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2016 Season ...



TOP PHOTO: Palomar tight end Robet Ursua catches a 9-yard touchdown pass from Matt Romero in front of Moorpark's Joseph Guerrero late in the fourth quarter. -- Photo by Charlie Neuman. DIRECTLY ABOVE: Patrick Koch kicks a 51-yard field goal, tying him for fifth on the all-time Palomar list, out of the hold of Sam Tapia. Koch's field goal tied the game 17-17 with 10:20 left in the third quarter. No. 46 is Chase Porter, protecting against the Raiders' Josh Chickumbindi.-- Photo by Hugh Cox

 

Comets lose by 5 despite 51-yd. Koch FG  

ESCONDIDO (9-24-2016) -- Palomar had plenty of positives Saturday night at Chick Embrey Field at Wilson Stadium, including a 51-yard field goal by Patrick Koch, a distance that moves him to a tie for fifth on the Comets' all-time list.

But the Comets got off to another slow start before waking up, which resulted in another close loss, this one by a 31-26 margin to visiting Moorpark.

On a night Isiah Johnson rushed for 162 yards and three touchdowns on 24 carries for the visiting Raiders, the Comets had numerous players contribute along with Koch, who added another field goal of 23 yards and tacked on two PATs.

Dominique Love scooped up a Moorpark fumble and returned it 50 yards for a touchdown to get Palomar on the board after the Raiders had taken a 10-0 lead.

Quarterback Matt Romero found his range from the second quarter on and passed for 245 yards on the night, including touchdown aerials of 3 yards to Johnny Arzola and 9 yards to Robert Ursua late in the fourth quarter. LaMont Chaney had seven receptions for 62 yards. Arzola and ZIssiah Augero each caught four passes, Terrell Arnold had two catches for 74 yards and Ursua contributed two catches for 47 yards.

Josh Bernard chipped in 79 yards rushing on 19 carries.

Defensively, Brandon Price (11 tackles, 5 of them solo) and Christian Prince (10 tackles, 6 solo including 1.5 tackles for loss), Hunter Turner (9 tackles.,2 for losses), Malavai Taylor (8 tackles, 6 solo, 1 tackle for loss and 2 pass break-ups), Nako Tei (5 tackles), Love (5 tackles to go with his fumble return) and Roger Mann (1 tackle for loss, 2 quarterback hurries) had strong performances.

And Sam Tapia averaged 43.1 yards for 8 punts, including a 56-yarder to the Moorpark 9-yard line, a 51-yarder, a 48-yarder, a 46-yarder and a 43-yarder to the 8. He deposited a total of three punts inside the 20-yard line, two of them inside the 10.

Koch also kicked a 2-yard field goal.

The Comets have played four close games, losing by 6 points, winning by 5, losing by 4 and losing by 5.

Palomar will try to turn that trend around when the Comets visit Chaffey in their final non-conference game next Saturday at 6 p.m., followed by a bye the following week before opening National Conference South play.



TOP PHOTO: Tackle Justin Sattelmaier (75) and tight end Robert Ursua (80) protect as quarterback Matt Romero passes against Cerritos last week. DIRECTLY ABOVE: Linebacker Christian Price (24) hauls down running back Kishawn Holmes, knocking the ball loose. Holmes recovered his own fumble. The Comets host Moorpark on Saturday evening. -- Photo by Hugh Cox

Army transfer leads Moorpark vs. Comets

ESCONDIDO (9-23-2016) -- One year ago, Moorpark College upset Palomar at Moorpark for its first victory of the football season. On Saturday, the Comets get an opportunity for revenge.

The Comets will host the Raiders, who this season are led by Army West Point transfer Kado Brown, in a non-conference game at Escondido High School's Chick Embrey Field at Wilson Stadium. Kickoff will be at 6 p.m.

Moorpark nearly upset nationally No. 11-ranked Long Beach City College last week, leading 21-7 midway through the second quarter before eventually losing 43-29. Brown, converted from his running back position for the Black Knights, is the Raiders' quarterback. He utilized his speed to rush for 81 yards vs. Long Beach and had 330 yards in total offense in the game.

The Comets have played three close games in going 1-2 so far. They'll be without 2014 all-conference guard Khris Alvarez, who sustained an injury in last week's 21-17 loss to Cerritos. The Comets' defense, led by safety Zach Gallina with 12 tackles on the night, shut out the Falcons in the second half in that game.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO LINEUPS ON THE FOOTBALL PAGE

GAME DAY: Moorpark (1-2) at Palomar (1-2), Non-Conference Game

Chick Embrey Field at Wilson Stadium (Escondido), Saturday, Sept. 23, 2016

Palomar Offense

No. Name

Pos.

Ht.

Wt.

Yr.

