The Smyrna Eagles football team may be saving the best for last, as the defeated Milford 28-0 Friday night at home on Senior Night. Before the contest, the senior football players, cheerleaders and band members were all recognized for their four-year contribution to the school.
Juniors TeQuan Boyer and Maurice McFolling-Nichols each scored two touchdowns for the Eagles, who's record improved to 4-5, with one game remaining and with it, a chance to finish the 2012 season with a .500 record.
Smyrna coach Clay Lloyd said coaches try to encourage and inspire their players.
“We try to tell our players how good they are, but that's why you play 48 minutes, that's why most games don't come down to one play. Certain plays may create a momentum shift, but that's why you have to play hard for all 48 minutes,” he said.
Smyrna opened the scoring on a 73-yard run down the left sideline by Boyer following a Milford punt.
Andrew Gilbert's conversion made the score 7-0 at 4:37 of the first period. The Eagles had another opportunity to score in the period, but Gilbert's 42-yard field goal attempt hit the crossbar. The team then doubled their lead at 9:26 of the second quarter when McFolling scampered 58 yards for a touchdown on a second and seven situation.
In the second half, Smyrna's defense held strong, limiting the Buccaneers scoring opportunities. McFolling scored his second touchdown of the night in spectacular fashion, racing 84 yards with a punt return with 3:28 left in the third quarter.
“That was definitely a big momentum shift for us offensively, and it also boosted our defense tonight,” said Lloyd.
Boyer then put the finishing touches with a 25-yard run late in the fourth quarter to ice the victory on a cold and windy evening.
Lloyd said the last five weeks have been tough on the players, going back to the Dover and Woodbridge games, a tough Homecoming loss against Sussex Tech, and then playing very well against C.R. (Caesar Rodney), but not so well against Sussex Central.
“I am very happy for my seniors, and we responded well on a short week, and they definitely earned the victory for us, so again, I'm happy for them,” said Lloyd.
Milford coach Mike Tkach said he was disappointed for his team taking a tough loss on a blustery night.
“I think you saw mirrored teams coming in tonight, both with 3-5 records, but I was disappointed how our kids played this game. We need to regroup because we have a rivalry game on Saturday against Lake Forest, and hopefully we can go over there and play the spoiler role and have our boys ready,” he said.
Smyrna wraps up the season Friday night at Cape Henlopen. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.