Wolverines Pounce on Gators

Wolverines Pounce on Gators

Tyler Alexander, Sports Editor

Under the Friday Night lights, the Wellington Wolverines football team took the field against the Palm Beach Gardens Gators in the class 8A Regional Semifinals. The stormy night had many implications, as a win would guarantee a spot in the Regional Finals against the number 7 team in the state, Flanagan.

Both teams began lethargically, exchanging possessions many times over through the consistent rain. Despite the apathetic start, both teams had their fair share of opportunities, with a combined 5 drops between the two teams in the first quarter.

The defensive shutout came to an end with 2:20 left in the first quarter, when Gardens narrowly took a 3-0 lead, willing the field goal to go just inside of the left upright.

After the goose egg tie was broken, the flood gates were opened for the Wolverines, as the explosive offense that the fans have come to know and love came out with vengeance. Mike Howard started off the ensuing drive with a long run to set Wellington up inside the Gators 20 yard line. The drive would ultimately be capped off with a three yard touchdown pass from State star quarterback Shannon Patrick, to Jean Rene. Despite the explosive Wolverine offense, the weather got the best of the Wellington kicking game, forcing Alex Ng to miss the extra point. This put the Wolverines up 6-3 over the Gators.

As the rain picked up, the game turned back to a defensive stalemate, with both teams exchanging punts multiple times before one team was able to break through to score. Unfortunately for the Wolverine faithful, the team that broke through was Gardens. A 44 yard rushing touchdown put the Gators up 10-6 and put the pressure of the Wolverines towards the end of the half.

As he has done all season thus far, Shannon Patrick pulled through in the clutch, throwing his second touchdown strike of the game with 27 seconds left in the second quarter, putting Wellington up 13-10 at the half.

After a third quarter field goal was kicked through by Alex Ng, the defensive battle in the trenches took over, and every opportunity needed to be capitalized on.

Wellington did exactly that with 8:23 left, as Mike Howard intercepted the Gators pass, putting the Wolverines in prime position to run out the clock, and put a game sealing score on the board.

They however couldn’t will themselves to any points, and Gardens was left with the ball, 4 minutes, 2 timeouts, and down six points. With a bit over 3 and a half minutes remaining in the game, the Gators hit a huge pass over the middle, down to the Wellington 32 yard line.

From here, Gardens moved the ball down to the Wellington 9 yard line, where they were faced with a fourth and one, with 59 seconds left. The stage was set for both teams. Either the fairy tale continues for the underdog Gators, or the Wolverines tenacious defense strikes again as they’ve done all year to save the game.

After a Gardens timeout raised the tensions in the stadium to record levels, the play was set. A light drizzle was coming down in the perfect football conditions, for the perfect football finish. As the ball was snapped, Wellington forced and recovered a fumble, clinching the game and their spot in the regional finals.

For more information on the Wolverines upcoming schedule, view here: https://www.whswave.com/sports/2014/11/25/wellington-wolverines-football-bracket/