Most Viewed Stories
Yellowjackets no match for explosive Panthers
Whenever two Colusa County schools face off on the football field it feels like a playoff game, and that was especially true on Friday when Williams High made the short jaunt north to Maxwell.
Though the Panthers jumped out to a 21-0 lead after one quarter and cruised to a 40-0 victory, the game was played at full intensity from opening kickoff until the Yellowjackets' final pass fell incomplete deep within Maxwell territory as time ran out.
Any football game between two Colusa County schools has an added element of familiarity and pride attached because many of the players grew up playing football together in the Colusa Cowboys youth football program, but two new wrinkles added to the buzz surrounding this edition of the annual showdown.
Colusa High had a bye on Friday and the coaches and players created a sea of red in the stands and along the outer edge of the field. The RedHawks were there to scout the action because they host Maxwell this Friday and end the regular season with a home game against the Yellowjackets.
More importantly to the players on the field, Armando Bautista faced his former squad for the first time since he returned to his hometown to coach the Williams junior varsity and help coach Dan McDonald with the varsity team.
Facing a former coach and suffering a defeat to Bradshaw Christian last week was cause for concern for the Panthers, quarterback George Barajas said.
"It was a relief, to come up from a defeat you never know what's going to happen. (Williams) has our old offensive coordinator so I thought they'd know our plays. I guess it didn't work out, we got the win," Barajas said.
Ultimately, the Panthers had too much firepower on offense and the Yellowjackets struggled to hold onto the ball, coughing up five turnovers. The Yellowjackets fumbled seven times, losing three, and the Panthers intercepted two passes.
Maxwell opened the game with an eight-play 69-yard scoring drive capped by a one-yard touchdown run by junior fullback Eddie Rangel.
"On our runs, their defensive ends tried to contain our quarterback because he's quick and we just executed great on our traps," Rangel said.
The Yellowjackets dropped the ensuing kickoff and had to start the drive at their own three. Diego Navarro and Tony Boites moved the ball away from the goalline with carries of six and five yards, but Maxwell's Hunter Ortiz jarred the ball loose from Boites in the backfield and Barajas dove on the ball at the four.
Blake Vierra ran up the middle on the next play for a touchdown and a 14-0 lead halfway through the first quarter.
Williams went three-and-out on the next drive and punted before Barajas found Vierra on a 50-yard screen play. Barajas kept the ball himself on the next play for a five-yard touchdown run.
Another Williams turnover, on a fumbled exchange between the quarterback and a running back, set up a 60-yard drive, which Barajas ended with a five-yard scoring run. Neither team scored in the final six minutes of the half as the defenses took over, but Maxwell led 27-0 at the break.
Barajas picked off a pass on the first drive of the second half and dropped a beautiful throw over Bryce Perry's shoulder for a 25-yard scoring strike two plays later. Rangel soon capitalized on another Yellowjackets turnover with a 10-yard touchdown run up the gut for the final score of the game.
Maxwell (1-1) committed 10 penalties for 105 yards and dropped three passes, which concerned Maxwell coach Robert Wilson.
Barajas passed for 107 yards and a touchdown, and ran for 28 yards and two touchdowns. On defense, the senior safety intercepted two passes and recovered a fumble.
Rangel came alive in the second half and rushed for 106 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries.
"(Rangel) sprained his ankle on Tuesday and didn't practice Wednesday or Thursday. For him to come in and do what he did tonight was pretty impressive. He played hurt, it didn't show tonight but he had a good little knot on his ankle on Tuesday," Wilson said.
Vierra contributed 48 yards and a touchdown on the ground and caught two passes for 54 yards. Perry caught two passes for 53 yards and a touchdown.
Zach Troughton collected a sack. Daniel Manson and Russell Jones converged at the quarterback for a shared sack, and Manson added a fumble recovery.
Yellowjackets quarterback Freddy Cervantes completed 7-of-17 passes for 97 yards but was intercepted twice. Cervantes' leading receiver was Robert Cazares, who caught two passes for 52 yards.
"We knew what we had to stop. We had to keep them from getting outside and contain them. They've got some good speed so we did that tonight and I think that was the key to our defense," Wilson said. "I thought the offensive and defensive lines would be the key and I think they were. I thought we dominated the line of scrimmage."
Tony Boites rushed for 40 yards and Diego Navarro ran for 37 yards, but the Yellowjackets averaged less than two yards a carry as a team. Navarro sacked Barajas twice.
CONTACT Kirk Barron at 458-2121 or email@example.com.