Wellington Flag Football Squad Wins First-Ever Regional Title

Wellington quarterback Keelin Coleman looks for her pass. Photo by Richard Areyzaga Jr.

For the first time in program history, Wellington High School’s flag football team has captured a Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) regional title.

On Tuesday, April 30, the Wolverines traveled to Seminole Ridge High School to play the Hawks in the FHSAA’s Class 2A, Region 3 final. The game was a rematch of this year’s district championship game on April 11, which Seminole Ridge won, 12-0. In the April 30 rematch, Wellington prevailed 12-6. The Wolverines took an early lead and held on to win.

Wellington scored its two touchdowns on its first two possessions to take a 12-0 lead, which it never relinquished.

The Wellington squad set the tone on the first play of the game, when senior quarterback Keelin Coleman connected with freshman receiver Mia Ciezak on a 35-yard pass, which immediately put Wellington in Seminole Ridge territory. It was a play that Wellington had been rehearsing in the days leading up to the game.

“It was a simple slant-and-go, which we have been working on in practice,” Wellington head coach Robert Callovi said. “Once Mia got open down the sidelines, I knew she would catch the ball. Mia is a freshman who has been playing well, and we moved her up to varsity.”

Three plays later, Coleman connected with teammate Jordan Fernandez on a one-yard touchdown pass to give Wellington the early lead. The extra point attempt failed, putting Wellington up 6-0.

After being unable to respond, Seminole Ridge was forced to punt, which gave the ball back to the Wolverines. A key defensive play by Wellington during Seminole Ridge’s first drive was a third-down flag pull/sack by Wellington’s Sydney Lopez. It was one of three big flag pulls by Lopez in the game, all coming at key points, which stymied Seminole Ridge’s efforts in the matchup.

Soon after fielding the Seminole Ridge punt, Wellington drove down the field and scored again on a 15-yard strike from Coleman to Fernandez. Fernandez’s catch drew words of praise from Callovi.

“Jordan’s second touchdown catch was unbelievable,” Callovi said. “She jumped up and grabbed the ball in traffic.”

After another unsuccessful PAT, Wellington led 12-0, which was also the score at the end of the first half.

On the opening drive of the second half, Seminole Ridge drove down the field, eventually scoring on a one-yard run by senior Angelina Sanchez at the 3:20 mark of the third quarter. On the play before Sanchez’s scoring run, Seminole Ridge freshman quarterback Aubrey Fogel kept the drive alive with a key fourth-down pass to fellow freshman Chachi Saunders. Seminole Ridge was unable to convert its PAT, but Wellington’s lead was cut in half, 12-6.

Despite getting the ball on two more occasions, the Hawks were unable to score a game-tying touchdown.

Seminole Ridge head coach Scott O’Hara was proud of his team’s strong effort.

“It was a great game — and hats off to Wellington for a game well played,” he said. “I was proud of my team. We gave it everything we had. There was no give-up in any of my players.”

Winning Wellington quarterback Coleman said her team played with a unified spirit.

“We had some intense days of practice,” she said. “Our mentality was to not let the pressure get to us. This game was simply a way for us to the next level.”

Seminole Ridge finished its season with a 14-3 record.

With the victory, Wellington (14-3) advanced to the FHSAA’s Class 2A state quarterfinal on Friday, May 3 in Fort Pierce against Fort Pierce Central High School. It will be a rematch of a regular season game on March 8, when Wellington prevailed, 15-12.

With a victory in Fort Pierce, Wellington will advance to the FHSAA’s Class 2A state finals in Tampa on May 10-11.