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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    |    2014 Coaches         

         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

Coach Joe Early has the Palomar football team ranked No. 6 in Southern California, No. 11 in the state and No. 25 nationally

PC resurfaces in national poll, is sixth in SoCal

GLENDALE / SAN MATEO / KIRKLAND, WA (10-29-2014) -- Coming off a bye week, Palomar's football team is in position to make its biggest splash on the Southern California, state and national levels since 2009, when the Comets went 10-3, advanced to the Southern California championship game and wound up eighth in the nation.

Going into a 7 p.m. Southern Conference game on Saturday against Golden West at Orange Coast College's LeBard Stadium, Palomar is ranked sixth in Southern California (Golden West is ranked fifth). The Comets are ranked 11th in Southern California (the Rustlers are 10th). And the Comets have resurfaced in the J.C. Grid-Wire national rankings out of Kirkland, Washington at No. 25 (Golden West is No. 24).

Still awaiting the Comets after Saturday, defending Southern California champion Fullerton a week from Saturday on the road and Santa Ana to close out the regular season in two weeks at Wilson Stadium in Econdido.

Not that Early is even thinking about the final two weeks at this point, but if Palomar were to run the table, it would clinch no worse than a tie for the Southern Conference championship. If it were to run the table and Saddleback loses at least one of its final two games vs. Fullerton on Saturday and Golden West on Nov. 15, the Comets would automatically clinch a spot in the four-team Southern California playoffs, with the SoCal champion moving on to the state championship game.

The highest end-of-season national ranking under Early as head coach came in his first season of 2002, when the Grid-Wire ranked the 10-1 Comets No. 4 in the country. Early was an assistant on Palomar's three mythical national championship teams in the 1990s.

1-East Mississippi (9-0) 1-American River (7-0) 1-Riverside City College (6-1)
2-Iowa Western (9-0) 2-College of San Mateo (6-1) 2-Long Beach CC (6-1)
3-Trinity Valley (Texas) (9-0) 3-Riverside City College (6-1) 3-Mt. SAC (6-2)
4-American River (7-0) 4-Long Beach CC (6-1) 4-Fullerton (6-2)
5-Snow (Utah) (7-1) 5-CC of San Francisco (6-1) 5-Golden West (5-2)
6-College of San Mateo (6-1) 6-Diablo Valley (6-1) 6-PALOMAR (5-2)
7-Arizona Western (8-1) 7-Mt. SAC (6-2) 7-Ventura (4-3)
8-CC of San Francisco (6-1) 8-Fullerton (6-2) 8-Chaffey (4-3)
9-Scottsdale (Arizona) (7-1) 9-Butte (5-2) 9-Cerritos (5-3)
10-Riverside City College (6-1) 10-Golden West (5-2) 10-Bakersfield (4-4)
11-Hutchinson (Kansas) (8-1) 11-PALOMAR (5-2) 11-Saddleback
12-Long Beach CC (6-1) 13-Sacramento CC (5-2) 12-Canyons
13-Mississippi Gulf Coast (8-1) 14-Santa Rosa (5-2) 13-Grossmont
14-Mt. SAC (6-2) 14-Ventura (4-3) 14-Santa Ana
15-Navarro (Texas) (7-2) 15-Laney (4-3) 15t-Citrus
16-Copiah-Lincoln (Miss.) (7-2) 16-Cerritos (5-3) 15t-El Camino
17-Tyler (Texas) (7-2) 17-West Hills (7-0)  
18-Fullerton (6-2) 18-Victor Valley (7-0) Only Playoff-tier teams eligible
19-Kilgore (Texas) (7-2) 19-Fresno City College (4-3) for above coaches' poll. Non-
20-Coffeyville (Kansas) (7-2) 20-Chaffey (4-3) playoff eligible teams from the lower
21-Diablo Valley (6-1) 21-Southwestern (6-1) tier have a separate poll
22-Nassau (New York) (8-0) 22-Bakersfield (4-4)  
23-Santa Rosa (5-2) 23-Glendale (6-1)  
24-Golden West (5-2) 24-Hartnell (6-1)  
25-PALOMAR (5-2) 25t-Saddleback (4-4)
  25t-Santa Barbara CC (6-1)

Amu named Defensive Player, Athlete of Week

LONG BEACH / SAN DIEGO (10-21-2014) -- Palomar football player Toeafua Amu has received two awards for his performance in the Comets' 20-10 victory over Orange Coast on Saturday night in Escondido.

