BY GENE NARDI
The Wellington High School varsity football team traveled to John I. Leonard High School on Friday, Sept. 9 for a non-district game. The Wolverines put together a second-half surge to handle the Lancers 44-21. The win puts the Wolverines at 2-1 so far this season.
Early on, it seemed Wellington was on route to an easy victory, quickly jumping out to a 10-0 lead. On Wellington’s first possession, a Sage Chen-Young score was called back due to a penalty. The Wolverines settled on a 22-yard Logan Robinson field goal to go up 3-0. Wellington then drove to the 6-yard line, where running back Marvin Pierre ran in for the score to extend the Wolverine lead to 10-0 early in the first quarter.
The back-to-back scores jolted the Lancers, and a 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown brought the Lancers back to within three at 10-7. The sudden Lancer score rattled the Wellington offense. The Lancer defense intercepted a Ben Schmickle pass inside the Wellington 10-yard line, which set up the Lancers’ go-ahead touchdown from 3 yards out. That score gave John I. Leonard its first lead of the night, 14-10.
The Wolverines looked stunned in disbelief as it took less than a minute for the Lancers to steal the lead away.
Both teams played solid defensively, making it difficult for the offensive units to add to their tally. Wellington managed one more score form Pierre before the half to retake the lead 16-14.
“I’m building with my team,” Pierre said. “My line did beautiful, and we’re finally coming together.”
John I. Leonard stormed out in the second half on its opening possession with a 65-yard touchdown run to grab back the lead, 21-16. The score got the attention of the Wolverines, and it was the last time that the Lancers would see the end zone. The Wolverines would unleash a scoring frenzy throughout the second half.
The first of four second-half Wellington touchdowns was a 30-yard run to the outside from receiver Jymetre Hester. The run would give the Wolverines a 23-21 lead. The next came from a Schmickle pass to Chen-Young for an 8-yard score. That touchdown extended the Wolverine advantage to 30-21 going into the fourth quarter.
On Wellington’s next possession, Schmickle connected with Hester on a 60-yard pass for a 37-21 margin. Running back Joshua Solomon put the lock on the win with an 8-yard touchdown run to make the score at 44-21.
“My O-line did amazing,” Schmickle said. “I didn’t get hit once, and it gave the receivers time to get open.”
Schmickle completed 12 of 21 passes on the night for 377 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions. Pierre is credited with two scores. Chen-Young, Hester and Solomon all had touchdowns. Chen-Young and Hester combined for 185 yards receiving. Pierre, Mark Richards and Hester combined for nearly 200 yards on the ground.
“This is a steppingstone in the direction we want to go,” Wellington coach Tom Abel said. “This gave them confidence, and we knew we could put up 40 points on the board, and we’re going to try to do that every week.”
On Friday, Sept. 16, Wellington will visit crosstown rival Palm Beach Central High School for the Wellington Cup game at 7 p.m.
ABOVE: Wellington quarterback Ben Schmickle runs the ball up field.