Turnovers costly as Maxwell stops Colusa
Last week Maxwell High's football team learned the hard way how quickly a close game can turn ugly when turnovers come into play. This week, they applied it.
After going into the locker room leading the game 7-6 at intermission, the Panthers took advantage of a couple turnovers in the opening minutes of the second half and rode the momentum to a 33-6 trouncing of visiting Colusa on Friday.
The first half of the contest was marked by sloppy play from both teams, with a total of five turnovers in the first twenty-four minutes. The plethora of giveaways began with Colusa's second play from scrimmage, when quarterback Jose Santana was intercepted by Maxwell's Bryce Perry.
Perry set the Panthers up with superb starting field position, and Maxwell took five plays to navigate a short field to the end zone. The 35-yard drive was capped by a screen pass to junior running back Brian Burg, who took a well-thrown ball from Blake Vierra and sprinted 25 yards for the score.
On the ensuing possession, Colusa was forced to punt after a three-and-out. After a 12-yard scramble by Vierra on first down, Colusa's defense held firm. Maxwell punted on fourth-and-4 from Colusa's 40, and the ball bounced into the end zone for a touchback. The possession that followed proved to be one of the most wild of the night.
Starting with the ball at their own 20, Colusa's offense marched 68 yards in 10 plays — a drive highlighted by a 15-yard strike from Santana to R.J. Phillips and a 20-yard run by Estavan Frias.
On first-and-10 from Maxwell's 15, Santana was dropped for a 3-yard loss, and Colusa's momentum faltered. Colusa was flagged for false starts on their next two plays, leaving them 23 yards away from the first down marker. After an 8-yard run by Martin Bravo made it third-and-15, Santana was intercepted for the second time in the half by Maxwell's Santiago Gonzalez.
Maxwell's offense did not have the opportunity to take the field, however. Within seconds of Colusa's second turnover, Maxwell committed their first of the night. On the interception return, Gonzalez fumbled the ball and Frias recovered it at Maxwell's 15-yard line. Colusa received a fresh set of downs, and eventually converted a fourth-and-goal from the 3-yard line on a Santana touchdown run. Fernando Amador's extra point was blocked, leaving Maxwell ahead by one.
The Panthers' fumbling problem continued on their following two possessions, but their defense was able to keep Colusa out of the end zone and limit the damage going into the half.
Maxwell opened the third quarter looking like a completely different team, avoiding the turnovers that had plagued them in their last four quarters of football.
Stellar special teams play helped open the flood gates in what had been a close game. After a three-and-out on Maxwell's opening possession, a muffed punt by Colusa was scooped up by the Panthers and returned for the score. When the following Colusa drive faltered, Zach Troughton blocked the RedHawks' punt. Just four plays later, Brian Burg scampered in for a 35-yard touchdown.
In a flash, the Panther's were up 21-6 with the game well in hand.
Maxwell would go on to shut down Colusa's hybrid Wing-T offense. The Panthers offense moved the ball at will and found the end zone two more times — both Vierra touchdown runs — before all was said and done.
Maxwell ended the game by taking a knee inside Colusa's 10-yard line, the final score showing 33 — 6.
Maxwell (1- 2) plays at home against Fall River (2-1) on Friday, while Colusa (1-1) travels to Redding to face U-Prep (1-2).