Woodbridge upends Milford in defensive football struggle

MILFORD – With Milford and Woodbridge locked in a defensive football battle, eventually something had to break.

It ended up being Blue Raiders senior Kirby Williams that did the breaking in what finished as a 17-14 Woodbridge win that kept the visitors alive in the Henlopen South race.

A ruled safety against Milford (5-3 overall, 2-2 South) made the score 14-9 in favor of the Buccaneers with just less than five minutes remaining in regulation.

Following the free kick, Woodbridge went 41 yards on seven plays for the eventual game-winning touchdown. Williams took an inside handoff the final 22 yards of the drive untouched into the end zone for the score and the Raiders added a two-point conversion to take their 17-14 advantage with two minutes to go.

Senior Garret Temple intercepted quarterback William Kimmel’s pass two Milford plays later at the Bucs’ 36 to seal the victory.

Milford couldn't find much running room against the Woodbridge D. (Special to The Chronicle/Gary Emeigh)

Milford couldn’t find much running room against the Woodbridge D. (Special to The Chronicle/Gary Emeigh)

“My coach was doing that jet (sweep) a lot and I guess that sucked them in,” Williams said. “We ran a dive and I just ran up the hole and got it. It was my chance, I (had) to go. Got to thank the o-line. Thank God too, because I was asking for a blessing and He gave it to me.”

After stopping Woodbridge three-and-out on the game’s opening possession, Milford engineered a 10-play, 74-yard drive that sophomore David Bowman capped with a four-yard run to give his team a 6-0 lead.

Woodbridge (5-3, 3-1) answered near the end of the first quarter when its defense sacked quarterback Marcus Correa and forced a fumble that senior Josh Roth dove on at the Milford 20. One play later Raiders senior Ju’Wan Massey went 15 yards to pay dirt and the Megan Joseph point after made it 7-6.

Neither team would come close to scoring again until Milford went back on top midway through the third quarter.

Receiving the ball to open the second half, Milford ran 12 plays but couldn’t get beyond the Woodbridge 45 where it turned it over on downs.

As it did most of the game, however, the Buccaneers D stepped up and got the ball back when Woodbridge went three-and-out and lined up to punt but fell victim to a bad snap that allowed Milford to take over at the Raiders’ 38.

On the next play, Kimmel found junior Brion Murray open down the left sideline and hit him with a touchdown pass. Kimmel then kept it for a successful two-point conversion that made the score 14-7 with 4:58 to go in the third.

From there a game of field position was played with Woodbridge mostly winning it though the Raiders offense couldn’t manage to score a tying TD. Instead, it was the Woodbridge defense that came up with the game-changing play.

Facing third-and-17 from its own one, Milford dropped back to pass but Kimmel was sacked by junior Shymere Vessels. Although Kimmel’s forward progress appeared to have him at the one, he was tackled in the end zone and the Raiders were awarded the safety.

“Not that I agree with the call, but we were hoping to get it out of the end zone,” Milford coach Shaun Strickland said. “Either way, it was (a game) where our defense put up a hell of a fight. For them to only give up 17 points when we weren’t giving them the ball in good field position… We should’ve come out on the other end. The offense didn’t hold up on their end.”

With two Henlopen South games remaining, Woodbridge finds itself in a second place tie with Indian River, each having one loss in the division standings. The Raiders, who lost to South leader Lake Forest 9-7, defeated IR 34-0 last Friday. To keep its division hopes alive, Woodbridge needs to defeat Laurel next week and have Indian River upset the Spartans, who have yet to lose in conference play.

The Raiders, however, can’t concern themselves with anything but the Bulldogs, coach Ed Manlove said.

“What we talk about is going one at a time,” he said. “We want to go 2-0 to finish the season. It was 3-0, we did what we were supposed to do and we’re just going to try to keep going.”

From the Milford Chronicle Sports Desk

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