BY GENE NARDI
The Seminole Ridge High School varsity football squad hosted district rival Wellington on Friday, Oct. 18 for the Hawks’ homecoming game. The Hawks came away with a 28-7 victory.
Both teams entered the game in a must-win situation to contend for a playoff spot. The Hawks owned the first half, displaying the classic Seminole Ridge run game, dominating the Wellington defense.
The Wolverines could not muster a first down until near the end of the first half. The Hawks scored 21 points in the first half and pounded out 258 total yards on the ground in the contest.
Seminole Ridge consumed six minutes of the first quarter on the first drive before running back Darrell Hickman ran it in from 2 yards out. Jacob Curran’s point after gave the Hawks an early 7-0 lead.
Wellington’s defense held the Hawks on their second possession to a 53-yard field goal attempt that went wide left in the second quarter. On a third and 18, Seminole Ridge quarterback Zach Decosta connected with tight end Tanner Zaskey on a 35-yard touchdown pass. Curran’s point after extended the lead to 14-0. Hawk running back Kerrith Whyte then scored on a two-yard run, with Curran’s point after giving Seminole Ridge a comfortable 21-0 lead.
The Wolverine offense found life as quarterback Devin Bolden orchestrated a 13-play drive that included eight pass completions to the Hawks’ 16 yard line, but could not capitalize with time running out.
Wellington, determined to make a game, changed the tide of the contest in the second half. The Wolverines scored on their first possession. Bolden connected to receiver Jean Rene on a 16-yard touchdown pass. Kicker Alex Ng’s point after closed the gap to 21-7. Wellington then had a 35-yard touchdown pass on their next possession to receiver Ahmmon Richards called back on a penalty.
The Hawks drove to the Wellington 2 yard line, and on a pivotal play, went for the touchdown, but the Wolverine defense stopped the run short up the middle. Wellington then drove 68 yards, to the Seminole Ridge 30 yard line, but failed to convert the drive into points. With time running out, the Hawks delivered the final blow when DeCosta connected with Oreste Ruiz on a touchdown pass. Curran’s point after sealed the 28-7 win for the Hawks.
“I was happy we won, but not happy the way we played in the second half,” Hawks coach Scott Barnwell said after the game.
Jalen Young had 79 yards on 8 carries, while DeCosta went 6 for 9 with 102 yards.
“That called-back touchdown blew our momentum, and we still battled back. I’m proud of these kids,” WHS coach Thomas Abel said.
Wellington receiver Kyle Branch had 9 catches for 88 yards. Bolden was 16 for 30 with 162 yards.
Seminole Ridge travels to Pahokee on Friday, Oct. 25, while Wellington has a bye week.
ABOVE: Hawk running back Jalen Young finds a hole in the WHS defense.