A 350 mile round trip to Weed and back last Friday night proved well worth it as the Maxwell Panthers claimed their first Cascade Valley League victory of the season with a 34-28 come-from-behind win over the Cougars.
Senior Ignacio Velasquez got things started for the Panthers, scoring their first touchdown on a five-yard run in the first quarter, although it would be the only points of the first half for Maxwell, who once again got off to a sluggish start and found themselves down 20-7 at intermission.
The Panthers would come roaring back in the second half, with strong defense, creating opportunities on which the offense could capitalize.
In the third period, rookie quarterback Noel Velazquez took it in on a keeper from four-yards out, before junior Berto Lara found the end zone on a 10-yard run.
Velazquez also came up big in the final quarter, scoring twice on runs of 20 and 17 yards, respectively, along with tossing a pass to Ignacio Velasquez to convert a two-point try.
It was a noteworthy performance from the freshman, as head coach Lane Davis explained.
“He was impressive, particularly in the second half and I compliment him for that,” Davis said.
Maxwell’s defense did its part as well, blocking a field goal, recovering three fumbles, and then sealing the victory with a Lara interception that stopped the Cougars’ final drive.
Making up a significant deficit to get the win on the road is something Davis hopes his squad will build upon as they enter into a softer part of their schedule.
“It was an exciting game and it was great to see them get a win in that fashion,” Davis added. “Hopefully the confidence they built will carry forward into these final five games of the regular season.”
This homecoming week for the Panthers (2-4, 1-2), who will entertain Portola Friday night. As part of the festivities, Maxwell will honor its 1992-93 section champion team at halftime. ■