Field Goals Put Wellington Over Gators For District Title


The Wellington High School varsity football squad hosted rival Palm Beach Gardens High School on Thursday, Oct. 20 and rallied in the fourth quarter to win the District 9-8A title 12-10. The district championship victory marks the school’s second in three years under head coach Tom Abel. Last year, the Wolverines lost to the Gators 14-9 and settled for district runner-up.

Wellington (5-3, 3-1 in the district) relied on senior kicker Logan Robinson to put four field goals on the scoreboard. Robinson went four for five, missing a 47-yarder that had the distance but sailed just wide to the left.

The Wolverines struck the first two blows, sustaining drives inside the red zone, setting up Robinson to send in a 17-yard field goal first, then an 18-yarder to give Wellington a 6-0 lead to end the first quarter. Palm Beach Gardens’ offense finally launched a drive to set up a 3-yard touchdown run by running back Dennis Hubbard. The score lifted the Gators over Wellington 7-6 to end the first half.

The Gators put together a drive to open up the second half, but Wellington’s defense would buckle down and force a 24-yard Gator field goal that extended the Palm Beach Gardens lead to 10-6.

On the ensuing possession, Wellington quarterback Ben Schmickle led a 70-yard drive to the Gardens 3-yard line with a balanced pass and run attack, but turned the ball over in the end zone via an interception. The Wolverine defense kept putting pressure on the Gardens quarterback and shutting down the run. Robinson came through again, this time with a 31-yard field goal to cut the margin to 10-9 to start the fourth quarter.

The defense came up big twice in the second half. Linebacker Isaac Adonis forced a fumble that was recovered by defensive end Anfernee Rosario in midfield to give Wellington a chance to take the lead. Again, Robinson was called to duty, this time from 47 yards out, but his kick went just wide with under six minutes to play.

A stingy Wolverine defense kept the Gator offense off balance the remainder. The Wellington offense did just enough to call on Robinson for the final time; he launched a 31-yarder with 31 seconds left on the clock to retake the lead. With the Gators trailing 12-10, they were forced to the air. The second stellar defensive play was when cornerback Jymetre Hester stepped in front of the Gardens receiver for an interception, nullifying a Gardens comeback.

The turnover sealed the district win. The Wolverines ran out the remaining seconds. “I’m extremely happy of the offense and the defense,” Abel said. “Offensively, we wanted to slow it down and run the ball, and we ran the ball successfully.”

Wellington running back Marvin Pierre played a huge part in the Wolverines’ success on the ground, with 15 carries for 93 yards. Mark Richards rushed three times for 22 yards. Receiver Connor Rogers led the Wolverines with four receptions for 36 yards.

Wellington has a bye week this week and will host Boca Raton on Friday, Nov. 4 at 7 p.m. to wrap up the regular season. The Wolverines will then host the District 10-8A runner-up in the first round of the playoffs.

ABOVE: The 2016 District 9-8A champion Wellington Wolverines.