Skyler Branam's kick return touchdown helps Wellington avoid a shutout to Andale in a 61-6 loss

Greg Williams
Wellington Daily News

Sometimes it's just not your day, and that's what happened to Wellington on Friday night. 

The Crusaders (0-2) battled the No. 1 ranked 3A team in Andale (3-0), but Wellington couldn't keep up in the 61-6 loss to the Ark Valley-Chisholm Trail Division IV opponent. 

Andale wanted to start the game on offense to show the Crusaders they weren't going to stop their triple-option. 

And just like many of Andale's opponents, Wellington had no answer to stop the high-powering offense. 

"The big thing with Andale is that those guys fire off the ball," said Wellington head coach Zane Aguilar. "It all starts up front, they got some nice lineman, and speed on that offense. It's hard to stop them." 

The Crusaders gave up a total of 389 yards, but 344 yards came from the ground. Wellington was able to secure force two turnovers; one came from a muffed punt, then the other was an RJ Clift interception.

However, even with the little help from the defense, the Wellington offense couldn't move the ball and gave the ball right back to Andale

There was a stretch at the beginning of the game where the Crusaders turned the ball over on back-to-back plays. Those turnovers led to two Andale touchdowns. 

Wellington ended up turning the ball over five times and totaled 22 yards on offense. 

"It's hard to show Friday night speed in practice," said Aguilar. "We have to put them in scenarios in practice that will help them to take care of the ball. The turnovers have to be pissed and we have to eliminate that. We can't win a football game with that many turnovers."

The only spark for Wellington was right after halftime. The Crusaders were set to get the ball to start the second half, but freshman Skyler Branam got Wellington on the board with a touchdown. 

It was a game the Crusaders hope to forget soon. However, many of their players came away injured in the contest. 

Some of those players include quarterback Malachi Rogers, running back Dustyn Schettler, linebacker Jakob Lira, and a few others who had to leave the game. 

"We got gut checked," said Aguilar. "It's one of those games you want to forget. We just have to keep getting better in practice and fix the issues that are causing us some harm. We get the opportunity to play football again and we'll be ready next week.

Next week, the Crusaders will travel for their first road game of the season at Labette County at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 24.

Greg Williams has been the reporter for the Wellington Daily News and Butler County Times-Gazette since May 2021. You can reach him at GWilliams@gannett.com or on Twitter at @GregWilliams28.