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National Champions 1991, 1993, 1998

CALIFORNIA STATE CHAMPIONS 1991, 1993, 1998 | CONFERENCE/DIVISION CHAMPIONS 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2006 | POST-SEASON APPEARANCES 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011

2013 Season   |   2014 Schedule, Results    |    2014 Roster    |    2013 Stats         

2014 Coaching Staff

         Individual Records, Leaders (Entering 2014 Season)  |  Palomar Football History  Comets Currently in NFL, 4-year College Football | View, Download Hugh Cox's Photos

2014 Season

ABOVE: Quarterback Austin Early looks for fullback Jimmy Moreno coming out of the backfield on Saturday morning. Early and Moreno hooked up for a 20-yard completion on the play. BELOW: Slot receiver Damon Nolan tries to dodge safety Shalimar Lawson-Hinds after making a catch. -- Photos by Deb Hellman

Interception, 37-yard TD sets tone in scrimmage

SAN MARCOS (8-30-2014) -- Quarterbacks Brett Hollingsworth, Austin Early, Mitch Bartram and Collin Jones connected on 17-of-29 passes for 132 yards and Justin Harris rushed for 50 yards on 12 carries as Palomar conducted its second and final intrasquad scrimmage on Saturday morning.

But the defense had the biggest plays of the day as the Comets warmed up for next Saturday night's season opener against Citrus College at Wilson Stadium in Escondido.

Dominique Love set the tone for the scrimmage when he intercepted a pass and retuned it 37 yards for a touchdown on the second series of the day. Drew Madera and Kevin Bonilla also had interceptions. Bryan Jones broke up a pass in the end zone. Hunter Moore contributed a big sack late in the scrimmage.

The offense scored touchdowns on a 5-yard pass play from Early to tight end Tyree Burton and a 10-yard pass play from Hollingsworth to Daniel Warren. Shalimar Lawson-Hinds appeared to be returning a blocked PAT attempt for two points when the play was cut short by a penalty near midfield.

Hollingsworth, the Comets' quarterback starter, was 4-for-5 passing. Early was 5-for-7, Bartrom was 5-for-10 and Jones was 3-for-7. Early had the most yards, 65.

Harris had four receptions out of the backfield. M.J. Bailey caught three passes for 33 yards.


Receiver Hakim is Jets' primary kick returner

FLORHAM PARK, New Jersey (8-26-2014) -- New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan told ESPN.com on Tuesday that former Palomar wideout and current Jets wide receiver/kick returner/gunner Saalim Hakim has a "leg up" on other candidates vying for a spot on the 53-man roster.

This, Ryan said, is because of his ability to play special teams. And Hakim's ability to play special teams has a great deal to do with his blazing speed. The 24-year-old former Comet, who enters the final preseason game as the Jets' primary kick returner, was timed by NFL scouts at 4.23 in the 40 at his pro day in 2012.

Hakim was activated from the Jets' practice squad late last season and played in their final three games. He showed signs of just how fast he really is on a pair of end-around plays, one which went for a 9-yard gain that he nearly broke for a touchdown.

He also played two games for the New Orleans Saints late in the 2012 regular season.

Hakim, younger brother of 13-year former NFL receiver/kick returner Az-Zahir Hakim, came to Palomar at his brother's suggestion in 2008 from Palo Verde High School in Las Vegas, where he was primarily a soccer player. He caught three passes for the Comets as a freshman and, after a year of coaching, had 28 receptions as a sophomore in 2009.

"The only route I knew how to run was a go-route," Hakim told ESPN.com. "But nex thing you know, I started learning other routes too. I was learning a lot."

Hakim moved on to Division II Tarleton State in Texas, where he had 18 catches in 2010. Hakim then spent the 2011 season with the Las Vegas Locomotives of the United Football League. One year later, he returned to Tarleton State to participate in pro day and, after running the 4.23 in the 40, Hakim says 18 NFL teams called him.

"My cellphone was blowing up," he told ESPN.com. He first signed a free-agent contract with the Dallas Cowboys, dislocated a finger in a blocking drill. He next had short stints with the St. Louis Rams and the Saints, then joind the Jets' practice squad in October 2013. The rest, leading up to the Jets' final preseason game prior to the 2014 regular-season opener, is history.

