ESPN Ecstatic for Wellington-Newman Bout


Lauren Alsina

Tyler Alexander, Sports Editor

The Wellington Wolverines and the Cardinal Newman Crusaders faced off on a special Thursday night football edition of district opponents. People gathered from all over Palm Beach County to see two evenly matched heavyweights face off at Wellington High School. WHS was especially proud to be special hosts to ESPN Radio, who attended to cover the game, and view Cardinal Newman standout Wide Receiver Travis Rudolf. With a collegiate talent like Rudolf for Newman, and Wellington’s quarterback Cole Smallridge out with a shoulder injury, the Wolverines would be in for a big challenge.
The much anticipated district matchup started out slow, with both teams exchanging possessions. However, Cardinal Newman’s potent offensive attack got the Crusaders on the board seven minutes into the first quarter, giving them the 7-0 lead. On the ensuing kickoff, Wellington electrified the crowd, taking a 52 yard kickoff return down to the Crusaders 30 yard line. The Wolverines would however fail to capitalize on the great field position.
After another exchange of possessions, Wellington had the ball once again within striking distance. A battle in the trenches ensued, with the Crusaders ferocious defensive line, going head to head against the Wolverines outstanding offensive line at the goal line. Wellington proved triumphant over Cardinal Newman’s defense, with backup quarterback Devin Boldin taking the ball in on a quarterback sneak. The two yard run put the game at a deadlock at 7 early in the second quarter.
When it was mentioned above that ESPN Radio came for a reason, they came FOR A REASON. Travis Rudolf is Cardinal Newman’s stud Wide Receiver, and the 38th ranked high school player in the country, while also claiming to be the seventh best at his position. Rudolf has offers from 7 of the top 10 schools in the country, including Alabama, and Ohio State. Travis is a 6-1, 188 pound powerhouse with the leaping ability of a tree frog. On top of his insane vertical jumps, he runs a 4.52 40 yard dash, and he showed his speed later in the second quarter. Rudolf ran straight down the sidelines, snagging a beautiful pass on his way to a 74 yard touchdown putting Newman up 14-7.
Towards the end of the first half, Wellington and Cardinal Newman exchanged interceptions, with the Wolverines Mike Howard getting a great pick, and who else other than Travis Rudolf getting the interception for Cardinal Newman. The interception exchange set the Crusaders up to get a field goal late in the first half, putting them up 17-7.
In the second half it was all Cardinal Newman, with the Crusaders outscoring the Wolverines 20-0 in the second half. Surprisingly, despite the lopsided second half, Travis Rudolf didn’t have much to do with it, with most of Newman’s big plays coming from their tank of a running back, who scored the final two touchdowns for the Crusaders.
In the end, Cardinal Newman emerged victorious over Wellington by a score of 37-7. Even though the score indicates a lopsided game, the Wolverines hung in for the entire first half, and played a tough second half. The big story however, is how Wellington’s secondary was able to contain for the most part one of the best playmakers in the state of Florida at the High School level. The Wolverines defense continues to impress, this week executing an outstanding game plan against someone we’ll soon see on Saturdays, and ultimately on Sundays under the bright lights of the NFL.