BY GENE NARDI
The Wellington High School varsity football squad hosted the Cardinal Newman Crusaders on Thursday, Oct. 10. Wellington played an impressive first half, moving the ball on offense, but only managed to find the back of the end zone once before losing 37-7.
The Wolverines, 3-4 on the season, opened their first drive powering to the Newman 21 yard line, but failed to convert on a fourth and short. It was the Wolverines’ defense that had trouble stopping the Crusader offense during the contest.
The Crusaders marched down the field on their first possession and took an early 7-0 lead. A big 50-yard Wellington kick-return by Jean Rene set up Wellington’s offense for an apparent drive to tie the game early, but penalties and a credited Newman sack forced a Wolverine punt.
The Wolverine defense held the Crusader offense to a punt situation from their end zone. A high snap sailed over the Newman punter, but fell out of the end zone, setting up Wolverine possession inside the Newman 45 yard line.
Wellington tied the game 7-7 when quarterback Devin Bolden ran it in from one yard out. Choyse Hall’s point after tied the game.
Cardinal Newman wasted no time by scoring on a 75-yard touchdown pass from Daniel Cole to Travis Rudolph, to regain the lead 14-7. The Crusaders would put up three more points on a field goal to extend their lead, 17-7.
The Wolverines would threaten to cut the lead by moving the ball throughout the half, but penalties and turnovers plagued the squad.
Wellington defender Mike Howard intercepted a Crusader pass late in the half to give the Wolverines another chance to cut the Newman lead, but again fell short. Wellington’s Kyle Branch and Devin Gillotti were the work horses that sparked the Wolverine offense, but they were unable to capitalize on several opportunities as the half ended 17-7.
The second half proved to be the end of Wellington’s chances of a comeback. The Wolverine defense could not stop the punishing Crusader offense as they scored on back-to-back possessions, extending their lead to 30-7.
The Wellington offense sputtered in the second half, turning the ball over after sustaining solid drives without mustering points. Cardinal Newman would score one more touchdown to knock the air out of the Wolverines for the final 37-7 victory.
Wellington’s special team returners Jean Rene, Ahmmon Richards and Kyle Branch provided plenty of excitement with big returns, giving the Wolverines good field position throughout.
Wellington next travels to Seminole Ridge on Friday, Oct. 18 at 7 p.m.
ABOVE: Ahmmon Richards catches a pass from Devin Bolden.