Most Viewed Stories
UPDATED: Team effort propels Panthers to victory
Maxwell High (3-2) chewed away at the Sierra Ridge/Rite of Passage defense for big chunks of yardage all game Friday and emerged with a 45-12 victory in Maxwell.
The Panthers offense had 23 plays go for 10 yards or more, but their longest play from scrimmage was a 35-yard touchdown pass from quarterback George Barajas to fullback Eddie Rangel on a screen play in the third quarter.
Barajas completed 11 of 18 passes for 109 yards and a touchdown, and ran for 92 yards and another score.
He got the Panthers off to a strong start on offense with a 25-yard run and led his team on a 10-play, 80-yard drive to go up 6-0 halfway through the first quarter, after the defense forced a three-and-out on the Rams' first drive.
After another three-and-out by the Rams, Maxwell marched 50 yards and scored on an option around the right end to Eddie Rangel. Rangel led the Panthers with 11 carries for 111 yards and a touchdown.
The Rams converted on a fourth-and-two with a 4-yard quarterback sneak by Kenneth Holmes for their initial first down of the game as the first quarter ended. The drive ended two plays later when Bryce Perry scooped up a fumble at the Rams' 48-yard line.
Four plays of more than 10 yards set up a 5-yard touchdown run by Luis Rolon, and the Panthers took a 19-0 lead with less than 9 minutes remaining in the first half.
Rolon returned to the field after missing Maxwell's first four games with a concussion, which happened before the season started and cost the Panthers' their starting middle linebacker. His return has coach Robert Wilson relieved and excited for what it means to the defense.
"He adds more depth and we can move people back to their normal positions. We have guys playing in spots they normally don't play in, now we can be back to full strength," Wilson said.
His impact on the offense can't be overlooked, Rolon carried the ball four times for 49 yards and a touchdown, and caught three passes for 13 yards in limited action.
"Our running game is definitely improving every week. We tried to throw the ball early and we were not necessarily successful at it, but that's one thing we've got to work on," Wilson said.
The Panthers' ran for 347 yards and the short passing game was sharp as ever, but the team struggled to connect on the deep ball.
Maxwell center Daniel Manson cleared the way on several big runs and said the Rams' impressive speed didn't bother the offense much.
"They were quick but we just held onto our blocks and ran the ball straight up the middle," Manson said.
On defense, the Panthers' size was the perfect antidote for the Rams' running game, he said. Instead of trying to stretch the field, the Rams ran up the middle, and struggled.
The Rams offense had just 163 yards of offense. Their main threat was Isaiah Horton, who ran for 53 yards, caught a pass for 23 yards and returned a kickoff 95-yards for a touchdown.
Blake Vierra (47 yards rushing, two TDs), Bryce Perry (50 yards) and Santiago Gonzalez (32 yards, TD) were active on the ground and through the air for the Panthers.
Sierra Ridge, which is from San Andreas and plays in Sac-Joaquin Section Division V/VI, scored on a 95-yard kickoff return by Horton late in the third quarter. The Rams (1-4) added a 41-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter.
Maxwell (3-2) starts Mountain Valley League play Friday in Los Molinos against the Bulldogs (0-3).
CONTACT Kirk Barron at 458-2121 or email@example.com.