The Wellington High School football team recently began its spring training camp like all the other schools in Palm Beach County. According to Wolverine head coach Tom Abel, the expectations are extremely high as the team progresses through the spring and looks to the fall season.
“We’ve got a lot of depth this year,” he said. “We’ve got some new coaches on defense and a new defensive philosophy. The kids are responding really well, and it’s exciting to be out here.”
There is good reason for Wellington’s enthusiasm. The team has made the post-season three straight years and claimed the district title twice in that time.
Abel is entering his sixth season at the helm of the Wolverine program and has established the Wellington gridiron crew as a force in Palm Beach County.
Offensively, the first thing that grabs your attention is the size of the Wellington line.
“We finally got an offensive line that weighs 285 across the board,” Abel said. “We’ve been grooming them, and putting them in the weight room.”
At quarterback, Connor Rogers and Austin Wallace will battle it out for the starting role in the fall, but both will get plenty of playing time during the spring season.
Rogers is a rising senior, and at 6-foot-4 has all the attributes to get the ball down field. Wallace transferred from Royal Palm Beach High School and will be a sophomore in the fall. He has been equally impressive during practice.
“They both can run, and they can both throw touchdowns,” Abel said. “Competition breeds success; may the best man win.”
The Wolverines return all of their running backs this spring. Mark Anthony Richards and Jaden Durant will rotate in the role. Josh Solomon and Jeremy Lawrence will also occupy the backfield. The receiving corps for Wellington will rely on Richards in the slot and wide receiver positions. Balatin Celestin and Will Perez will also line up at the receiver spot.
Defensively, Wellington will look to returning impact players to take the leadership role. Defensive tackle Chandler Loiseau will likely be one of the driving forces on the line. At 6-foot-3 and 250 pounds, he has already taken on the role of defensive motivator on the squad. Ryan Petrovich and Durant will be tasked as the linebackers. Stephen Passegiatta and Jake Vazquez, a transfer from Suncoast High School, will play on the defensive line.
Kicker Logan Robinson, the Lou Groza Award recipient from last season, will graduate this spring and play for Valparaiso University in the fall. The Wolverine kicking game will lean on Tyler Posada to boot the ball. Posada is also a soccer player for the Wolverines and now looks to be a dual-sport athlete. He has been putting in a lot of work on the turf to prepare.
According to Abel, the vibe that surrounds the team resembles that of the 2014 team that went 11-2, won the district title and made a regional finals appearance.
“It’s exciting. They do everything together,” Abel said. “It’s fun to be around them.”
Wellington will host Weston’s Cypress Bay High School on Friday, May 19 at 7 p.m. for its spring game.
ABOVE: Wellington running back Mark Anthony Richards advances the ball up the middle during offensive drills.