(Hakim lists his college as "Palomar" rather than Tarleton State)

FOOTBALL: Preseason Drills

ABOVE: Kyle Ragland, a freshman fullback from San Marcos High School, goes through a drill during Palomar's pre-practice on Tuesday. BELOW LEFT: Head coach Joe Early instructs Evan Gray. a sophomore receiver from Poway High School. -- Photos by Hugh Cox. BELOW RIGHT: Ex-Rancho Buena Vista High star running back Daviante Sayles, a transfer from Eastern Illinois University who joined the Comets on Tuesday -- Photo by Melinda Finn

Comets gear up for 2nd intrasquad scrimmage

SAN MARCOS (8-26-2014) -- Running back Daviante Sayles has transferred to Palomar from Division I Eastern Illinois University and practiced with the Comets for the first time on Tuesday.

He should be ready for to face Citrus in Palomar's season opener a week from Saturday evening at Wilson Stadium in Escondido.

The Comets will go through their second and final preseason intrasquad scrimmage this Saturday.

As a Rancho Buena Vista High School senior, Sayles was leading San Diego County in rushing with 1,164 yards, 15 touchdowns, a pair of 300-plus yard games and a 232.8-yard average when he went down with what turned out to be a season-ending knee injury the fifth week of the 2012 season against El Camino High School.

Eastern Illinois, where Sayles red-shirted in 2013, is the school that came into Qualcomm Stadium and upset San Diego State 40-19 in the first game of the 2013 season last Aug. 31.

Sayles, who joins returning starter Justin Harris out of Chaparral High School in Temecula, arrives just in time for the Comets as former Valley Center High running back Travis Bernard went down with a practice injury last week and has not returned.

Offense and defense both have their moments

SAN MARCOS (8-23-2014) -- The offensive and defensive units both had their share of the spotlight at Palomar's intrasquad football scrimmage on Saturday.

"I thought the offense came out and moved the ball pretty well," coach Joe Early said. "The defense tightened up in the red area and forced us to settle for field goals, and that was a good sign on that side of the ball."

Early thought the Comets looked significantly better than they did in the opening scrimmage a year ago.

Highly-regarded freshman quarterback Brett Hollingsworth (above left), who was CIF Southern Section Eastern Division Offensive Player of the Year last season at Citrus Hill High School in Perris after his spectacular passing numbers led the Hawks to a 13-1 record and section championship, was effective sharing duties with three other QBs.

Hollingsworth completed 9-of-13 passes for 52 yards in the 11-on-11 portion of the scrimmage, while Collin Jones (formerly of El Camino High) was 5-of-6 for 42 yards. M.J. Bailey (San Marcos High) and Damon Nolan (Murrieta Valley) combined for seven receptions in 11-on-11 for 69 yards.

The only scoring during 11-on-11 came on a 38-yard and 40-yard fields goal by Patrick Koch (Del Norte) and a 4-yard touchdown run by Shawn Cameron (Carlsbad) as Hollingsworth returned to the field to engineer a drive near the end of the scrimmage. Mitch Bertram (Escondido High, McKendree University) passed for two touchdowns during 7-on-7, to Nolan and Tyler Crayton (Carlsbad).

On defense, safety Shalimar Lawson-Hinds (Temecula Valley), pictured above right, had a big-play morning, breaking up a pass in the end zone in 11-on-11 and coming up with an interception in 7-on-7. Bryan Jones-Vanney (Temecula Great Oak) also had an interception.

The Comets alternated 11-on-11 and 7-on-7 sessions throughout the scrimmage.

Cameron also had a 46-yard kickoff return. Codey Wuthrich (La Costa Canyon) contributed a 44-yard punt.

"What I was looking for was to come out and establish a level of performance and maintain it, and we did pretty well," Early said. The Comets only had four penalties, and didn't turn the ball over in 11-on-11.

2014 Pre-Season ...

PC, Arizona St. alum Schwab returns to NFL

HOUSTON (8-02-2014) -- Former Palomar and Arizona State offensive tackle Brice Schwab has returned to the NFL. Schwab signed with the Houston Texans last week and has already made an impact in drills at the Texans Training Facility in Houston.

The 6-foot-7, 302-pound Schwab was with the Tampa Bay Bucaneers and the New England Patriots during the 2013 pre-season.

