BY GENE NARDI
The Wellington High School football team hosted Lake Worth High School for its annual spring game on Wednesday, May 20, and held on to defeat the Trojans 28-21.
The spring game serves as a test for both coaches and players, to determine what areas need to be worked on for the fall.
Receiver/safety and University of Miami commit Ahmmon Richards provided most of the scoring for the Wolverines, with two interceptions returned for touchdowns, and a touchdown reception.
The game did not start well for the defending District 9-8A champions. Lake Worth capitalized on an early Wellington fumble, then scored on its third play to take a 7-0 lead.
Another turnover by the Wolverines gave the Trojans the ball on Wellington’s 23-yard line, but this time Richards bailed the Wolverines out of a hole, and tied the game with a goal-line interception returned 99 yards. Logan Robinson’s point-after kick tied the game at 7-7.
Lake Worth responded with an 80-yard drive for a score to regain the lead at 14-7 to close out the first quarter. Turnovers and penalties continued to clutter most of the first half for both teams, which is typically evident in spring games. Teams only get a maximum of 20 days to practice for spring ball. Wellington threw the ball effectively, moving the ball down field, but could not shake the turnovers.
An interception by Chris Atkinson gave Wellington an opportunity to respond and tie the game from midfield. Quarterback Johnny Giordano connected with Atkinson for a 40-yard touchdown pass. Robinson’s kick tied the game at 14-14.
Wellington took its first lead of the game when Richards reeled in his second interception on a Lake Worth fourth-down play, returning the ball 75 yards. Robinson’s kick made it 21-14. With 2:36 to play in the first half, Richards caught a 5-yard touchdown pass from Giordano to extend the Wellington lead. Robinson’s kick made it 28-14 to close out the half.
The second half was a battle in midfield with more turnovers. This time, it was the Trojans capitalizing on a Wellington fumble. Lake Worth put together a 20-yard touchdown run to close the gap 28-21.
Ben Schmikle stepped in as quarterback for Wellington and helped lead the Wolverines on a fourth-and-18 to the Trojan 4-yard line. Schmikle connected with Atkinson for a 40-yard gain. With seconds left, Schmikle took a knee, and Wellington held on to the 28-21 win.
The teams combined for 11 turnovers. Giordano threw for two touchdowns. Atkinson is credited with a score and an interception. Richards tallied three scores and two interceptions, and Tyler Somers anchored the defense with a sack and forced fumble.
ABOVE: Receiver Ahmmon Richards crosses the goal line after a catch.