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Photo: Milford head coach Mike Hilligoss.

The Milford High School football team showed signs that it could be competitive in the Henlopen Conference Southern Division last season.

Mike Hilligoss, Milford High School football coachThen along came a few extra boys at the school, and the Bucs suddenly find themselves continuing their rebuilding program in the rugged Henlopen North for 2000.

Second-year head coach Mike Hilligoss, however, isn't letting the divisional switch derail his rebuilding plans.

"We're moving to the North with John Wells (Sussex Central), but other than that, our schedule schedule will be basically the same," said Hilligoss. "Dover and Sussex Central are the only two games we haven't played in the past, so we're used to playing guys with that kind of size. Caesar Rodney pounded us last year but we were in the game with Cape and we beat Sussex Tech. I'm not concerned about the physical play in the North."

He is concerned, however, about losing two of his better returning players to transfers. The Bucs lost second team all-conference linebacker Michael Henry and promising young fullback Prince Kimmerlin to Caesar Rodney and Sussex Tech, respectively.

Following is a detailed look at the 2000 Milford High School football team:

Head Coach: Mike Hilligoss, 2nd season

1999 Record: 2-4, 3-7

Key Returning Players:

  • Ryan Billings, Sr., QB-S
  • Adam Brown, Sr., OT-DT
  • Brock Tinley, Sr., G-T
  • Vincent Leggins, Sr., RB-CB
  • J.R. Duffy, Sr., FB-LB
  • Justin King, Sr., T-T
  • Andre Henson, Sr., T-DE
  • T.J. Webb, Sr., Slot-CB
  • Matt Byrum, Sr., TE-LB
  • Keith Kendzierski, Sr., TE-LB

Key Players Lost:

  • J.V. Powell, G-DT
  • Robert Drummond, WB
  • Jon Jones, QB-SE
  • Ricky Harper, G
  • Ray White, FB
  • Michael Henry, FB-LB
  • Prince Kimmerlin, FB

Promising Newcomers:

  • Josh Marvel, Jr., G
  • Matt Bailey, Jr., TE
  • Larry Rykard, So., WB
  • Darrell Hughes, So., SB
  • Carl Hazzard, So., FB

Strengths: Hilligoss believes senior leadership will help the Bucs improve on last year's record. Starting with two-year starter Ryan Billings at quarterback, the Bucs have 10 seniors back this year from a team that challenged for the South title for a few weeks. "We don't have a lot of size, but we have a lot of heart and no discipline problems," said Hilligoss. "Everybody wants to be there and wants to play football." The Bucs will also lean on senior fullback J.R. Duffy and senior halfback Vincent Leggins. "I expect our backs to give us opportunities to be in every ballgame," said Hilligoss.

Weaknesses: Hilligoss is most concerned by a lack of depth after the starters. He also concedes that the addition of Sussex Central and Dover to the schedule with the move to the North could hurt the Bucs if they don't develop some depth quickly.

Hilligoss' View of the North: "I think it's too tough to tell. Wells (Sussex Central), going 8-2 last year and not losing too many guys, he'll definitely be in charge of the North in my mind. Coveleski (Caesar Rodney head coach Jon Coveleski) always has a good program, no matter how he gets his players. Those two teams will be the teams to beat. Cape has a good running back in Tykee Perry and Shane Massey and nice young kid in Thaddeus Shockley, so they'll be difficult to stop. Sussex Tech picks up a good fullback from Milford, a young kid, Prince Kimmerlin."

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