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Panthers win 5th straight, crush Chester
Chester needed a win to stay in the four-way battle for the Mountain Valley League title and started with a good looking touchdown drive, but the Maxwell defense silenced the Volcanoes for the next 41 minutes.
Maxwell (5-2, 2-0) played as a focused machine Friday night at Panther Field in a 28-7 route which dumped Chester (5-2, 0-2) out of the conversation for the league title and narrowed the field of undefeated teams to two.
Biggs joins Maxwell as the other undefeated by obliterated defending Division IV champion Portola 42-14 on Friday.
"This game was huge, really huge," senior running back Eddie Rangel said. "They're a good team, very physical, very quick. I really want to say our team won the battle in the trenches, our offensive line and defensive line."
The Panther offense was on track from the start with a drive lasting nearly 5 minutes which featured a spectacular 23-yard catch by junior all-purpose back Brian Burg on third-and-23, and a well placed pass on 4th-and-goal from the two yard line to Rangel in the end zone.
Highlight worthy catches kept the Panthers offense moving all game, even when the interior running game struggled to gain yards in the first half.
"It was a special game," Maxwell coach Robert Wilson said about his sure-handed receivers. "We usually catch the ball when it's there but those great catches tonight were pretty amazing."
Rangel gave Maxwell the lead with a 10-yard touchdown run late in the second quarter after Santiago Gonzalez got the ball into the red zone with 48 yards on an end around.
A defensive stop with 43 seconds left in the half opened the door for senior quarterback Blake Vierra to throw a hitch pass to senior receiver Bryce Perry, who gained 44 yards up the sideline, and for tight end Laine LaGrande to get the Panthers into striking distance with a 26-yard leaping catch between two defenders.
After a Chester pass interference, Vierra threaded the ball through the defense to Gonzalez on a crossing route for a 21-7 lead.
"We wanted to keep the ball in our hands, that was definitely huge. Blake played a heck of a game tonight, he did a good job throwing the ball," Wilson said.
Perry, Burg, Rangel and Gonzalez each had three catches while Vierra completed 13 of 14 passes for 187 yards and two touchdowns.
Early in the third quarter, Perry and Burg made diving catches for first downs before Rangel scored his third touchdown of the game on a three-yard run.
Isaias Martinez sealed it with an interception in the end zone and returned it 50 yards to the 48-yard-line late the fourth quarter. Maxwell then drove to the Volcanoes five before taking a knee to end it.
Rangel ran for 38 yards and two touchdowns and had caught a touchdown and had another 24 yards receiving.
Maxwell accumulated 365 yards; 178 of it on the ground. Gonzalez ran for a team-high 63 yards and had 27 yards receiving with a touchdown. Burg ran for 51 yards and added 37 receiving, and Perry had a team-high 73 yards receiving.
Chester running back Jeremiah White scored the Volcanoes touchdown and finished with 72 of his team's 144 rushing yards. Dual threat quarterback Hunter Morris was held in check though he ran for 54 yards and was 6 for 11 passing for 91 yards and an interception.
Maxwell, Chester and Portola finished in a tie atop the MVL standings last year with the Volcanoes beating the Panthers, the Panthers beating Portola and the Tigers beating the Volcanoes.
This year Biggs joined the ranks of legitimate title contenders and drew first blood with a victory last week against Chester before blowing out Portola on Friday.
Maxwell travels to Portola on Friday where a loss would set up a must-win game in Biggs on Nov. 1.