One week after the Wellington High School football team lost to district rival Palm Beach Central High School, the team rebounded with a 49-21 victory over John I. Leonard High School on Friday, Sept. 21.
With the game notched at 14-14 at halftime, the Wolverines came out firing on all cylinders, adding an additional 35 points on the board.
“We had to break out of the slump that we were in,” Wellington coach Tom Abel said. “It was a good game adjustment. Our passing game wasn’t very successful; we’re just going to run the ball, and it was successful for us.”
The Lancers turned a Wellington turnover into points on the Wolverines’ first play. Intercepting a pass, John I. Leonard put the game’s first touchdown up on the board.
The Wolverines responded on the ensuing possession with a score to tie the game at 7-7. With two minutes to go in the first half, the Lancers converted another Wellington interception into a touchdown to retake the lead 14-7. The Wolverines were able to tie the game with a quick score to close out the first half at a tie.
Despite the four interceptions thrown by Wellington, the team overcame the early adversity and found an effective collection of weapons on the ground attack. The Wolverines totaled 354 yards rushing and added five more touchdowns in the second half on the way to the 49-21 win. The Lancers added one more score late in the game to close the gap.
Wellington’s first touchdown, a 21-yard run by running back Jadien Durant, was negated by a penalty. On the Wolverines’ second possession of the second half, they missed a 37-yard field goal. Mark Antony Richards sparked the offense again when he darted off on 28 yards and crossed the goal line to lift Wellington into the lead 21-14.
The Wolverines would build on that lead for the remainder of the game. Richards would grab the next two scores from 26 yards and 70 yards out to elevate Wellington to a 35-14 advantage. The Wolverine defense kept the Lancers out of the end zone most of the second half. Wellington would secure two more scores to put the game out of reach 49-21. With the win, the Wolverines improved to 3-2 (0-1) on the season.
Wellington continues with a rotation to determine a dedicated starting quarterback. “It’s going to be on-going until somebody breaks out from the pack,” Abel said. “All three are leaders, but I need a guy to control and protect the ball. It’s back to square one, and we’ll see who has the better practice for the week.”
Richards rushed for 190 yards and scored three touchdowns. Durant and Lakevious Simmons combined for 129 yards and each had a score. Running back Lenori Williams had a touchdown. On defense, Mike Cotter recorded three sacks, and Steven Passeggiata had a sack.
Wellington will host district rival Seminole Ridge High School on Friday, Sept. 28 at 6 p.m. in a must-win contest for both teams. The Hawks are currently unbeaten at 4-0 (1-0) on the season.