The Polytech football program is in the middle of a renaissance of sorts this season. They exploded out of the gates winning their first four games of the 2013 campaign. And for a program that’s used to winning just one or two games a season, four wins in a row is a big deal.
Riding high, the Panthers were already on their way to the best season in program history, and doing it in their first year competing within the Henlopen North division, to boot.
Then, reality reared its ugly head. Polytech suffered their first defeat of the season last week, a 55-10 trouncing by rival Caesar Rodney. The team had just received their first adversity of the season.
On Friday night, many thought we’d get to see how this young and budding program would respond to their first defeat, however, mother nature had other ideas.
The game against the Milford Bucs (0-5) was postponed until Monday night, certainly an odd – but unavoidable – date for the school’s homecoming game. However, undeterred the Panthers were able to respond positively after their loss to CR. The Panthers defeated the Bucs 26-9 Monday night to improve to 5-1 on the season, though it wasn’t easy.
Milford entered the game struggling this season at 0-5, fresh off a 17-0 loss to Delmar. However, if they were supposed to show up and lose, someone forgot to tell the Bucs.
The Bucs defense would strike first for Milford when Shawn Snowden got to Polytech quarterback Alex Winchester, tackling him in the end zone for a safety giving Milford an early 2-0 lead.
The Milford offense was next to get into the action, this time finding the end zone when quarterback Cole Davis found a wide-open Vance Daniels to open up the Bucs lead to 9-0.
Polytech’s offense sputtered in the first quarter, and their woes seemingly got worse in the second quarter. Winchester was picked off, but was bailed out when Kyle Hyde forced a fumble that was recovered by Polytech and returned near the Bucs goal line.
One play later, Panthers running back Matthew Williams scored for the first of his three touchdowns on the night. The extra point was missed, and the Milford lead was cut to 9-6, and would stay that way going into the break.
Neither team lite the scoreboard in a third quarter filled with miscues on both sides, in the form of penalties and some mental errors.
Entering the fourth, still trailing 9-6 another Polytech offensive drive had stalled and the punting unit came onto the field. In a game that had more than its fair share of laundry tossed on the field by officials, another Milford error cost them dearly. The Bucs were called for a roughing the punter penalty, which awarded the Panthers new life as well as great field position.
The Panther offense would take advantage of the break when Williams ran for another score to pull the Panthers ahead 13-9.
With the shift in momentum, the pressure fell onto the Milford offense to put a late drive together. Unfortunately for the Bucs, there were no late-game heroics coming.
Kevin Forsyth intercepted a pass deep in Milford territory and returned to the 11-yard line giving the Panther offense a chance to put the game away.
Has they had done in their previous possession, the Panther capitalized on the Milford error. Williams found pay dirt for the third time, this time from five-yards out to preserve the come-from-behind victory.
Now, the Panthers have to get their focus back in a hurry. Polytech will face Cape Henlopen (2-4) next week, their first of four straight Henlopen Conference games to end their schedule.
For Milford, they look to find something to celebrate about next week when they host Seaford (3-3) in the Bucs homecoming game.