Heartbreaking, historical night for Wellington football | Studio 55-Yard Line

Create: 10/14/2016 - 23:46

Game one of district play was decided by one point. Winfield snatched a pivotal overtime win at Wellington on October 14. It was historical night that was destined to go down in Crusader lore no matter the outcome. Former Wellington coaches Linn Hibbs and T.D. Buck are in their first season coaching for Winfield. The 2001 Hibbs-lead Crusader state championship football team was on hand celebrating their 15th anniversary, and was recognized at halftime. Wellington's first year Head Coach, Zane Aguilar was a member of that '01 squad. The two head coaches shared a moment with the rest of the championship team at the tailgate party about an hour and a half prior to kickoff. On top of all that, it was senior night. The stage was set and the two WHS' didn't disappoint.

Wellington's opening drive began on their own 25-yard line. The first play was a fumbled snap, recovered by QB Cade Phelps for a one yard loss, but the play didn't stifle the possession. The Iron Dukes proceeded to march the ball to the Winfield three-yard line, thanks to a nice pass-and-catch from Phelps to Joe Yabarra, a big run by Chris Kop, and a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty on the Vikings. The Crusader offense couldn't crack the goal line though, and turned it over on downs.

Winfield couldn’t get out of the shadow of their own goalpost, the Iron Duke “D” forced a three-and-out and the next Wellington drive began from the Winfield 38. It began slowly, but after one first down, Colton Glover popped off a big run that would eventually set up him up for a goal line TD run, his first of three on the evening, with 3:34 to go in the first. The extra point was no good, Wellington lead 6-0.

Later in the second quarter, the Vikings put together a long drive of their own that landed them inside the Wellington five. The Iron Duke defense would have none of it as they held Winfield out of the end zone on a forth and two play with 8:13 to go before half.

Now it was Wellington's turn to try to get out of that ol' goalposts' shadow. They could not. Winfield had a good return on the punt, which would lead to a well-timed screen pass with the Viking QB, Traiton Suttles rolling out to his right and throwing back to the left for a first down. That play helped set up the go-ahead, two-yard touchdown run by Jack Mull. Winfield 7, Wellington 6 with 2:36 left in the second; that would end up being the halftime score.

Winfield had something going to start the second half but Chris Kop put a stop to that with a sack near mid-field. Suttles was sacked again on the next play by several red jerseys and the Vikings were forced to punt.

On the ensuing Crusader possession Phelps connected with Yabarra, who had gotten behind the Winfield secondary, for a big 32 yard pass play. This was followed by a 20 + yard run by Kop that would have set Wellington up inside the Winfield five, but a holding call took it off the board. A few plays later on third and one from the Winfield 24, Glover broke for a 21-yard run to set up his second touchdown of the night, this one from the two-yard line. Going for two, Phelps thew it to De'Andre Washington for a successful try. With 2:39 left in the third, the boys in red lead 14-7.

No so fast, said Winfield! On the first play of the following the kickoff after the TD, Jayden Tate made a house call from 60 yards out, racing down the east sideline. It was all tied up at 14 with 2:21 to go in the third.

From that point on, the two 0-6 teams traded punts but they weren't without their drama. First Wellington's Trayson Probst handled a low snap that he was somehow able to get off, surrounded by white jerseys, for a 26-yard boot. Winfield was forced to punt on the next possession, the Crusaders muffed it and the ball was recovered by the Vikings at their own 47 with around nine minutes left in the contest.

Wellington's Caleb Reichenberger looked to have a strip sack of Suttles, but the refs said the QB was down, however it did set up a third down and 23. Failing to make a first down, Winfield punted it away. Then Wellington punted it away and the Vikings muffed it but they were able to recover it.

Winfield was able to move the ball to the Crusader 35, overtime eventually came, but it's worth noting that the Vikings' kicker, Rigan Stoll was taking practice kicks from the 30 at halftime with plenty of leg. It would come down to said leg, albeit from a much shorter distance, but first...

Overtime. Of course...how could this game go any other way? Each team would get at least one possession starting at the opponent's 10-yard line. The possessions would continue until a winner was decided.

Wellington's OT game plan? His name was Colton Glover. He carried it three times, scoring on the last one. With one extra point missed after the first touchdown of the night, Aguilar decided to go for two. Phelps faked hand-offs to two running backs before rolling out to his right only to be met by the Vikings' Adam Rush for a sack. After one possession it was Wellington 20, the other WHS 14.

Winfield's turn. They ran the ball three times, moving the ball to the Crusader one. Fourth down. Suttles snapped the ball and plunged forward. He was swallowed up in what could only be compared to a rugby scrum. It was white jerseys pushing red jerseys and vice versa for approximately seven seconds. The refs pealed players away after the whistle to find Suttles across the goal line. The TD tied it at 20.

Remember Winfield's kicker that was blasting kicks from 40-yards out at halftime? Now all he had to do was kick it in from 12 yards for the extra point. After an attempt to freeze him with a timeout, Stoll broke Crusader hearts everywhere with a swift swing of his leg. Wellington falls to 0-7 with two road games left to round out the regular season, next week at Mulvane (October 21) then at Ulysses (October 28).

In the other 4A Divison One, District 5 game, Mulvane defeated Ulysses 28-14. That puts the district standings like this:

1. Mulvane (+14 points)
2. Winfield (+1)
3. Wellington (-1)
4. Ulysses (-14)

Glover had a big night for Wellington with 28 carries, 149 yards and the three touchdowns. It was the first time this season the Crusaders had an individual player rush for 100 yards. Phelps went 7/17, passing for 90 yards and completing the one two-point play to Washington. Yabarra caught five passes for 70 yards. As a team Wellington rushed for 255 yards and had 345 yards of total offense.

Be on the look out for video from Friday night's 2001 State Championship team anniversary, coming soon to sutv.com and channel 55.

About Author

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Nate Jones
Nate graduated from Belle Plaine High School in 2005, then attended Southwestern College in Winfield, Kansas. He obtained his bachelors degree in Communications in 2009, then went on to work in several areas of media, including graphic design, radio and print. In 2013, Nate began working at Studio 55 and is loving every second! Connect with him on Twitter and Instagram @filmNJones, or e-mail nate.studio55@sutv.com.