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Williams defense stymies Panthers
When neither offense could gain ground, the Williams High defense came through during the Yellowjackets 22-9 victory against Colusa County nemesis Maxwell at McCarl Field in Williams.
The Yellowjackets forced five turnovers and took advantage of drive-killing penalties by Maxwell, including one that negated a touchdown, to improve to 2-0 and keep the Panthers winless.
Defensive back Fernando Rodriguez had a monster first half. The junior pounced on a fumble at the Panthers' 1-yard line after Edgar Del Horno jarred the ball free, and intercepted two passes.
Rodriguez returned his second interception 93 yards for the go-ahead touchdown as time expired in the first half.
"It was an intense game, we played as a team. We're brothers out here and we just played to our full potential," Rodriguez said.
Maxwell scored first on an 11-yard touchdown pass from Blake Vierra, who escaped a sack and threw across his body with three defenders in pursuit, to Bryce Perry in the endzone.
On the Yellowjackets second play from scrimmage after the score, Fabian Ruvalcaba followed lead-blocker Damian Garcia around the left end for a 73-yard touchdown. Ruvalcaba ran in the 2-point conversion.
The Panthers then drove 65-yards before Del Horno knocked the ball loose at the Yellowjackets' 5-yard line and Rodriguez recovered it at the one.
Maxwell's Scott Wells brought Garcia down in the endzone for a safety on the next play, giving Maxwell a 9-8 lead with a little more than 7 minutes remaining in the first half.
After Rodriguez gave Williams a 14-9 lead at halftime, the Yellowjackets added another score late in the fourth quarter on a 4-yard touchdown run by Lewis Davalos.
Williams managed just 124 yards rushing and gained zero through the air. Billy Ruiz had two interceptions, and Del Horno, Davalos and Garcia each had a sack.
As a team, Maxwell ran for 108 yards, led by Eddie Rangel with 56 yards on 16 carries. Vierra threw for 125 yards on 11 of 25 attempts. Laine LaGrande had an interception, A.J. Rolon recovered a fumble and Zach Troughton had a sack.