Football suffers close loss to Panthers


Gina Johnson

Gow (left) gives Caldwell, the new starting quarterback, advice before the game.

SJ Lasley, Assignments Editor

With crucial defensive plays and a kick return touchdown, the Mavericks played competitively in their back-and-forth game against Hyde Park Baptist on Friday, Sept. 14.

Just two weeks after captain and starting quarterback Wesley Gow suffered an ACL injury, the Mavericks travelled to Austin to face the Panthers. Sophomore George Caldwell has taken over as starting quarterback. The Mavericks now focus more on establishing a seamless dynamic through the entire offense, while the defense looks to put the offense in good position.

“The entire team felt an immediate change with Wesley and his inability to play,” junior safety Drake Meiss said. “Our defense knew we were going to have to step up and play at a higher level to try and help our offense out as much as possible.”

The Mavericks held their own against the Panthers in the first half. Meiss recovered a fumble at the end of the second quarter, and junior corner Peter Cannon intercepted a Panther pass. Senior Austin Beebe sent the Mavericks’ sidelines into a frenzy with a kick-return touchdown in the second quarter.

“When you’re in the game and the adrenaline is rushing, it feels great to come up with some of those big plays and give the team some energy to spark up the sidelines,” Meiss said.

The Mavs and the Panthers battled neck-and-neck into the second half, though the Panthers eventually pulled away with the win (34-23).

“It was a tough game to lose,” Caldwell said. “We knew that Hyde Park would be a challenging team to play. We started off pretty strong, and the game definitely had a couple of momentum shifts.”

Despite the loss, Caldwell remains hopeful for the rest of the season. According to Caldwell, the team is focusing on building solid relationships to render more success. Caldwell has formed his own friendship with Gow due to the circumstances.

“Wesley has been nothing but a great role model and example to me on and off the field,” Caldwell said. “He’s a close friend and I’m fortunate to have him on our team.”

As for the other players, they, too, see the loss and Gow’s injury as a means to grow and push each other to strive for better.

“Everyone is working hard to fill the gap and give George every opportunity possible to make plays,” captain Malcolm Sturgis said. “We are obviously upset about losing Wesley, but we feel that George will be able to step up into his place.”