Schwab was ranked as the No. 9 No. 9 community college recruit in the nation and the No. 2 offensive lineman by Rivals.com coming out of Palomar following the 2009 season when the Comets went 10-3, reached the Southern California championship game and were ranked No. 8 nationally by the JC Grid-Wire of Kirkland, WA.

Schwab originally verballed to USC, de-committed when coach Pete Carroll left the Trojans for the Seattle Seahawks and chose Arizona State over Oklahoma and Florida State, both of which also recruited him heavily. He played in nine games for the Sun Devils in 2010, red-shirted in 2011, then started all 13 games at right tackle as a senior in 2012 for a team that averaged 205.5 yards rushing, Arizona State's best total in 25 seasons.

Houston opens the preseason Saturday night at Arizona.

The other former Comet currently on an NFL roster is wide receiver Saalim Hakim, who has been clocked a 4.28 in the 40 and is beginning his second season with the New York Jets.

Earvin Simmons returns a kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown in Palomar's 38-16 victory over Orange Coast on Sept. 28, 2013. -- Photo by Hugh Cox

Simmons signs with MidAmerican Nazarene

SAN MARCOS (7-01-2014) - Palomar kick returner and running back Earvin Simmons, a sophomnore from  Murrieta Valley High School and a first-team All-Southern Conference selection last fall as a sophomore, will play at MidAmerican Nazarene University in Olathe, Kansas.

Former Palomar, Kansas State University and NFL running back Joe Hall will be Simmons' position coach.

Simmons returned 22 kickoffs for 709 yards for the Comets in 2013,  an average of 32.2 yards per return.

Palomar's earlier signees were kicker Jonathan Leiva (UNLV), quarterback Ryan Lamb (Central Michigan), defensive end Brian Gundling (Texas State), middle linebacker Sylvewter Hagen (Missouri Southern State), running back Aaron Mossbarger (MidAmerican Nazarene), tight end Brett Hayes (Southwest Oklahoma State) and corner Daichi Kozu (Baker University of Kansas).

Safety Stephen Parks, making a tackle against Riverside City College in a 2013 game, will sign with Southern Utah. --  Photo  by Hugh Cox

PC's leading tackler Parks to sign with So. Utah

SAN MARCOS (5-27-2014) -- Stephen Parks, Palomar's leading tackler last season, will sign with NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision Southern Utah University.

Parks, a 6-foot-0, 200-pound safety out of Escondido High School, had 147 tackles, 3 interceptions, 10 pass break-ups and 2 forced fumbles as a starting safety for the Comets during the last two seasons.

During the 2013 season, Parks led the Comets with 82 tackles (55 solo) and also had 4.5 tackles for losses, 1 interception, 5 pass break-ups and a forced fumble.

Southern Utah, a member of the Big Sky Conference located in Cedar City Utah, went 8-4 during the 2013 regular season before losing to Sam Houston State in the FCS national playoffs.

The Thunderbirds will open the 2014 season at Nevada on Aug. 30 and also will play Southeastern Louisiana, South Dakota State, Fresno State, Weber State, Cal Poly, Eastern Washington, Idaho State, North Dakota, Sacramento State, Montana and Northern Arizona.

ABOVE: Sophomore defensive end Dylan Donahue (No. 49) could be one of the most highly-recruited football players the Comets have had. Miami, Oregon and Cincinnati were among schools already in the mix in the spring. Donahue, who had 67 tackles, 13.5 tackles for losses, 8.5 sacks, 3 quarterback hurries and a fumble recovery as a freshman last season, will be showcased beginning Sept. 6 when the Comets kick off the 2014 season against Citrus at Wilson Stadium. Donahue is shown here in last season's 31-14 victory over El Camino. BELOW: Joe Early, who will be in his 13th season as Palomar's head coach. He's had seven nationally-ranked teams in his first 12 years, compiling a 75-53 record. -- Photos by Hugh Cox.

Comets will open Sept. 6 vs. Citrus at home

SAN MARCOS (5-13-2-14) -- Like the Comets themselves, Palomar's non-conference football schedule will have a new look this Fall.

