Wellington thrashes Lone Jack in opener
The Wellington Tigers have an early lead in their chase to repeat as I-70 Conference champions, albeit because they were playing in the only conference game of the opening week of the high school football season.
The Tigers came out of the gates in 2016 like a house of fire and stomped all over Lone Jack 47-0 last Friday night.
"This was a great start for our young team," Tigers head coach Quenton Bainbridge said. "We played with a lot of intensity the whole game. It was not a perfect performance, but our effort overcame many of our miscues."
Wellington jumped out to the early lead with a one-yard touchdown plunge from Duncan Hughes on the opening drive of the game. Hughes then kept the good times rolling with an interception on Lone Jack's first possession that he returned 50 yards for the score.
After Stone Willoughby recovered a fumble on the Mules' next drive, Trey Shannon added a 43-yard touchdown pass to Jordon Hill to push the Tigers' lead to 18-0 after a quarter.
"Our defense played great all night," Bainbridge said. "We gave Lone Jack very few opportunities. We got pressure in the backfield and made it difficult for them to run or pass with ease."
Hill stretched the lead even further in the second quarter with a 27-yard sprint to the end zone, followed by a two-point conversion run from Shannon.
Hughes scored again from three yards out, and Hill busted open a 58-yard scamper to the house that gave Wellington a 40-0 halftime lead.
"Offensively, we are dedicating ourselves to running the ball more," Bainbridge said. "This puts more pressure on our front front seven to create some holes. Our line is getting better every day and showed our improvements Friday."
The only points of the second half came in the fourth quarter when Logan Williams added a 13-yard touchdown run.
Lone Jack was led by Jayson Swartz with 24 yards rushing on 13 carries. Jacob Ewing caught a pair of passes for 31 yards.
Hill had a massive night, rushing for 152 yards on just eight carries. Shannon picked up 15 yards on three carries. Hughes added 54 yards on seven attempts for a Tiger offense that rushed for 275 yards. Shannon also completed five of eight pass attempts for 64 yards.
Hill and Dylan Brockmeyer each had six tackles to lead the defense. Hughes and Luke Schaberg each recorded a pick, while Scout Schaberg finished with five total tackles for a Tiger defense that only yielded 75 total yards and forced four turnovers.
Wellington will try to improve to 2-0 on the young season when they visit West Platte. Bainbridge knows the challenge that a team the Tigers only beat 42-28 last season will pose.
"[West Platte] will be a great test for our team," he said. "They are always physical and sound on both sides of the ball. We will have to carry this momentum into next week and bring our best if we want to come out on top."