The Wellington High School football team hosted Treasure Coast High School on Friday, Aug. 16 for a pre-season kickoff classic game, falling to the perennial powerhouse Titans 43-7.
The Wolverines elected to play the visiting Titans because the coaches needed a learning tool to preview where the squad measures up against bigger teams, according to Wellington head coach Tom Abel.
“There’s a reason we scheduled them. It shows them the effort the boys have to put in the weight room,” he explained. “It’s a measuring stick to see where we’re at, and if they want to go deep in the playoffs, they know what they have to do. Treasure Coast is a successful program, and we aspire to be like them.”
Wellington went three-and-out on its initial possession of the game and shanked a punt to give the Titans prime real estate to threaten for an early lead. They did just that, striking first to go up 6-0. The Wolverines continued to struggle offensively, and later gave away another Treasure Coast score, trailing 12-0 to start the second quarter. The Wolverines closed the margin when quarterback Blake Kendall hit receiver Tristan Abinet for a 62-yard touchdown pass to make the score 12-7.
Wellington had difficulty stopping the Titan offense, and late in the second quarter found themselves down 19-7. The Wolverine offense, after holding the Titan offensive unit to a punt, drove nearly 60 yards into the Treasure Coast red zone but turned over the ball after failing to convert on fourth down. Three plays later, before the half ended, the Titans found the end zone to take a 25-7 lead into the locker room.
The second half did not fare better for the Wolverines. Offensively, they could not sustain a consistent attack, and defensively they could not contain the Titan offense, which put up another 18 points before the final whistle.
Abel and his coaching staff did note that the Titans stayed away from standout defensive end Stephen Passeggiata most of the night, but the Wolverine still managed to make several plays.
“We have to do a better job of moving him around, and we didn’t do that,” Abel said. “If the coaches can’t get it done, then that’s on us, but we haven’t given up on the boys. It’s a long season. We know what we have to fix.”
One thing the Wolverines excelled in was the kicking game. They averaged more than 50 yards per punt and posted two touchbacks on kickoffs. “Our kicking game is the best in the county,” Abel said.
Abel added that Wellington will look at film and has four days to fix some things on both sides of the ball as they prepare for a two-game road schedule, opening up with Palm Beach Lakes High School on Friday, Aug. 23 at 6:30 p.m.