BY GENE NARDI
On Saturday, June 25, the Wellington High School football program hosted its first 7-on-7 tournament sponsored by the Florida High School 7v7 Association.
The tournament drew schools from Palm Beach, Broward and Indian River counties. Schools in attendance were host Wellington, William T. Dwyer, Vero Beach, Piper and J.P. Taravella high schools.
The Florida High School 7v7 Association was in search of a Palm Beach County venue for one of its events.
“They asked if we could host it, and we said we would love to host it,” Wellington head coach Tom Abel said. “This is the first time we have ever done anything like this at Wellington, and it won’t be the last.”
These type of tournaments have become very popular in the past decade for high school football programs, especially for quarterbacks, receivers, cornerbacks and safeties. Tournaments give players an opportunity to stay in shape and maintain a certain level of readiness for the fall season.
“This tournament was a success, and we’re definitely going to host another one next summer,” Abel said. “We had the opportunity to go up against some of the best teams in the state.”
The action was nothing short of intense, with players showcasing their talents and expressing their enthusiasm throughout the competition. Wellington was eliminated by Dwyer 13-7 in the semifinal game. Vero Beach defeated Dwyer 18-12 in the final game to win the championship.
“This just makes us better for the fall,” Abel said. “We run our offensive plays that we’re going to run during the season so we can see who can run the routes.”
Abel views 7-on-7 events as a way to prepare his skills players for the season and believes it serves as a bonus for the team.
“We’ve gone against some of the state’s best in some of these tournaments, like Miami Northwestern, American Heritage and Dwyer,” Abel said.
The event also served as a fundraiser for the program. Spectators had the benefit of sitting up close to the action, and could visit the concession stand for refreshments provided by the Wolverine program.
The Wolverines have participated in two full camps and several 7-on-7 tournaments, as many area schools do this time of year. Wellington will close out their summer with one more tournament next month in New Smyrna Beach, then wind down in preparation for the fall season.
For more information on the tournaments, visit www.fhs7v7a.com.
ABOVE: Aniik McKenzie advances the ball after a reception against Dwyer.