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‘Panther Jacks' remain proud Maxwell tradition
After every practice, after every game, the Maxwell High football team meets under the field goal post for a tradition most of the players on the team grew up wanting to be a part of — Panther Jacks.
The team lines up in four columns facing four captains and they begin the ritual. In unison they begin a series of jumping jacks and break downs while clapping and shouting in time.
This year the four captains are Zach Troughton, Santiago Gonzalez, Blake Vierra and Eddie Rangel, who all moved up to varsity as sophomores two years ago
Growing up watching Panther football games, many children in Maxwell aspire to take part in Panther Jacks some day, Troughton said.
"I always wanted to do (Panther Jacks) with them," Troughton said. "It's just a ritual, we do the same thing at practices as we do at games — to stay as a team and to stay together."
The Panthers have gone 16-7 in the last two seasons so the Panther Jacks are usually a time for celebration, but it has its purpose after losses as well.
"It provides unity, especially when we're losing and we get on each other, it's a time for us to come together and reflect on our mistakes," Maxwell senior A.J. Rolon said.
After finishing the ritual they sit down and listen to coach Robert Wilson, who started the Panther Jacks tradition when he began coaching the varsity team 13 years ago.
The team's previous coach, Sean Crosswhite, had the team do a similar ritual he called the Tight Squad, but Wilson changed some things about it and moved it under the goal post.
The goal post serves as a meeting place for the team before and after games.
"We always go down to the goal post and do it as loud as we can. Everybody is involved, we don't leave anybody out," Vierra said.
The ritual is a teaching tool for Wilson, who sometimes makes the team do the ritual over if they don't get it right.
"If you can't get the little things right, you won't be able to do the big things right," Wilson said.
CONTACT Kirk Barron at 458-2121 or email@example.com