On Friday, May 17, the Wellington High School football team hosted Fort Pierce Westwood High School for a spring football game and defeated the Panthers 23-15 to cap the brief spring season.
Despite a first half dominated by both defensive units, Wellington freshman quarterback Blake Kendall threw for two touchdowns in the second half.
The Wolverines trailed 7-2 at the half, with the only points being provided by the defensive units. Westwood returned a pick-six to take the lead, and the Wolverines garnered a safety to close the margin.
Wellington reached the red zone three times in the first half, moving the ball at will, through the air with short passes and a solid ground attack let by rising senior Lenori Williams.
Turnovers were the theme of the second half, in which both teams donated their share. A stingy Wellington defense pressured the Westwood quarterback often, totaling five sacks on the night collectively by Stephen Passeggiata, Deondre Stanley and Mike Cotter.
Finlay Toussaint scooped up a Westwood fumble and returned it 78 yards for another Wellington defensive score to lift the Wolverines into the lead 9-7 in the third quarter.
With the Wellington defense weathering the Panther offensive unit, the Wolverine offense finally clicked. Kendall found receiver Tristan Abinet for an eight-yard touchdown to extend the Wolverine lead to 16-7. Both teams traded punts most of the third quarter, but Wellington managed to get on the board one more time at the end of the quarter when Kendall hit Adrian Hector on a 48-yard touchdown pass to extend the Wolverine advantage to 23-7.
The Panthers were able to close the margin with the team’s lone offensive score with 3:39 remaining to close the gap to 23-15. After a three-and-out Wellington series, Westwood had one last chance to possibly tie the game, but a fierce Wolverine defense denied that opportunity. The Wolverines ran out the remaining minute to secure the win.
Wellington coach Tom Abel was pleased with his defense, but he believes there is still much work to be done over the summer.
“We’ve got an All-American defensive end who everybody feeds off of,” Abel said. “And we’ve got just snipers and killers everywhere this year, and it’s going to be fun to watch. I’m proud of the way they ended spring. They’ve been working hard, but we’ve got a lot of work to do with the offense.”