By Kevin Eickman
This past Thursday the Milford Buccaneers held their second scrimmage of the year, hosting Queen Anne’s High School. Following what could be described as a flat performance, second year coach Shaun Strickland did not mince words while addressing the team.
“We can’t come out flat, that is exactly the problem we had last season. Make no mistake about it, 6-4 is not our goal,” Strickland stated. “The way we improve is by coming out and being ready to play right from the start.”
With school now in session and the start of football season less than two weeks away, Strickland is of the firm belief that Milford is about to take the next step. “Last season was about heading in the right direction, this year it’s about improving off that winning foundation,” Strickland said. “We left at least a couple of wins on the table because we came out flat, that has to be eliminated this year.”
While Strickland was a little disappointed with Thursday’s scrimmage, he is very comfortable with where the team is at. “We were a little worn down today, but that can happen. The positive that we can take from this is that we were able to identify some things that we need to clean up.” Strickland also stated, “Overall I am happy with where the team is at, we are well ahead of last year and that is the number one thing to take from preseason so far.”
Milford will be returning almost all of their skill position players from last season, which bodes well for an offense that at times had difficulty finding their identity. Returning for his junior season will be running back and defensive back David Bowman. Running for over 1,000 yards last season and playing on both sides of the ball tasked Bowman a great deal. “We believe that we have depth at running back with Rahshawn Price [sophomore] and Dominyc Hovington [senior] able to provide us a great many options in the backfield.” Strickland stated.
Part of the problem on offense last season had to do with uncertainty at quarterback. That issue appears to have been put to bed with senior William Kimmel slated to take the helm for the Buccaneers this year. “Kimmel has really committed to improving himself over this off-season and he came into camp ready to go. We believe he has what it takes to get the job done,” said Strickland.
With Kimmel behind center, it has enabled senior Marcus Correa to concentrate on playing wide receiver. Correa has impressed so far this year and joins fellow senior Brion Murray forming what could possibly be one of the most potent pair of receivers in the Henlopen South. “With Marcus and Brion at receiver, we can really place some pressure on opposing defenses,” commented Strickland. “These guys have really worked to make themselves solid football players and it really has been showing on the field.”
Perhaps the greatest area of concern for Milford will come in the trenches, where Milford lost a number of players to graduation. It is an area that Strickland believes Milford should be able to hold their own however. “We are lucky in the fact that while we lost some people, other players have stepped up. We have guys up front that we believe can get the job done,” Strickland stated.
With many of the players playing defense as well as offense, Milford should also boast one of the stronger secondaries in the South. “We are very comfortable with where we are on defense. With Brion, Marcus and DJ (Bowman) in the secondary, we know that we have players back there that can make plays for us,” Strickland commented. “We are very confident in our entire defense really, they have the makings of a fantastic unit.”
When asked what area the Buccaneers could use the most improvement in, Strickland was quick to respond. “It’s about finishing, on both sides of the ball really. It’s about sustaining our blocks and getting the extra yards on defense, while wrapping up and finishing the tackles on defense,” said Strickland. Asked about the goals for this year, Strickland said it is all about improvement. “We need to keep getting better, from game to game and practice to practice.” Strickland concluded, “6-4 wasn’t good enough last year, we want to make sure we improve on that. That’s going to take everyone stepping up their games to get the job done.”
Milford will open up the season on the road against Red Lion September 9, before hosting Delaware Military Academy on the September 16, which is also Hall of Fame night.
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