Bucs drop 30-13 football season opener to Sussex Tech

MILFORD – Friday night’s 30-13 season-opening loss to Sussex Tech will come as a learning experience for head coach Shaun Strickland’s young Milford High Bucs football squad.

“We’re young, we’re green, we have a lot of guys in that haven’t gotten reps before,” Strickland said following the loss. “One of the things we’ve been harping on is discipline and making sure when things go south, and we face adversity, we can’t go south with it.”

Freshman Shawn Saxon took the majority of the snaps at quarterback, leading a scoring drive to begin the second quarter.

Milford team captains walk out to midfield for the game’s coin toss (The Chronicle/Ben Heck).

“He’s a competitor and he was the one leading us in the second and third,” Strickland said of Saxon. “He got into a nice rhythm in the second quarter, we tried to get him into one in the third and we just had some drops and penalties that just took us out of that rhythm.”

Sussex Tech junior running back Andrell Fulton ran for two touchdowns and junior defensive back Jordan Harper picked off a pair of passes, including a 39-yard interception return touchdown, to avenge Tech’s 3-0 Week 1 loss to Milford last season.

“We remembered the battle we had with them last year, to lose by a field goal really deflated us as we went through those first couple of games,” Sussex Tech head coach Mark Quillin said. “So, they thought about that all year long and really wanted to come out here and play well.”

After Tech jumped ahead early, 14-0, thanks to Fulton’s 31-yard touchdown run and a 45-yard Michael Norsworthy punt return touchdown in the opening quarter, the game was delayed 30 minutes due to lightning.

Milford opened the second quarter, immediately following the delay, with the Saxon-led offensive drive that was capped by an eight-yard touchdown run from Rodney Robinson.

The successful extra point try cut Tech’s lead in half, 14-7.

“They got the ball and immediately scored, and I thought ‘that’s a tough thing to recover from,’ but once we got to halftime we settled ourselves down,” Quillin said.

Freshman quarterback Shawn Saxon looks over to the sideline for the next play from the coaching staff (The Chronicle/Ben Heck).

Fulton’s second touchdown run, with 9:30 to play in the third quarter, extended the Tech lead to 20-7.

After Fulton’s 60-yard scamper, Tech leaned on their defense and special teams to finish out the win.

Caleb Locklear kicked a 20-yard field goal with 6:01 to play in the third quarter.

A few minutes later, Harper picked off a pass attempt and turned it into a 39-yard interception return touchdown to cap Tech’s scoring at the 9:34 mark of the fourth quarter.

Harper would pick off one more pass on the ensuing Milford drive.

Junior Jalen Snead picked off Tech’s third interception of the night at the 4:53 mark.

Milford’s Dion Warner ran for a 72-yard touchdown as time expired in the game.

With Tayone’ Matthews offering Milford’s offense some flexibility and play-making ability at positions other than quarterback, Saxon will continue getting snaps at QB.

“We’re comfortable putting Saxon in there at quarterback and we’re comfortable putting Tayone’ in a handful of different places,” Strickland said.

Milford will travel up north to Baynard Stadium to take on Delaware Military Academy next Saturday night. Kick-off is set for 7 p.m.

Sports Editor Ben Heck can be reached at bheck@newszap.com.

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