After drawing first blood Friday, the Dukes were crushed 41-26 by the Keystone Wildcats and star tailback Austin Conrad.
Wellington scored on the opening drive after sophomore Brandan Sorg blocked a Keystone punt to net a short field.
Keystone responded by reeling off 27 unanswered points.
The rally was started by an eight-yard touchdown run by Conrad and a two-point conversion run by Try Minnich.
About a minute later with Wellington in possession of the ball, Minnich emerged from a pile with the ball and ran it back for a 54-yard touchdown for a 21-6 lead.
Then it was Conrad’s turn again as he took a a hand-off and raced 52 yards down the field to the endzone.
Wellington finally answered with three minutes left in the half to cut the Wildcats lead to 27-12. Quarterback Tristan Arno ran it in one yard for a touchdown, but the Dukes racked up their second failed two-point conversion attempt.
Less than a minute later, Conrad ran it in again for his third touchdown of the night.
The Dukes were threatening inside Keystone’s 20-yard line at the end of the half when Arno’s throw to the end zone was intercepted with 13 seconds left.
Coming out of the half down 34-12, Wellington quickly drove for a touchdown but once again could not complete the two-point conversion.
Both team remained scoreless until Keystone’s Conrad solidified his teams win with his fourth and final touchdown of the night, giving his team a 41-18 lead.
The Dukes didn’t go down without a fight.
Max Carevic stepped in as quarterback in the fourth quarter and took his team all the way down field before Arno returned from the bench. Carevic then caught Arno’s pass to score his team’s final touchdown.
Wellington head coach Sean Arno said his team has come out strong the last three weeks.
“The objective is to keep that going momentum-wise for a whole game,” he said. “We just made some mistakes and didn’t capitalize when we should have and could have.”
He said mental mistakes are really hurting his team.
“We left three touchdowns minimum on this field tonight,” he said. “We’ve got to eliminate the mental mistakes and that’s what we’re going to focus on is trying to limit the mental mistakes.”
Looking at the positives, Arno thought his offense played well and that Carevic had his best game to date. “I mean, he had a really nice game on all facets of the ball and I’m happy for him because he’s a good athlete,” he said.
Arno plans to keep experimenting with Carevic taking snaps as quarterback and getting him involved in different ways.
He’s frustrated with the loss but believes his team matches up well against its next two opponents: Brookside and Black River.
Kelsey Leyva can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @TWE_KelseyLeyva on Twitter.
Photos by Kelsey Leyva | Wellington Enterprise
Wellington’s Max Carevic catches Tristan Arno’s pass in the first half of the Dukes’ away game against Keystone.