BY GENE NARDI
Wellington High School’s varsity football team traveled to Pembroke Pines Flanagan for the Class 8A regional final game Friday, Nov. 28, and were bested by the Falcons 32-0. It was the first time the Wolverines were shut out this season. The loss also ended an impressive 10-game winning streak.
The Wolverines were not without their traveling fan base, however, as they packed the visitors’ stands for the big game.
Despite the score, Wellington kept the game close in the first half, down only 12-0. Flanagan keyed well on the Wolverines’ high-powered offense that had averaged 40 points a game, but not without the help of four Wellington turnovers that proved catastrophic in the second half. The Falcons added 20 more points in the third quarter.
Just before the end of the first half, Wellington’s quarterback brought the offensive unit to the Flanagan 14-yard line but fumbled the snap on a fourth-and-short only to turn the ball over on downs.
Again, the Wolverines showed how dangerous they can be on special teams, recovering an onside kick to start the second half on the Flanagan 40-yard line. The ball took a high bounce over the front line, and Jean Rene came up with the recovery just before the ball went out of bounds.
The Wolverines then drove to the Flanagan 27-yard line, but another costly interception ended the drive and chipped away at any building Wellington momentum. Flanagan would capitalize on two Wellington turnovers in the second half to extend the Falcons’ lead to 25-0.
Wellington battled back, putting together a drive, but another Wellington interception ended any chances for a comeback. Flanagan would tally one more score to close the regional final out 32-0.
The Wolverine defense spent most of the second half on the field, chasing Flanagan quarterback Ryan Stanley in the backfield, but the elusive quarterback found ways to get the ball down field.
Wellington was limited to an unusually low 140 yards of total offense on the night. Quarterback Shannon Patrick completed 22 of 40 passes with three interceptions. Rene had five catches for 52 yards. Receiver Ahmmon Richards corralled two receptions for 32 yards. Receivers Austin Gilman and Kyle Branch combined for 48 yards receiving.
The loss ended Wellington’s dream season, but not without boasting the most successful record in the school’s 25-year history. The Wolverines finished 11-2 overall, earning the District 9-8A championship with a 23-17 win over Palm Beach Gardens and two playoff victories over Park Vista and Palm Beach Gardens to get to the regional final game.
ABOVE: Wolverine receiver Jean Rene tries to turn up field after a catch.