers Coach Shaun Strickland knew actually who he wanted to celebrate with first.

“The first person I ran to was my dad,” said Stickland, whose father Bill had been inducted into the school’s athletic hall of fame at halftime. “Everything I’ve done in my career, where I am as a coach, where I was as a player was because of him pushing me. There’s no doubt in my mind I wanted this for him. This was for him, it was great.”

With the victory, their first after three straight losses to the Seahawks, Milford (2-0) is back in the conversation as a Division II playoff contender just a couple years after finishing 1-9. The program is now 8-4 since Stickland took over at the beginning of last season.

“It was a team Milford hasn’t beaten in the past, we came in with a goal to put our names out there,” he said. “If we want to be in the conversation with playoffs and everything else, we had to come out and play our best. Win or lose, we had to leave it all on the field.”

After scoring on a 78-yard catch and run by Brion Murray from quarterback William Kimmel on their first possession of the game, it was the Buccaneer defense that shut down the powerful DMA offense for the rest of the game. In the first half alone, DMA started on entered Milford territory four times. Each time, though, the Buccaneers turned the Seahawks away with no points.

Perhaps the biggest play of the game occurred with less than 30 seconds before halftime with DMA at the Milford five-yard line on fourth down and one, as Dominyc Hovington sacked Seahawk quarterback Jacob Hudson for a nine-yard loss. The Buccaneers maintained an 8-0 lead going into the half.

“We knew coming back, we had some guys that could fly around,” Stickland said of his defense.” Our defense is stout. We have leaders up front, four captains on D that have been in the fire before so they wanted it. They were ready to go.”

Milford pulled away midway through the third quarter when Kimmel found Murray again, this time on fourth and goal from the DMA six-yard line. The nine-play, 50-yard drive was set up by an interception by David Bowman. Kimmel ran in the two-point conversion for a 16-0 Buc lead.

The Buccaneers salted the game away on the second play of the fourth quarter with a little trickery. This time, wideout Marcus Correa got the ball on a reverse and then pulled up and fired a perfect pass to Kimmel, who raced 56 yards for a touchdown that put Milford up 24-0.

“We’ve got some stuff in the back pocket,” Strickland said. “We’ve got weapons. When we can capitalize and use something like that to pull us ahead and put a nail in the coffin, we’re not afraid to use it. You have to go for broke when you’re playing a team like DMA. They’re a playoff team, a top-five team in Division II. You have to pull everything out and not leave it on the field.”

Along with his scoring catch, Windell was 7-of-15 for 114 yards with two touchdowns passing and added a pair of two-point conversions.

“He’s an athlete,” Strickland said. “He’s a smart player makes good reads, smart checks. We made adjustments based on what he was telling us. He stays poised and calm. That’s why he’s in there.”

Jason Bowen is a Dover freelance writer.

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