High School / Previous College

2-Matt Romero

QB

6-2

200

Fr

Oceanside

20-Josh Bernard

RB

5-11

210

Fr

Oceanside

46-Chase Porter

FB

6-0

225

Fr

Mission Hills

19-Nate Kelly

REC

6-0

175

Fr

Vista Murrieta

7-LaMont Chaney

REC

6-1

193

So

Knightdale (NC) / Hampton University

11-Johnny Arzola

REC

6-0

190

Fr

Oceanside / Dixie State

80-Robert Ursua TE 6-3 230 So Liberty (Bakersfield) / U.S. Navy

75-Justin Sattelmaier

LT

6-7

300

Fr

Temecula Valley / Western Oregon

71-Carlos Patino

LG

6-2 250 Fr Rancho Christian (Temecula)

61-Joshua Pichette

C

6-3

245

Fr

Tri-City Christian

74-Javier Turner RG 6-3 310 Fr Escondido

76-Michael Childress

RT

6-5

280

So

Vista

Palomar Defense

56-Roger Mann

E

6-3

250

So

Rancho Bernardo

99-Wes Fonoti

E

6-3

250

Fr

Federal Way (Federal Way, WA)

97-Anthony Zuninga

T

6-0 260

Fr

San Marcos

59-Mickey Sega

T

6-0

270

So

Memorial (Eau Claire, WI)

55-Nako Te'i

LB

6-2 230 So El Camino

26-Bryce Willette

LB

6-1

210

So

San Pasqual / Minnesota Crookston

30-Brad Dozier

LB

6-1

205

So

Valley Center

27-Dominique Love

CB

6-2

185

So

Bishop’s / New Mexico State, Cal Poly

9-Michael Moore

CB

6-2

180

So

Escondido

14-Malavai Taylor

S

6-2

205

So

Oceanside

15-Zach Gallina

S

6-0

180

So

Rancho Buena Vista

Palomar Special Teams

70-Patrick Koch

FG/PAT

5-10

165

So

Del Norte

70-Patrick Koch

KO

5-10

165

So

Del Norte

1-Sam Tapia

HOLDER

6-0

180

So

Cathedral Catholic

1-Sam Tapia

PUNTER

6-0

180

So

Cathedral Catholic

7-LaMont Chaney

KOR

6-1

193

So

Knightdale (NC) / Hampton University

20-Josh Bernard

KOR

5-11

210

Fr

Oceanside

11-Johnny Arzola

PR

6-0

190

Fr

Oceanside / Dixie State

89-Wyatt Paterson

LS

6-2

230

Fr

Vista Murrieta



Josh Bernard scores Palomar's second touchdown against Cerritos Saturday night on a 12-yard run with 12:45 left in the game.No. 7 is LaMont Chaney. -- Photo by Hugh Cox

Palomar's comeback falls four points short

NORWALK (9-17-2016) -- Palomar, trailing by two touchdowns at the half, saw a fourth-quarter comeback fall just short on Saturday night at Falcon Stadium as the Comets dropped a non-conference football game to Cerritos 21-17.

Most of Palomar's success in the opening half came with the Falcons leading 7-0 when Wes Fonoti blocked a Cerritos field goal attempt with 5:39 left in the first quarter and Dominique Love scooped up the ball and returned it 56 yards for a touchdown. Patrick Koch kicked the PAT and the teams were tied 7-7.

Cerritos led 21-7 at halftime after a pair of Nick Michell touchdown runs in the second period when the game's momentum changed and the Comets scored twice in the fourth quarter, on Josh Bernard's 12-yard touchdown run and Koch's 45-yard field goal, which came with 3:32 left in the game.

The Comets outscored the Falcons 10-0 over the game's final 30 minutes and 53 seconds and attempted to get the ball back with an onside kick following the field goal for a final attempt to win it. But Cerritos quickly called timeout, negating any surpise, and this time Koch kicked off deep to the 5-yard line, from where Landon Jones returned it 22 yards out to the 27.

Palomar never got the ball back as the Falcons controlled the ball for the game's last 3:27, during which time the Comets used their last two timeouts.

"We did some good things to try to come back, but we have to play four quarters and, until we can do that, we're not gong to be the kind of team we want to be," coach Joe Early said.

Palomar's top offensive effort came from tight end Robert Ursua, who ran over Cerritos defenders twice as he caught four passes from Matt Romero for 43 yards.

Along with the blocked field goal and touchdown return, the Comets got strong defensive efforts from Malavai Taylor who intercepted a pass in the end zone and contributed 6 tackles, Zack Gallina (12 tackles), Christian Prince (9 tackles, 1.5 for a loss) and Brad Dozier, Hunter Turner and Nako Te'i who had 6 tackles each.

Punter Sam Tapia pinned the Falcons inside the 20-yard line three times, at the 6, 19 and 14-yard line. He also had kicks of 47 and 43 yards.

