Milford shuts out Polytech 37-0

MILFORD — Milford High football coach Shaun Strickland was just looking for a spark, especially after his Buccaneers were outscored by a combined 47 points in losing their first two games of the season.

It turned out that one little spark turned into a blaze of momentum for Milford after the Bucs recovered a fumbled fair catch by Polytech that kept a drive alive.

The Buccaneers took advantage of the miscue and went on to score … and score and score.

It turned out that Milford clicked on offense, defense and special teams in routing Polytech 37-0 in a Henlopen Conference interdivisional contest at packed Briggs Stadium played on a perfect late-summer Friday night.

Milford coach Strickland said it would have been easy for his team to fold after disappointing losses to Sussex Tech and Delaware Military Academy. Instead, the Bucs kept fighting and improved to 1-2.

“We’re a young team,” Strickland said. “We’re trying to get stuff turned around and played two really tough teams to open up and we had a tough one in here with Poly.

“We’re just trying to do what we have to do to be successful. We just wanted to put our foot on the gas and not flame out. Special teams, defense and offense were all great — so that was fantastic.”

Polytech (1-2) was led by strong armed senior quarterback Vincent Tascione, a 6-foot-3, 210-pounder, but he had trouble consistently connecting with his receivers throughout the night.

Meanwhile, Milford found that spark it was looking for when Polytech’s Donell Hooker muffed a fair catch and the Bucs’ Bryce Wells pounded on the loose ball at the Panthers’ 42-yard-line near the end of a scoreless first quarter.

It took Milford just six plays to take advantage of the break when Tayone Matthews kept his legs churning and carried a scrum of defenders into the end zone from seven-yards out.

Jonathan Gaglione booted the first of his five point-after kicks as the Bucs took a 7-0 lead with 10:28 left in the second quarter.

“We just came out with energy, not coming out all flat and stuff,” said Milford junior defensive tackle Anthony Diaz. “We came out with energy and were just flying around.

“It’s great. It feels amazing. We were in that backfield all night.”

Milford was able to light up the scoreboard three more times before halftime, including a pair of touchdowns in the final 2:42 of the first half.

It began when an errant snap on a punt attempt went past Polytech punter Caleb Tascione, but he alertly booted it out of the Milford end zone for a safety that made it 9-0 with 4:53 left until the intermission.

The Bucs took advantage of good field position when the Panthers tried an on-side kick following the safety as Milford recovered the kick at Polytech’s 36.

Three plays later, Jabraih Lake ran a sweep to the left side and took it into the end zone for a 29-yard touchdown run before Tyron Mifflin intercepted a Vincent Tascione pass and ran it back 35 yards for a TD that helped the Bucs break out to a 23-0 lead at halftime.

Milford completed the scoring by embarking on a couple of length drives in the third quarter, which were capped by a Caleb Watson three-yard run and a Rodney Robinson six-yard run.

Milford racked up 316 yards of total offense, including 281 rushing yards. Meanwhile, the Bucs held Polytech to 62 total yards, including minus-four yards on the ground.

Rahshawn Price was the busiest back for the Bucs as he gained 79 yards on 16 carries. Robinson rumbled for 71 yards on six carries and Luke gained 68 yards on just five attempts.

The Panthers’ Vincent Tascione completed just three of 24 passes for 56 yards.

It was just that kind of a night for the Buccaneers.

“We were looking for energy and someone said all week that we’ve got to bring the energy and intensity to all three facets of the game and we did,” Strickland said.

Diaz said all of the Bucs could feel that energy, even from the sidelines.

“Our defense played incredible tonight,” said Diaz. “We just had that energy and killer instinct tonight.”

Reach staff writer Mike Finney at 302-741-8230 or mfinney@newszap.com.

Delaware State News staff writer Mike Finney can be reached at mfinney@newszap.com.

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