BY GENE NARDI
The Wellington High School varsity football squad hosted its regular season opener last Friday night, but lost 7-0 to the visiting Santaluces High School Chiefs.
The Wolverines came into the match-up with high expectations on both sides of the ball. The Wolverine defense delivered when it had to, despite giving up just one score to the Chiefs. Offensively, the Wolverines were plagued by turnovers and penalties that created a barrier as they aimed for the end zone.
Wellington took their opening drive 47 yards to the Chiefs 20 yard line before turning the ball over on a fumble.
The Wolverine offense, led by quarterback Cole Smallridge, chipped away at the Santaluces defense, mixing it up with short passes and quick run plays to get just outside the red zone.
Santaluces took advantage of the early fumble and drove down field, scoring from three yards out. Coming at the end of the first quarter, it was to be the only score of the game.
The Wolverines responded with another solid drive to midfield, but again turned the ball over on a fumble. Wellington’s defense gave their offense back the ball with an interception by Devin Bolden on the next play.
While the Wellington offense gained some momentum, penalties would push them in the opposite direction.
As the half came to a close, it was the defense that continued to shine. The imposing Wolverine defense shut down the Santaluces passing game.
Both squads had a difficult time mounting an offensive assault to put more points on the board, and the game ended 7-0 on the Chiefs’ lone early score.
Wellington defensive linemen Tim Crawford and Keegan Sullivan combined for three sacks. Calvin Howe and JJ Eggen both recorded a sack.
Wellington will travel to West Boca High School on Friday, Sept. 6 for a 7 p.m. game.
ABOVE: WHS quarterback Cole Smallridge throws downfield to a receiver.