BY GENE NARDI
The Wellington High School varsity football squad traveled to Boca Raton High School on Friday, Nov. 6 and bested the Bobcats 30-28, capping the regular season with an exclamation point. The Wolverines finished 6-4, 3-1 in the division, on the season.
The win also put a spoiler on the Bobcats’ homecoming night. Coming off a bye week, Wellington knew it needed a big performance from its offense to rebound from a disappointing 14-9 district title loss to Palm Beach Gardens High School two weeks ago.
The game opened up at the first whistle. Two scores in four plays indicated what kind of match-up the crowd was in for. Wellington’s Ahmmon Richards returned the opening kickoff 98 yards to the Boca 2-yard line. On the next play, Wellington’s quarterback found receiver Chris Atkinson for the first touchdown. Boca responded on the ensuing possession with a 52-yard touchdown run on its first play from scrimmage to tie it up at seven with less than two minutes off the clock.
Wellington’s Nick Atkinson reeled in a partially blocked Bobcat field goal at the goal line and returned it 52 yards to give the Wolverines good field possession. Going into the second quarter, kicker Logan Robinson gave Wellington the 10-7 lead with a 42-yard field goal.
Boca struck with a one-two punch combination to take the lead. A Wellington squib kick was returned for a score, and then on the Bobcats’ next possession, a 36-yard touchdown run staggered the Wolverines, down 21-10 midway through the second quarter.
A monumental Wolverine defensive stand gave Wellington momentum. Boca gambled early by attempting to convert on a fourth-and-four, but Wellington linebacker Alex Brosseau sacked the Bobcat quarterback for an 8-yard loss, giving the Wolverines field possession on the Boca 42-yard line. From there, Wellington quarterback Blake Dever went to work, launching a 42-yard touchdown pass to Richards. Robinson’s kick closed the margin to 21-17.
Dever then found receiver Austin Gilman on a 29-yard touchdown pass. Robinson’s kick gave the Wolverines a 24-21 lead with 13 seconds left in the half. Chris Atkinson recovered a Wellington onside kick, which set up a 17-yard field attempt that was unsuccessful to close the half.
In the second half, Dever would cross the goal line on a 1-yard run to extend the Wolverines’ lead to 30-21. The Wellington defense kept the Bobcat offense out of the end zone through most of the second half. Boca closed the gap to two points with a 6-yard touchdown pass but could not get the go-ahead score. Richards intercepted a late Boca pass to close out the game, giving Wellington the 30-28 win.
Dever finished the game completing 16 of 28 passes for 257 yards and four touchdowns. Richards had five receptions for 94 yards and a score. Gilman tallied four catches for 72 yards and a touchdown. Atkinson recorded six catches for 50 yards and a score. The Wolverines also had 146 yards on the ground. Elroy Taylor had 14 rushes for 92 yards. Brosseau recorded two sacks on defense.
Wellington will travel to face unbeaten Atlantic High School in the regional quarterfinal game Friday, Nov. 13 at 7 p.m.
ABOVE: Running back Mark Anthony Richards finds a hole in Boca Raton’s defense for a Wolverine first down.