Strickland, Bucs readying for football season

MILFORD — Players more times than not would rather forgo the preseason and start playing meaningful games.

Coaches, on the other hand, almost always wish there was more time to teach the game to their athletes before things start to count.

It’s pretty safe to assume first-year Milford football head coach Shaun Strickland falls into the group that would like a little more time.

Shaun Strickland is getting ready for his first season as Milford's head football coach. (The Chronicle/Jeff Mitchell)

Shaun Strickland is getting ready for his first season as Milford’s head football coach. (The Chronicle/Jeff Mitchell)

“Trying to get everyone together and everybody on the same page, it moves quick,” Strickland said of the first week his Buccaneers were able to practice. “We’ve got two, three weeks and we’re right at it, but we’ll be ready.”

Taking over for former Bucs coach Mike Tkach, who stepped down last winter after 14 years at the helm and eventually took a job on the staff at Caesar Rodney, Strickland is working to turn around a program that has won just 15 times since it captured a Division II state championship in 2008.

The Buccaneers haven’t had a winning season since 2009 when they went 6-4 and have won just one game in each of the last two campaigns. But, Milford appears to have some talented athletes who could begin righting the ship as early as this season.

Perhaps the most dynamic player for Milford this season is sophomore running back DJ Bowman, who Strickland unsurprisingly said will play a major role on offense. There are plenty of other players, however, that the coach expects to play big roles on the team as well.

“DJ Bowman is a weapon, absolutely, but there are five, six other weapons we have that may have gone unnoticed in the past,” he said. “Milford has athletes and they want to play.”

What base offense Milford will run this season Strickland declined to state, but he did say the attack will be versatile. In last Saturday’s scrimmage versus CR the Bucs used both a spread attack and ran plays out of the “I” formation.

“There’s base, but there’s wrinkles,” Strickland said. “We’ll see what teams do to us and we’ll adjust to it.”

Former Milford coach Mike Tkach is now at CR. (The Chronicle/Jeff Mitchell)

Former Milford coach Mike Tkach is now at CR. (The Chronicle/Jeff Mitchell)

During the first week of practice the Buccaneers voted on their captains. Despite his youth, Bowman was elected as one and he was joined by junior Ryan Jones and senior linemen Tyler Norwood and Jose Ortiz.

Leadership roles will also fall to several other players, including senior Shawn Snowden junior Dominyc Hovington, Strickland said.

Red Lion Christian comes to Milford on Sept. 11 for the season-opener, which is scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff. The following three weeks will be against non-conference Delaware Military Academy (Sept. 19) and Conrad (Oct. 3) on the road and St. Andrew’s at home in-between those bouts on Sept. 25. Following Conrad the squad plays Henlopen South teams the rest of the way.

“The South is a tough conference, I take nothing for granted,” Strickland said. “We’re going to have ups and downs, it’s how we handle them as a team and move forward.”

From the Milford Chronicle Sports Desk

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