FOOTBALL: After first quarter equilibrium, Falcons blast Dukes

By Hans Schneider - Sports correspondent

Wellington's Ethan Thomas runs with the ball against Firelands.

Wellington's Ethan Thomas runs with the ball against Firelands.

Leading by just three after the first quarter, the Firelands Falcons put it in overdrive Friday to best the Wellington Dukes 63-18.

Firelands, which faces undefeated Buckeye this Friday, avoided the classic trap game loss as they improved to 5-1 overall and 2-0 in the conference. The Dukes dropped their second straight to fall to 3-4 and 0-2.

“Give credit to our kids for that first quarter,” said Wellington coach Sean Arno. “We knew coming in that we didn’t match up well with them. It’s a senior laden team and they are 300 plus across their line. But, we were able to hang with them for a quarter before they wore us down.

The Dukes opened the game with a 21-yard completion from Tristan Arno to Jordan Howard but the drive stalled after that. Forced to punt on fourth down, the Dukes punt team was in the right place as Firelands mishandled the return and Wellington recovered the ball at the Firelands 27 yard line.

This time Arno found Justin Skinner for a 21-yard gain to the Firelands six yard line. Four plays later, Arno found Trevor Porter for a two-yard touchdown. The PAT failed and the Dukes led 6-0 with 9:10 left in the quarter.

Firelands wasted no time getting on the scoreboard on the ensuing possession as Nicholas Denney ripped through the Wellington defense for a 65-yard touchdown run on the first play. The Falcons caught the Dukes off-guard on the two-point conversion as Patric Keown powered in to give Firelands an 8-6 lead with 8:58 left.

A four-and-out by the Dukes on their next drive led to another Firelands score. The Falcons marched 65 yards on eight plays as quarterback Bradley Thrasher ran it from 12 yards out. The PAT gave the Falcons a 15-6 with 3:15 remaining.

Another four-and-out by the Dukes led to another punt. The Falcons started this drive at their own 20 but fumbled the ball away on the second play of the drive. Wellington took over and Arno found Max Carevic for a 36-yard touchdown pass. The conversion failed and left the Dukes trailing 15-12 with 1:01 to go in the opening quarter.

That’s as close as the Dukes got as the Falcons scored 21 points in the second quarter to take a 36-12 lead into the locker room.

The Falcons added another 13 points in the third quarter to lead 49-12 before the Dukes found the end zone again as another Arno-to-Porter pass from four yards out made the score 49-18.

Firelands added another pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter to round out the scoring.

Wellington’s Ethan Thomas runs with the ball against Firelands.’s Ethan Thomas runs with the ball against Firelands.

By Hans Schneider

Sports correspondent