The Wellington High School football team hosted Park Vista High School on Monday, Sept. 9 for a game rescheduled due to last week’s threat from Hurricane Dorian.
The Wolverines saw a 10-0 first half lead slip away in a second half rally by the Cobras in which Park Vista scored 21 unanswered points.
The loss to the Cobras forced Wellington (0-3) to continue to look for its first win of the fall season.
“We’re a young team, and we keep shooting ourselves in the foot,” Wolverine head coach Tom Abel explained. “Hats off to Park Vista, they game-planned well and did a great job.”
Abel noted that the Park Vista receivers had several dropped passes, indicating that the Wolverine offense left several opportunities on the field.
The game was a tale of two halves, with Wellington dominating on defense in the first. Defensive end Michael Cotter tallied two sacks in the first half and helped the defense in keeping the Cobra offense off the field. The Wolverines shut out the Park Vista offense, as the Cobras had difficulty breaking into mid-field.
The Wolverine offense capped an 80-yard drive with a 50-yard touchdown pass. Quarterback Blake Kendall hit receiver Brandyn Butler on a fly pattern down the far sideline. Butler reeled in the pass and broke two tackles to soar into the end zone. Morgan Suarez hit the point after to give Wellington a 7-0 lead with 1:28 remaining to play in the first quarter.
Suarez later hit a 37-yard field goal for the Wolverines to make the lead 10-0. Wellington then surprised the Cobras with an onside kick and gained possession in Park Vista real estate. The play resulted in a Wellington drive that looked as though it would extend the lead, but the drive was nullified when the Park Vista defensive back intercepted a tipped pass. Wellington’s defense held the Cobras on their last possession of the half to secure the 10-0 halftime advantage.
Wellington opened up the second half kicking another onside kick and nearly recovering the ball, but Park Vista managed to take control. The Cobras now only had half the field to work, but they forced Wellington to take possession inside their 10-yard line.
Late in the third quarter, Park Vista finally punched in a touchdown run from three yards out to narrow the Wellington lead to 10-7.
The Cobras began to chip away at a fatiguing Wellington defense. The Wolverine offense went several three-and-out possessions in the second half. Park Vista needed a big play, and a 78-yard punt return for a score gave them the lead, 14-10 with 3:34 remaining on the clock in the final quarter.
The Cobras put together another big play on offense, after a Wellington drive stalled in midfield. A 55-yard run put the Cobras on the Wellington five. From there, they drove in their final score to go up 21-10 with 2:53 remaining. The Wolverines drove to the Park Vista 4-yard line but could not convert their final possession into points.
“Bottom line, it’s on my coaching staff and I to fix this,” Abel said. “It’s on the players to execute. Once you execute, things work out.”
Wellington is set to host Palm Beach Central High School on Friday, Sept. 13 with the Wellington Cup on the line. Kickoff is at 6:30 p.m.