GAME STATS




Freshman center Josh Pichette (top photo) and sophomore linebacker Brad Dozier (No. 30, directly above) will play key roles on offense and defense, respectively, when the Comets travel to Cerritos for a 6 p.m. game Saturday. Pichette, a freshman from Tri-City Christian High School, will be making his third straight start. Dozier, a sophomore from San Pasqual, is in his second season as a starter for the Comets. Dozier is shown knocking the ball loose from Santa Monica's Conor McMahan as he breaks up a pass in Palomar's 35-30 win last Saturday. -- Photos by Hugh Cox

Comets seek 2nd win in row Saturday

SAN MARCOS (9-16-2016) -- Palomar will seek its second straight football win on Saturday when the Comets travel to Norwalk to face an old rival, Cerritos College. Kickoff for the non-conference matchup is slated for 6 p.m. at Falcon Stadium.

The Comets evened their record at 1-1 last week, turning back Santa Monica College 35-30 at Escondido's Chick Embrey Field at Wilson Stadium in a game that wasn't as close as the final score would indicate. Palomar was inside the Corsairs' 1-yard line as the scoreboard clock wound down and let time run out at the 2 as the game ended.

The Falcons come into the game an uncharacteristic 0-2 after losing to state No. 6-ranked Fullerton last week.

"It's a typical Cerritos team," Palomar coach Joe Early said. "We know they'll be physical, and they'll be playing with a chip on their shoulder with a bad taste in their mouth after starting 0-2."

Early feels the Comets have practiced well this week. "Guys were flying around. If we can play that way for four quarters, we'll have a chance at these guys."

TOP PHOTO: Palomar's Malavai Taylor steps in front of Santa Monica tight end Sam Murphy to intercept a pass thrown by Corsairs quarterback Brock Raggio early in the first quarter Saturday. Taylor returned the pick 29 yards for the game's first touchdown. MIDDLE PHOTO: Linebacker Christian Prince (24) causes a fumble at the end of his 10-yard sack by stripping the ball from Raggio's grasp. Kahlil Miller recovered for Santa Monica. DIRECTLY ABOVE: The Comets' Xzavier Crawford breaks up a pass intended for Santa Monica's Darius Brown in the end zone, preventing a touchdown.  -- Photos by Hugh Cox

Comets rebound to turn back Santa Monica

ESCONDIDO (9-10-2016) -- Palomar, bouncing back from an upset loss the previous week, jumped out to a three-touchdown lead in the game's first 15 minutes and 5 seconds and went on to pin a 30-25 non-conference football loss on visiting Santa Monica on Saturday evening at Chick Embrey Field at Wilson Stadium.

In a game that alternated big plays and mistakes by both sides, the Comets were tough when it counted. The game was more one-sided than the final score and Palomar was inside the Santa Monica 1-yard line as the final seconds ticked down and at the 2-yard line at the final gun.

Malavai Taylor intercepted a pass thrown by Corsairs quarterback Brock Raggio with 9:51 left in the first quarter and returned it 29 yards for a touchdown to give the Comets a lead they would never relinquish. Palomar scored twice more early on, with touchdowns coming on a 51-yard Matt Romero-to-LaMont Chaney pass play and Jordan Morris' 7-yard run. After Patrick Koch's first three PAT kicks, the Comets led 21-0 five seconds into the second period.

Big plays by Palomar's defense dominated much of the action and on offense the Comets added two more touchdowns on a 14-yard Romero-to-Robert Ursua pass and Currie Thomason's 2-yard run.

Punter Sam Tapia had his second straight big night for Palomar, booming a 57-yarder that was downed at the Santa Monica 11-yard line and another kick that pinned the Corsairs at their own 7-yard line. In all, Tapia averaged 40.6 yards for five punts and pinned Santa Monica inside its 20 four times. He also had a kick that the Corsairs' Carbell Lewis fair caught at the 21.

Some of the biggest defensive plays: Linebacker Christian Prince intercepted a pass at the Palomar 46-yard line. Prince also caused a fumble by sacking Brock Raggio for a 10-yard loss and jarring the ball out of Raggio's grasp. And he scooped up the ball when Anthony Zuninga blocked a Santa Monica field goal attempt and returned it 30 yards, half of which came back due to a penalty.

Linebacker Brad Dozier made a touchdown-saving tackle at the Palomar 21 as he knocked down Santa Monica's Darius Brown at the end of a 69-yard catch-and-run from Raggio. The play began with Raggio taking the snap from center at the Corsairs' 10-yard line. Dozier and Dominique Love knocked Corsairs tight end Sam Murphy out-of-bounds at the PC 28 after Murphy caught a Raggio pass and appeared to have a shot to squeeze through and reach the end zone. Xzavier Crawford broke up a pass intended for Santa Monica's Darius Brown in the end zone, preventing a touchdown. Prince also broke up a pass.

