BY GENE NARDI
Wellington High School’s varsity football squad hosted perennial power William T. Dwyer High School on Friday, Oct. 9 and fell short 42-35, despite a fourth-quarter rally. The game went down to the last minute before a capacity Wellington home crowd.
Two of the county’s top 10 teams delivered a top-shelf performance. Wellington quarterback Blake Dever completed 18 passes of 35 attempts for 309 yards and three touchdowns, all to receiver Ahmmon Richards. Dever also rushed for a score.
The first play from scrimmage did not indicate that the game would be as close as it was. Dever threw an interception that was returned 38 yards for a touchdown, giving Dwyer an early 7-0 lead to open the contest. The pick-six proved to haunt Wellington late in the game.
Wellington (4-3, 2-0) responded on its next possession with a 55-yard touchdown pass from Dever to Richards. Logan Robinson’s kick tied it 7-7 only two minutes into the game.
The Wolverines pulled some early magic with an onside kick that was recovered by Chris Atkinson. Dever then gave Wellington a 13-7 lead when he scampered 20 yards for the score, with Dwyer yet to take a snap on offense.
Both teams traded blows on offense, exchanging scores through the first half. Wellington running back Mark Anthony Richards capped a 60-yard drive with a 2-yard run for the score to tie the game 21-21. Dwyer would find the end zone one more time before the end of the half to regain the lead 28-21.
Wellington recovered two more onside kicks in the second half to jump-start its rally, but not before Dwyer grabbed a 42-21 lead midway through the third quarter. Dever led his offense, throwing two scores to Ahmmon Richards, one for 17 yards and then again from 72 yards to cut the margin to one score, 42-35.
With less than two minutes to play, Wellington attempted its third onside kick, recovered by receiver Austin Gilman, giving the Wolverines possession on the Panther 30-yard line. Dever threw a pass to receiver Sage Chen-Young along the Dwyer sideline at the 5-yard line that was bobbled incomplete. Wellington would fail to convert, turning over possession with less than a minute to play, and come up short 42-35.
Ahmmon Richards had seven receptions for 161 yards and three touchdowns. Mark Anthony Richards had 10 rushes for 54 yards and a score. Gilman had five catches for 55 yards.
“They played big tonight, it’s unfortunate we didn’t come out with the victory,” Wellington coach Tom Abel said. “I think we still have a lot of fight in us.”
Wellington is 4-3 on the season and still unbeaten in district play, which will resume Friday, Oct. 16 at 7 p.m., when the Wolverines host Jupiter High School for Wellington’s homecoming game.
ABOVE: Ahmmon Richards reels in a two-point conversion in the first half for the Wolverines.