Joe Early will begin his 13th season as the Comets' head coach when they kick off the season on Saturday night, Sept. 6, against Citrus at home at Wilson Stadium in Escondido. In their other non-conference games, they play at Long Beach City College on Sept. 13, at San Diego Mesa on Sept. 20 and at home vs. Moorpark on Oct.  11.

In the powerful Southern Conference, Palomar will open against Saddleback at home on Sept. 27 and also will play at Grossmont on Oct. 4, against Orange Coast at home on Oct. 28, on the road against Golden West at Orange Coast's LeBard Stadium on Nov.1, vs. 2013 state  runner-up Fullerton at Yorba Linda High School's Nathan Shapell Memorial Stadium on Nov. 8 and at home vs. Santa Ana on Nov. 15.

Seven of the Comets' games 10 games will be placed at 6 p.m. The Golden West game will have a 7 p.m.kickoff, and the Grossmont and Fullerton games will be played at 1 p.m.



6 -- vs. Citrus at Wilson Stadium, Escondido High School, 6 p.m.

13 -- vs. Long Beach City College at Veterans Stadium,  Long Beach CC, 6 p.m.

20 -- vs. San Diego Mesa at Merrill Douglas Stadium, Mesa College, 6 p.m.

27 -- vs. Saddleback (Conf. game) at Wilson Stadium, Escondido High School, 6 p.m.


4 -- vs. Grossmont (Conf. game) at Roth-Mashin Field, 1 p.m.

11 -- vs. Moorpark at Wilson Stadium, Escondido High School, 6 p.m.

18 -- vs. Orange Coast (Conf. game) at Wilson Stadium, Escondido High School, 6 p.m.


1 -- vs. Golden West (Conf. game) at LeBard Stadium, Orange Coast College, 7 p.m.

8 -- vs. Fullerton (Conf. game) at Shapell Stadium, Yorba Linda High School, 1 p.m.

15 -- vs. Santa Ana (Conf. game) at Wilson Stadium, Escondido High School, 6 p.m.

Palomar running back Aaron Mossbarger, who has accepted a full scholarship to MidAmerica Nazarene, dives into the endzone to score a touchdown vs. state runner-up Fullerton College last October. Former Palomar, Kansas State and NFL running back Joe Hall is the Pioneers' running backs coach. -- Photo by Hugh Cox

Mossbarger to play for Joe Hall at MidAmermica

SAN MARCOS (5-13-2014) -- Aaron Mossbarger, an Escondido High School product who played running back for Palomar for the past two football seasons, has signed as a scholarship player with MidAmerica Nazarene University, an NAIA member school in Olathe, Kansas.

Former Palomar, Kansas State and NFL running back Joe Hall is the Pioneers' running back coach.

Mossbarger played in seven games for the Comets last fall and in 15 games over the last two seasons while missing some action with injuries. He won Palomar's 2012 Iron Man special teams award and was a part-time starter at running back for the 2013 team. .

Comets who signed earlier have been kicker Jonathan Leiva with UNLV, quarterback Ryan Lamb (Central Michigan), defensive end Brian Guendling (Texas State), middle linebacker Sylveswter Hagen (Missouri Southern State), tight end Brett Hayes (Southwestern Oklahoma State) and middle linebacker Offisa Kose from the Comets'  2012 team, who sat out last season (Western New Mexico).

A wave of other Comets are expected to move on to the four-year level as the spring semester ends, including tight ends Sam Browning and Ryan Ena, and safety Stephen Parks.

PC adds ex-Notre Dame, Stanford coordinator

SAN MARCOS (3-03-2014) -- Head coach Joe Early has upgraded Palomar's football coaching staff by bringing in Bill Diedrick as the Comets' quarterbacks coach. Dietrick's hiring is effective immediately, which follows approval of the Palomar College board.

Diedrick has a top-flight Division I background. He was offensive coordinator / quarterbacks coach at Washington State (1989-1990), the University of Washington (1994-1997), Stanford (1998-2001) and Notre Dame (2002-2004).

His Stanford offense averaged 30.4 points and 422.4 yards per game in his four seasons there, including 37.1 points and 451.5 yards in 2001 when the Cardinal ranked in the Top 10 nationally in both categories. Stanford broke a 50-year-old school record in 1999 with 409 total points, and broke a second school record with 5,138 yards of total offense.

