Maxwell edges winless Etna in home opener

maxwell-etnaIt may not have been the prettiest win of the Panthers’ season thus far, but the Maxwell varsity football squad notched a win in their first home contest of the 2016-17 season.

Despite the fact that Etna was without a win coming into last Friday’s contest, Maxwell head coach Russ Jones said that he wasn’t surprised by the fact that Etna played his squad tight.

“I think we were prepared for Etna to come in here and be ready to play. They have a good coaching staff, they attended our game against Fall River to scout us, and we kind of got what we were expecting from them,” Jones said.

Without the services of leading rusher Isaac Magana, the Panthers had to rely on fullback Dylan Jones to lead the way on the ground. The Lions keyed on Jones in the running game, which opened some doors for the Panthers, Russ Jones said.

“The way they were running defense against us left some vulnerabilities in passing game. When Dylan was running the ball, they had eight or nine guys in box. That made it easier on our passing game and (quarterback) Chubby (Rangel) stepped up and had a good game for us,” Jones said.

With an aggressive Etna defense consistently sending more rushers than the Panthers could block, Jones and assistant coach Zach Urrutia knew just the play to dial up.

After the Lions sent an all out blitz on two consecutive plays against the Panthers in the second quarter, Jones called a screen play to senior fullback Dylan Jones. Rangel connected with Jones, who made one Etna tackler miss and had nothing but open space in front of him on the way to the end-zone.

In the latter goings of the third quarter, Jones dialed up the play once more. This time, Dylan Jones went completely untouched en route to his second score.

“As long as Chubby could get the ball in his hands, there was no one out there to make a play,” Russ Jones said.

Dylan Jones led the Panthers in both yards rushing and yards receiving. The senior fullback hauled in two catches, both for touchdowns, that went for a combined 80 yards. He added 73 yards on 7 carries.

Chubby Rangel finished with 54 yards rushing and went 7 of 14 for 201 yards passing and 2 touchdowns. Wyatt Perry, Gustavo Ambriz, and Donnie Manson each hauled in long passes from Rangel. Manson had 3 catches for 68 yards, including a stellar toe-tapping sideline catch, Jones said.

Despite only allowing 6 points, Jones said he wasn’t satisfied with his defense’s play as a whole.

“Our defense has definitely been a strong point throughout the season. I know we only gave up 6 points, but I wasn’t really happy with our performance last week,” Jones said on Monday. “We made to many mistakes: There was stuff that wasn’t necessarily apparent during the game, but it showed up on film. It’s tough to tell these kids that they didn’t play well when only give up six points. You want to be positive, but you still have to get across that there is room for improvement. Some guys played above average, and others have some work to do.”

From his middle linebacker position, Dylan Jones led the Panthers in tackles with 12. Defensive lineman Conner Lovelace twice sacked Lions quarterback Payton Dickinson, and Rangel intercepted him once.

Next up, Maxwell (3-1) welcomes Portola (0-4) for the Panthers’ homecoming game. The varsity contest kicks off at 7 PM.

Brian Pearson is the Managing Editor & Reporter for the Williams Pioneer Review. Brian joined the Williams Pioneer Review in June 2016 and is committed to bringing hyperlocal news to its readers. A few of his projects include reporting on local government and the newly feature sports page. To contact Brian about this article, or for future articles, please email him at