Game of the Week
Notes | Other Games of the Week
Photo: On a controversial fourth quarter two-point conversion attempt, officials ruled, as shown in this photo, that Milford's Jon Jones had his left foot on the sideline when he caught a pass that would have tied the score in Milford's 8-6 loss to Laurel on Friday, Oct. 29, 1999. Milford coaches, players and fans felt, however, that Jones caught the ball with both feet in bounds before stepping on the sideline.
LAUREL -- A blocked field goal attempt and a controversial out-of-bounds ruling on a two-point conversion helped the Laurel High School football team hold off determined Milford 8-6 in a key Henlopen Conference Southern Division game Friday night, Oct. 29, 1999.
The Bulldogs rose to 4-1 in the South and 4-3 overall as the Henlopen South championship picture started to take shape.
The win in its final home game of the season kept Laurel just behind unbeaten Woodbridge, which rose to 3-0 in the South and 7-0 overall with a 19-0 shutout of Smyrna in another game Friday night.
Milford slipped to 2-1 in the South and 3-4 overall but can still contend for the title and automatic state tournament berth with a win over Woodbridge on Friday, Nov. 5. Laurel faces Hodgson on Nov. 5 before visiting Woodbridge on Nov. 12.
Delmar was a contender, too, before a 15-12 upset loss to Indian River on Oct. 29 dropped the four-time defending division champions to 1-2 in the Southern Division.
Laurel scored on its first possession on a 2-yard run by Titus Mims with 9:00 left in the first quarter. Mims converted the two-point conversion attempt on a run.
After that initial drive, though, the Milford defense stiffened and the Bulldogs had their hands full the rest of the night.
Unable to score, Laurel turned the game over to its defense, which held up well until the fourth quarter, when the Bucs' Robbie Drummond (107 yards rushing) bounced off several Bulldog defenders and raced 63 yards to bring his team within 8-6 with 9:25 left in the game.
Controversy erupted on the ensuing two-point conversion attempt when Milford end Jon Jones was ruled out of bounds in the corner of the end zone with the ball securely in his arms. Milford coaches and players felt Jones caught the ball with both feet in bounds before stepping on the sideline.
That play preserved Laurel's 8-6 advantage, but the Bucs moved into Laurel territory two more times before game's end.
The first time, Milford took possession at Laurel's 48 following a shanked punt but the drive stopped after only two plays when the Bulldogs' Robbie Macklin intercepted a pass by Milford quarterback Ryan Billings at the Laurel 29.
Laurel turned the ball right back over, though, when Milford's Fletcher Kenton recovered a Mike Snead fumble at the Laurel 49 with 3:28 remaining in the game.
Vincent Leggins then raced 27 yards on a double reverse to the Laurel 13. Three plays later the Bucs faced fourth-and-3 at the Laurel 6 and decided to try for a possible game-winning field goal with 1:20 left. Billings' 22-yard try, however, was blocked when Laurel's Hykeem Williams bulled through the line and swatted it down.
9:00 -- LAUREL (8-0 Laurel)
9:25 MILFORD (8-6 Laurel)
Laurel coach Paul Kmetz on the hard-earned victory:
"That (Milford) was a great team out there. We knew that going in. Milford doesn't get the respect in the Henlopen Conference that it deserves, but it does from the teams it plays. Coach (Mike) Hilligoss is doing a great job there. His team doesn't quit."
Kmetz on his defense:
"The defense played real well. We had some missed tackles on that long run by Robbie Drummond (63-yard TD run in the fourth quarter), but he's a great back."
Laurel quarterback Shawn Powell on the Bulldogs' title chances:
"It's all right in front of us now. If we beat Woodbridge, we're the conference champs."
Milford coach Mike Hilligoss on the controversial out-of-bounds ruling on a two-point conversion pass to end Jon Jones that would have tied the game 8-8 in the fourth quarter:
"He (Jones) was in, no doubt about it. The officials did a good job up until then. I guess we got a bad break. It just came at a bad time for our program."
Hilligoss on the decision to try a 22-yard field goal with 1:20 left in the game rather than go for it on fourth-and-3 at the Laurel 6:
"We shouldn't have tried the field goal. We should have run for it."
Hilligoss on his team's performance in the second half:
"I couldn't be more proud of my team. We came out in the second half and decided we were going to win it. We were definitely the better team in the second half. The defense stepped up and shut them down."
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