By Gene Nardi
The floodgates opened at Wellington High School’s football program this spring, and the Wolverines look to continue their winning ways as they work through the spring and plan for the fall season. Wellington started with more than 100 student-athletes reporting for the first day of spring practice.
Wellington was once the opponent other teams looked forward to playing for a guaranteed win. Head coach Tom Abel has changed that, entering his fifth season as the helm. In his third year, the Wolverines made school history and finished with an 11-2 record, a district title and a regional finals appearance.
Last season, Wellington finished 7-4, earned district runner-up and made a regional quarterfinals appearance. “We set the goal, the expectations are high and we believe we can reach it,” Abel said. “We talk about being the leaders, and we talk about being champions every single day.”
Last season, Wellington claimed local bragging rights, with wins over all three area teams, Royal Palm Beach, Palm Beach Central and Seminole Ridge.
The Wolverines will have several holes to fill due to graduation, starting at slot receiver. Wellington loses All-American and two-time player of the year Ahmmon Richards, who will suit up as a Hurricane in the fall. Also gone is quarterback Blake Dever to Savannah State, and all-county first team offensive tackle Harry Paul to the University of Chicago.
“We’re very blessed to have many returning players to fill those positions,” Abel said.
Returning junior Kevin Wright will battle junior Ben Schmickle and sophomore lefty Nick Atkins at quarterback. “All three will have the opportunity to show us what they can do,” Abel said.
Freshman Mark Anthony Richards returns for the Wolverines at running back and slot receiver. At 6-foot-3 and 190 pounds, Richards is sure to be a force on the Wolverines offense. Junior Elroy Taylor and freshman Jaden Durant will also occupy the backfield for Wellington’s spread style of offense.
Look for junior Sage Chen-Young to return on both sides of the ball for Wellington, as receiver and safety. Lake Worth transfer Jemetri Hester, Chris Simmons and D.J. Dobkins will also line up at slot receiver for the Wolverines.
Most of the line returns for Wellington. This spring, the line averages 6-foot-4 and 280 pounds across for the Wolverines, with Santiago Posada and Chris Namacher anchoring the corps. “They’re three year-starters for us, and we’re very happy to have them with us,” Abel said.
For the Wellington defense, Anfernee Rosario and Tyler Jolly will play opposite ends on the line. The biggest void on the defense to fill will be the two inside linebacker positions. Alex Brosseau and Alec Malynn both graduated. Anthony Pata and Nebraska transfer Isaac Adonis will step in there.
The kicking game will continue with the return of Logan Robinson, a Lou Groza finalist last year. Robinson tied the school record of nine onside kicks last year.
Wellington will suit up for its spring football game at Lake Worth High School on Friday, May 27 at 7 p.m.
ABOVE: Wellington head coach Tom Abel addresses the team after a practice.