Milford 35, Dickinson 0
There aren't many better ways to start a coaching career, and after a shaky first half, new Milford High School head football coach Mike Tkach saw his team come together in the second half of a 35-0 season-opening nonconference victory over visiting Dickinson.
It was the second straight season-opening shutout for the Bucs, who blanked Dickinson 13-0 in last year's opener.
"Any time you get a win, it's great," said Tkach. "Being my first win as a head coach, I was really excited and really happy, just for the kids and the program and everything. Now we can take a nice, deep breath."
The Bucs controlled the game throughout but led only 7-0 at halftime after turning the ball over on each of their first four possessions.
Milford moved the ball 30 to 40 yards on each drive, but kept running into fumbles and interceptions.
"It got to the point with nine minutes left in the second quarter and the guys were getting frustrated that I called timeout and said, 'Hey, that's over with. Everybody's turned the ball over so it's out of your system now'."
From that point on, the Bucs blew the game open.
First, quarterback Jonathan Stratton scored on a 10-yard run to give Milford its 7-0 halftime lead.
Then, in the third quarter, Karel DeVore bolted 24 yards for a 14-0 lead and Stratton hit tight end Kris Kendzierski with a 14-yard pass for a 21-0 advantage.
Milford continued to roll into the fourth quarter, as it scored on a 3-yard run by DeVore and a 62-yard punt return by leading rusher R.J. Chandler.
Chandler led the Bucs with 175 yards rushing, while DeVore added 81 yards and fullback Prince Kemmerlin contributed 59 more. Backup running back Donte Tilghman ran for 27 yards. Stratton threw for 73.
"We balanced it around and distributed the ball," said Tkach. "We had a lot of people contribute to our success. Our second-teamers filled in for guys and gave them a series break. People that you don't necessarily look to be contributors definitely stepped up. We need role players who might be second or third string to contribute to our success."
As for the shutout, Tkach credited defensive coordinator Chris Johnson for the game plan. He singled out defensive linemen Prince Kemmerlin and Donte Tilghman and linebackers Ryan McNulty, Kris Kendzierski and Will McColley.
"Our defense was a good, strong point for us," said Tkach. "We had real good play from our whole defensive line up front. Our defensive backs knew their roles and all three linebackers played a nice game for us. There are areas we need to improve on. We weren't perfect on the defensive side of the ball, but they were coachable errors that we'll work on this week."
The Bucs face Archmere Academy in another nonconference outing on Saturday, Sept. 14, at 2 p.m. The game will be Archmere's season-opener.
"We know they're a traditionally strong team," said Tkach.
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