WELLINGTON — A quick start wasn’t enough for Buckeye’s football team.
The Bucks forced a fumble on the first play of the game and scored on the second, but couldn’t find a winning formula in a 42-20 Patriot Athletic Conference Stars Division loss to host Wellington on a cold and wet Friday night.
From the get-go, it looked like it was going to be Buckeye’s night.
Wellington started with the ball on its own 35, but quarterback Dylan Weidrick mishandled the snap and chased the ball back to inside the 20. He was unable to secure the fumble, and Buckeye’s Sean Spence scooped it up and ran it down to the 4.
On the Bucks’ first play from scrimmage, senior fullback Rick Monroe plowed into the end zone to give Buckeye a 7-0 lead.
Buckeye (3-7, 3-4) forced Wellington (4-6, 4-3) to punt on its next series, and Monroe again played the hero with a 53-yard rumble for a touchdown.
The Dukes answered with touchdown runs from Chase Bealer, Weidrick and Quinton Dendinger, grabbing a lead in the second quarter they never gave up.
Monroe, who finished with 152 yards on 18 carries, scored his third touchdown from 27 yards out with 1:54 left in the first half to bring the Bucks to within two at 22-20, but that was the end of the scoring for Buckeye.
It may have been a disappointing ending to a disappointing season, but Monroe said he and his Buckeye teammates can walk away with heads held high.
“Trying to get the win was important, but really just showing the guys that even though our season is over, we still worked our butts off,” Monroe said. “That’s what I want to instill for the younger guys — keep on driving, keep on digging.”
The weather wreaked havoc for both teams. They combined for nine fumbles, and solid footing was never a guarantee on a field that was more mud than grass by the end of the game.
“We saw the weather forecast,” Monroe said. “We knew coming in that it was going to be a ground-and-pound kind of game. That got me excited.”
The senior said his teammates joke that when it gets muddy and sloppy on the ground they call it, “Rick Monroe weather.”
He credited his offensive lineman for getting him into the open field.
“I think the guys stepped up great tonight blocking with the muddy conditions,” Monroe said. “Shane Napela and John Maslanka did a great job.”
On the other side of the field, Wellington had three players with more than 100 rushing yards. Dendinger, a 5-foot-7, 185-pounder, led the way with 25 carries for 174 yards and touchdown runs of 7 and 5 yards. Freshman Jacob Kakos made his presence felt with 139 yards on 13 carries, while Weidrick added 15 carries for 136 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
“I couldn’t ask for any better way (to end the season),” Weidrick said. “It’s very emotional. I love my team. They were there through thick and thin. We had our ups and downs throughout the whole season, but we finished on a strong note.”
Contact Eric Barnes at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wellington 42, Buckeye 20
BUCKEYE 14 6 0 0 — 20
WELLINGTON 14 8 6 14 — 42
B — Rick Monroe 4 run (Ryan Grauel kick), 11:39.
B — Monroe 53 run (Grauel kick), 7:47.
W — Chase Bealer 12 run (kick failed), 6:30.
W — Dylan Weidrick 5 run (Daryn Broadwater pass from Weidrick), 0:35.
W — Quinton Dendinger 5 run (Dendinger run), 6:29.
B — Monroe 27 run (run failed), 1:54.
W — Weidrick 37 run (run failed), 3:04.
W — Jacob Kakos 32 run (Tyler Polen run), 11:17.
W — Dendinger 7 run (pass failed), 1:39.