Dietrick developed such quarterbacks as Brady Quinn, Marques Tuiasosopo, Drew Bledsoe and John Friesz. He's coached 12 quarterbacks who moved on to the NFL.

"When Bill became available, it was an opportunity we just couldn't pass up," Early said. "His resume stands on its own. I'm really looking forward to leaning on his experience, and the same goes for my brother (offensive coordinator Dan Early). This is without even mentioning what having Bill on board brings to the table in terms of developing our players, especially at the quarterback position, and in recruiting and in moving our players on."

Dietrick was a four-sport letter winner at Eastern Washington University, where he was an NAIA All-American quarterback and team MVP, and began his coaching career as a graduate assistant, coaching quarterbacks and receivers at the University of Hawaii.


2002-2004 -- UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME, Offensive Coordinator, Quarterbacks

1998-2001 -- STANFORD UNIVERSITY, Offensive Coordinator-Quarterbacks (1998 -- Led Pac-10 in passing offense; 1999 -- Led Pac-10 in passing offense, total offense and scoring, Pac-10 Champions; Most prolific offense in Stanford history; 2001 -- Led Pac-10 in rushing offense, total offense and scoring

1994-97 -- UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON, Offensive Coordinator-Quarterbacks (UW all-time career passing and total offense leader

1989-1990 -- WASHINGTON STATE UNIVERSITY, Offensive Coordinator-Quarterbacks (passing offense ranked No. 1 in Pac-10; scoring offense ranked second in Pac-10 and 15th nationally)

Also ...

2008-2009 -- Indiana State University, Offensive Coordinator-Quarterbacks and Wide Receivers

2007-2008 -- Toronto Argonauts, CFL, Assistant Coach-Quarterbacks and Wide Receivers (2007 Eastern Division Champions)

2005-2006 -- Calgary Stampeders, CFL, Assistant Coach, Quarterbacks and Wide Receivers

1991-1992 -- Edmonton Eskimos, CFL, Offensive Coordinator-Quarterbacks and Wide Receivers and Running Backs (More than 8,000 yards total offense and 671 points scored, Western Division Champions, 1991)

1986-1988 -- University of Idaho, Offensive Coordinator-Quarterbacks and Wide Receivers (nationally Top 3-ranked nationally in passing offense three straight years; All-American quarterback)

1984-1885 -- Montana State University, Assistant Head Coach, Offensive Coordinator-Quarterbacks (1984 NCAA I-AA National Champions)

1982-1983 -- Whitworth College, Assistant Head Coach (led nation in passing offense and second in total offense)

1971-1981 -- High School Coach in Spokane, WA

1970-1971 -- University of Hawaii, Graduate Assistant Coach-Quarterbacks and Wide Receivers

Jets activate Saalim Hakim from practice roster

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (12-13-2013) -- The New York Jets activated former Palomar receiver Saalim Hakim to the active roster from the practice squad on Friday.

Hakim, who never played football before arriving to Palomar, is one of the fastest players in the National Football League with a 4.28 time in the 40. He's a second-year NFL player who played in two games for the New Orleans Saints late in the 2012 season.

The Jets have three games remaining in the 2013 regular season -- at the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, home to the Cleveland Browns on Dec. 22 and at the Miami Dolphins on Dec. 29.

43 years later, Dempsey's NFL record falls

DENVER (12-08-2013) -- Exactly 43 years and one month after Palomar alumnus Tom Dempsey set an NFL record by kicking a 63-yard field goal to beat the Detroit Lions on the game's final play, Dempsey's mark finally fell Sunday in the thin air of mile-high Denver.

The Broncos' Matt Prater broke Dempsey's record with a 64-yarder on the final play of the first half in a game against the Tennessee Titans.

Dempsey's kick, which had been tied three times in the ensuing years, came on Nov. 8, 1970 at the old Tulane Stadium in New Orleans and lifted the New Orleans Saints to a 19-17 win over the Lions.

Dempsey (above right), born with a short right arm, a surgically-manufactured claw where his hand and fingers should have been and half of a right foot, never kicked before coming to Palomar and did not attend a four-year college. He played in the NFL from 1969 through 1979 for the Saints, Philadelphia Eagles, Los Angeles Rams, Houston Oilers and Buffalo Bills.

Dempsey was an inaugural inductee into the Palomar College Athletic Hall of Fame in 2012.

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