And, in all, the Comets combined to sack Santa Monica's quarterbacks six times (1.5 by Dozier) and record 12 tackles for loss for 56 yards (including multiple times by Dozier, Roger Mann and Taylor). Dozier broke up two passes, and Mann contributed three quarterback hurries.

Back on offense, Romero connected on 20-of-33 pass attempts for 244 yards and two touchdowns. Chaney, Johnny Arzola and Ursua combined for 14 receptions for 174 yards. Issiah Augero came on late in the game run average 6.9 yards per carry on eight attempts, Tito Feliciano broke off a 21-yard gain. And Josh Bernard totaled 144 all-purpose yards.

Coach Joe Early said he was hardly thrilled with what he saw, and added that his squad will have to get better. But he thinks the Comets played significantly better than they did against Southwestern.

"We needed this," he said.

Palomar will play its first road game next Saturday at 6 p.m. at another non-conference opponent, Cerritos.

GAME STATS


TOP PHOTO: Southwestern's Marquis Williams (No. 2) was credited with a 2-yard touchdown catch of a Joe Hudson pass when it was ruled Williams touched the pylon before going out of bounds. Nako Tei tackles Williams from behind. No. 15 for the Comets is Zach Gallina. MIDDLE PHOTO: Tight end Robert Ursua dives into the end zone with a 30-yard touchdown reception from Matt Romero. DIRECTLY ABOVE: Josh Bernard runs past Southwestern's Sergio Ayon (49) on a 30-yard pass play from former Oceanside High School teammate Romero. -- Photos by Hugh Cox

Comets' comeback is too little and too late

ESCONDIDO (9-03-2016) -- Palomar sleepwalked through much of Saturday night's season football opener, then sprung to life to score three late touchdowns. But it turned out to be a case of too little, too late as Southwestern held on for a 34-28 non-conference victory at Wilson Stadium.

It was the first time a Joe Early team lost its season opener since he was named head coach prior to the 2002 season and followed 14 straight opening-game wins. And it was only the second time the Jaguars have beaten the Comets since 1988 -- when they were still known as the Apaches.

Southwestern left little to the imagination in dominating the game for most of the evening, and led 34-7 late in the third quarter after Demetrious Gibbs' 46-yard pick-six touchdown.

But the Comets refused to roll over, scoring 21 unanswered points in the game's final 17 1/2 minutes on three Matt Romero touchdown passes -- for 30 yards to tight end Robert Ursua, 76 yards to wide receiver LaMont Chaney and 10 yards to running back Jordan Morris with 13 seconds to play following a successful onside kick.

The game ended after the Romero-to-Morris touchdown when the Southwestern recovered Palomar's second straight onside kick attempt.

Romero and running back Josh Bernard had hooked up on a 26-yard pass play early in the second quarter that gave Palomar its first touchdown and tied the game at 7-7 after Patrick Koch's first of four PATs.

Linebacker Brad Dozier's interception and 13-yard return down to the 11-yard line set up the Romero-to-Bernard TD on the next play -- after a 15-yard penalty on the Comets for a personal foul.

Even through he was intercepted three times, Romero finished the evening 23-for-44 passing for 307 yards and four touchdowns and was only sacked once. Southwestern quarterback Joe Hudson was 35-for-53 for 318 yards and the interception by Dozier.

Palomar managed 412 yards in total offense in the loss. Bernard accumulated 268 all-purpose yards for the Comets. He totaled 55 yards rushing on 13 carries, 102 yards on nine pass receptions and 111 yards on five kickoff returns.

Palomar punter Sam Tapia put the ball high in the air with good hang time throughout the game as he kept the the Comets in striking range with a big opening night.

Only one of Tapia's punts were returned -- for a 3-yard loss. The sophomore from Cathedral Catholic High School pinned the Jaguars inside the 20-yard line four times, including a 59-yard punt, just 2 yards short of landing him to Palomar's all-time top-eight list, to put the Jaguars at their 10 in the second quarter. Tapia also boomed a 48-yarder that was downed at the 14-yard line.

 Tapia also had three shorter punts, two inside the 20, that kept his average just under 40 yards at 39.4 for seven attempts. He narrowly missed a fifth punt inside the 20, a 43-yarder that was downed at the 21-yard line.

Defensively, Zach Gallina led the Comets with 11 tackles. Michael Prayer had 8 tackles (5 unassisted), Wes Fonoti 7 tackles (5 unassisted, 1 for a loss), Malavai Taylor 7 tackles, Bryce Willette 6, Dozier 5 tackles (4 unassisted, 1 for a loss) and Roger Mann 5 tackles (1 for a loss). Mann also contributed three quarterback hurries.

GAME STATS

           

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