Woodbridge and Milford have had their way in Delaware high school football all season.
Top-ranked Woodbridge is 7-0 overall, 3-0 in the Henlopen South. The Blue Raiders have outscored opponents by an average of 38.7 points per game and haven’t allowed a point since September.
Second-ranked Milford is also 7-0 and 3-0. The Buccaneers have outscored opponents by an average of 36.1 points per game, with their closest victory by 19 points.
So something will have to give when these Division II titans clash at 7 p.m. Friday at Woodbridge.
“It’s literally going to come down to who’s going to be more disciplined, not make the little mistakes, and who’s going to execute well,” Buccaneers coach Shaun Strickland said. “It’s going to be the guys on the field that make the difference.”
Milford jumped from 1-9 to 6-4 in Strickland’s first year as coach last season. This year’s Bucs have already topped that win total, with three regular-season games to play. On Sept. 16, they blanked Delaware Military Academy (now 6-1 and ranked fifth in Division II) 24-0.
“We’ve been battle tested,” Strickland said. “DMA is a tough team, we won that one early. Conrad is still a tough team, disciplined, and [Indian River] and Laurel were tough.”
Woodbridge has been just as impressive. The Blue Raiders have been ranked first in Division II all season after returning much of a team that reached the D-II semifinals last year. They thumped Division I opponents Dover and Polytech to start the season, then downed Wilmington Friends (now 6-1 and ranked seventh in Division II) 35-7 on Sept. 23.
That was the last time Woodbridge allowed a point. Shutouts against Lake Forest, St. John Paul Catholic (Virginia), Seaford and Indian River have followed.
“We’ve been doing things well, offensively, defensively and special teams,” Blue Raiders coach Ed Manlove said. “We’ve been making some plays, and a lot of times our first team has been done in the first quarter or first half.”
This one probably won’t be decided that early. Neither team has been in a real pinch yet, but Woodbridge nipped Milford 17-14 last year on the road. It may be that close again.
“It all depends on our kids. If they come focused and ready to play, hopefully they can get the job done,” Manlove said. “But Milford is a very good football team. We’re going to have to play our best game just to be in it with them.”
The Bucs’ top two running backs – D.J. Bowman and Rahshawn Price – are injured. But Dominyc Hovington has moved from fullback to tailback without missing a beat. He rushed for three touchdowns in a 52-15 victory over Indian River two weeks ago.
“Plugging Hovington in hasn’t changed much,” Strickland said. “We run the same style. It’s just a little bit of a different running style for him than for the other two guys.”
Milford also throws effectively. William Kimmel completed 9 of 11 passes for 179 yards and three touchdowns in last week’s 44-25 win over Laurel, frequently targeting big receivers Brion Murray and Marcus Correa.
“They’re gonna make plays. They’ll probably score,” Manlove said. “We’ll just have to respond to whatever they do and keep playing.”
The Blue Raiders have the tools to respond, with efficient sophomore quarterback Troy Haynes handing off to Terrique Riddick (806 yards, 13 TDs), Jamon Kane (495 yards, 4 TDs) and Richard Massey (304 yards, 4 TDs) or throwing deep to Mike Brewer or Antwain Holden (three TDs each).
“We’re not going into this thing laughing,” Manlove said. “We’re getting ready.”
As big as this game is, it might not even determine the conference title. Delmar (5-2, 3-0) plays host to Indian River on Friday, then travels to Milford on Nov. 4 and closes the regular season at Woodbridge on Nov. 11. The Wildcats could sweep and take the crown.
But first, something has to give between Milford and Woodbridge.
Contact Brad Myers at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter: @BradMyersTNJ