“Defense, get down low!” and “No penalties!” were the catch phrases of Wellington football coaches at Friday’s game against the Brookside Cardinals, who flew past the Dukes 41-19.
Wellington running back Justin Skinner strung out the Brookside defense with sweeps in the first few minutes of the game, helping his team score on its first possession.
It got ugly from there — back-to-back touchdowns gave the Cardinals a lead the team would hold for the rest of the game.
By halftime, the Cardinals pocketed 28 points over the Dukes’ seven. Penalties and consistent botched throws kept Wellington cemented in place.
The Dukes received the third quarter kick-off, taking over at the 20 yard line. Skinner paved a trail for a first down on the 36. By the third down, the Dukes hadn’t moved an inch, and tried for yardage in the air instead.
A pass to Mason Wright moved the team to a first down on the 30 yard line in Cardinals territory. Skinner’s second pass was intercepted, and Brookside took possession, sprinting 43-yards to the other side.
A fumble was recovered by Wellington, giving the Dukes a second chance at a touchdown, but the attempt turned sour fast.
The Cardinals caught the fourth down punt and cut across the field effortlessly, landing a first down on the nine yard line by driving straight through the middle of Wellington’s defense. A race down the sideline brought home another touchdown with 5:54 left in the third quarter, bringing the score to 35-7.
The fourth quarter showed some promise when the Dukes nestled into a first down on the 10 yard line. An interception at the six moved the ball back to the 20 before a fumble turned the ball over again.
Three end zone passes thrown by Wellington quarterback Benjamin Higgens went wide. On the fourth down, Mason Mcclellan drove forward to the one yard line, but the Dukes couldn’t get to the goal.
A much-needed burst of energy came too late for the Dukes, with Skinner setting up two touchdowns at the end of the fourth quarter.
The Dukes will play at 7 p.m. Friday on their own home turf against Black River (8-1, 3-1). The pirates won this past week against Firelands by a score of 27-25.
Laurie Hamame can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @HamameNews on Twitter.