Amu, a sophomore outside linebacker from El Camino High School, was selected Defensive Player of the Week by the Southern Conference and Men's Athlete of the Week for all sports by the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference.

With the Comets trailing 10-0 six minutes into the second half on Saturday, Amu turned the game around on one play. He intercepted a pass and returned it 42 yards for the touchdown that got Palomar on the scoreboard. The play ignited a win that put them in a tie for second place, one game behind Fullerton, the defending Southern California Community College champion and 2013 state runner-up.

Amu also had five tackles (four solo, all for losses).

ABOVE: Toeafua Amu (41), Junior Tau (partially hidden in the middle and Drew Madera (52) swarm Orange Coast receiver Mark Munson. -- Photo by Stephen Davis. BELOW LEFT: Amu, who returned an interception 42 yards for Palomar's first touchdown. BELOW RIGHT: Malohi Makihele, who also had an interception. The Comets' other interception came courtesy of Diovanni Brewer.

Interceptions ignite come-from-behind victory

ESCONDIDO (10-18-2014) -- After playing lackluster football for much of the evening and trailing Orange Coast in a Southern Conference game 10-0 a little under six minutes into the second half on Saturday night, it turned out Palomar had the Pirates right where they wanted them.

Interceptions and healthy returns by linebacker Toeafua Amu (left), linebacker Malohi Makihele (right) and defensive Diovanni Brewer all resulted in touchdowns and ignited a 20-10 come-from-behind victory over the Pirates at Wilson Stadium. The Comets (5-2, 2-1) enter their bye week in a tie for second place in the conference behind 2013 Southern California champion and state runner-up Fullerton.

With the visiting Pirates on top by 10 points and in possession of the ball in a second-and-3 situation from their own 31 in the third quarter, Amu picked off a Kody Whitaker pass and returned it 41 yards down the right side for the touchdown that got Palomar on the scoreboard. Patrick Koch's PAT kick cut Orange Coast's lead to 10-7 with 9:41 remaining in the period.

After the ensuing kickoff, the Pirates drove from their own 37 yard line to the Palomar 7, which is when Makihele broke their backs with the second pick of the night. He intercepted Whitaker at the goal line and returned the pick 70 yards. A penalty for an illegal block early on the return brought the ball back and left the Comets with a first down at their own 22 yard-line.

With quarterback Brett Hollingsworth completing five passes, including two to Daniel Warren and two to Damon Nolan, Palomar went 78 yards in eight plays in a drive that took only 2 minutes, 46 seconds. Hollingsworth connected with M.J. Bailey on a 12-yard pass play for the go-ahead touchdown and Koch converted to put the Comets on top 14-10 with 3:20 remaining in the third quarter.

The Comets added a 40-yard TD pass play from Hollinsworth to Wayne Ganan with 7:26 left in the game. The touchdown came on the first snap after Brewer intercepted another Whitaker pass at the Palomar 12 and returned it 45 yards to the Orange Coast 43. The Pirates' Gilbert Gildersleeve blocked Koch's PAT attempt.

The TD gave Palomar a 20-10 lead, which is the way the game ended.

Hollingsworth hit on 14-of-27 pass attempts for 169 yards and two touchdowns after relieving Mitch Bartram, who started the game at quarterback. Nolan, Warren and Bailey caught 14 of those passes for 143 yards. Justin Harris rushed for 57 yards on 14 carries and was instrumental in controlling the ball for the Comets as time ticked down down the stretch.

Cory Salazar, Brewer and Drew Madera each had eight tackles for the Comets and combined for 3.5 tackles for losses and two sacks. As a team, Palomar tackled the Pirates 15 times for losses, including 7 sacks.

