Wellington Makes Post-Season Despite 42-3 Loss To Atlantic

Former Wellington and University of Miami receiver Ahmmon Richards looks on as coach Tom Abel formally retires his jersey.

The Wellington High School football team finished the regular season with a tough 42-3 loss to state power Atlantic High School on Friday, Nov. 2. The loss ended a three-game win streak for the Wolverines, but Wellington (6-4, 3-1) did just enough with the new point system to earn a playoff berth as the fourth seed in the Class 8A regional tournament.

“Atlantic is a good football team,” Wellington coach Tom Abel said. “It was possibly the last home game for the seniors, and we wanted to finish strong.”

Atlantic (10-0, 4-0) went up late in the first quarter 14-0. The Wolverines had a difficult time finding a rhythm on offense while they rotated quarterbacks in an effort to make something happen.

“Blake Kendall started and had a great week of practice,” Abel said. “Austin Wallace has done some wonderful things and won some close games for us, but we need someone to step up.”

Big plays and turnovers crippled the Wolverines late in the first half, as Atlantic fired-up two more scores to lead 28-0. Wellington eventually put standout Mark Antony Richards into the quarterback role. As soon as Richards took the field behind center, he made things happen, getting the Wolverines inside the Eagle 40-yard line, where they had to settle for a 57-yard field goal attempt that fell a few yards shy. Atlantic would add two more touchdowns before the end of the first half to command a 42-0 advantage.

Things were put into perspective during halftime. The Wellington football program retired the jersey of former Wolverine and University of Miami receiver Ahmmon Richards, the older brother of Mark Antony. No player at Wellington will ever wear number two again.

“It’s huge and quite an honor; he deserved it,” Abel explained. “I was going to retire it anyway if he would have stayed healthy; he was going to the NFL. He is the reason we have a great football team. The kids want to be like Ahmmon.”

The Wolverines were able to shut down the Eagles in the second half against a running clock and add a 36-yard field goal by Morgan Suarez to slightly close the deficit, but Atlantic would cap their perfect season with the 42-3 win. Despite the loss, the Wolverines still occupied the fourth seed in the region to make the post-season.

Wellington will face district champion and third seed Palm Beach Central High School (9-1, 4-0) in the first round of the playoffs.

The two will face off for the second time this season. The Broncos won the first outing 52-10.

“We gave up four scores on special teams, and we’re going to make sure our special teams are prepared,” Abel said.

Abel explained that with both Wellington schools making the post-season, it is a testament to the athletic talent in the area. The two district rivals will face off Friday, Nov. 9 at Palm Beach Central High School. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.