For the second time this season the Panthers found a first half deficit too much to overcome, and as a result ended the game in Esparto on the short end of 42-25 score.
Despite an early interception by sophomore Rudi Gonzalez, the Panthers yielded too many big plays and found themselves down 28-6 at half with their lone score coming off a 91-yard kickoff return by junior Ruben Velazquez.
After making adjustments at intermission however, Maxwell senior Ignacio Velasquez put two touchdowns on the board for the Panthers, one coming on a 19 yard run, while the other was a 38-yard reception.
The Panthers, now 0-2 in the preseason, got their final points of the night when junior Berto Lara hauled in a 50 yard pass in the fourth quarter after which Gonzalez tacked on the extra point.
While Maxwell did out score Esparto in the 19-16 in the second half, the 22 points they spotted the Spartans proved to be insurmountable.
Reflecting on the loss, Coach Lane Davis, while acknowledging how his team’s miscues contributed to the end result, was pleased with its second half effort.
“Our offense turned the ball over three times in the first half and gave them a short field, but after making some adjustments we played well in the second half. Something else that was positive was that because we were down two starters, some of our sophomores stepped up in new roles and did a good job,” Davis said.
Maxwell has a bye this week and prepares to host its first Cascade Valley League contest against a powerful Biggs squad on September 24. ■