Madera recovered an Orange Coast fumble. Javonte O'Roy and Brewer broke up a combined seven passes.

The hit of the night was delivered by defensive end Dylan Donahue, who played in situations returning from an injury that kept him out of last week's win over Moorpark.

On one of his patented clean but violent hits, Donahue leveled a Orange Coast player on Brewer's interception return, adding 20 yards to the end of the return. The player collapsed when he got up and tried to walk off the field but eventually was revived and was helped off. He did not appear to be hurt seriously.

Codey Wuthrich deposited five of his eight punts inside the 20-yard line.


ABOVE: Palomar's Wyatt Paterson crosses the goal line on a 30-yard pass play from Mitch Bartram in last week's 45-44 two-overtime win over Moopark. The Comets will host Orange Coast on Saturday at 6 p.m. at Escondido High School's Wilson Stadium. -- Photo by Hugh Cox. BELOW: Defensive end Ian Kelly

PC seeks 3rd win in row on Saturday at home

ESCONDIDO (10-17-2014) -- Palomar will try to notch its third straight football win and position itself in the Southern Conference race on Saturday when the Comets return to conference action aganst Orange Coast at Wilson Stadium's Chick Embrey Field. Kickoff will be 6 p.m.

The Comets are coming off a 45-44 non-conference win over Moorpark last Saturday night and will be trying to go 2-1 in the conference going into their bye week. Palomar is 4-2 overall.

After losing their first four games, the Pirates came to life last weekrolling to a 49-10 victory over Los Angeles Pierce as Kody Whitaker passed for 335 yards and five touchdowns.

Quarterback Mitch Bartram passed for 197 yards and three touchdowns in Palomar's victory over Moorpark. Receiver Wayne Ganan had four catches for 76 yards and one TD and also rushed for 117 yards on five revrse plays. Defensive end Ian Kelly had 12 tackles (9 solo), 3 tackles for loses and a 5-yard sack.

GAME DAY: Orange Coast (1-4, 0-1 Southern Conference) at Palomar (4-2, 1-1 Southern Conference) , Chick Embrey Field at Wilson Stadium, Escondido High School, Saturday 6 p.m.
Palomar Offense
No. Name Pos  Ht  Wt  Yr High School/College
2--Mitch Bartram QB  6-1  190 So Escondido / McKendree University
5--Justin Harris RB  5-10 190 So Temecula Chaparral
23-Daviante Sayles RB  5-10 180 Fr Rancho Buena Vista / So. Illinois University
80-M.J. Bailey SE  6-1  200 So San Marcos
9--Damon Nolan SL   5-7 155 So Murrieta Valley
84-Wayne Ganan FL  5-10 175 Fr Del Norte
75-Charlie Long C    6-2  282 Fr Poway / Purdue University
77-Eddie Grajeda LG  6-1  315 So Escondido
73-Alex Dunn LT   6-7  295 So Vista Murrieta
76-Khris Alvarez RG  6-4  310 Fr San Marcos
78-Mike Stevens RT   6-8  320 Fr Valhalla
Palomar Defense
97-Dominic Darby DE  6-3 255 So Mission Hills
98-Hunter Moore DT   6-1 245 Fr Mission Hills
94-Rafael Sangenes DT   6-4 270 Fr Oceanside
99-Ian Kelly DE   6-3 240 So Temecula Chaparral
52-Drew Madera LB   6-1 210 So Temecula Chaparral
41-Toefua Amu LB   6-0 227 So El Camino
40-Malohi Makihele LB  5-11 220 So Mission Hills
8--Bryan Jones DB   6-0 180 So Great Oak
29-Diovanni Brewer DB   5-9 150 Fr Oceanside
3--DeAngelo Ivey DB   6-0 170 Fr Carver (Atlanta, GA)
7--Javante O'Roy DB   6-0 185 So Antelope (Antelope, CA) / Sacramento CC
Palomar Special Teams
83-Patrick Koch PK  5-10 165 Fr Del Norte
14-Matt Taylor H    5-9  175 So Temecula Chaparral
51-Austin Paredes LS   6-1  215 Fr Valley Center
87-Grant Fleming KO  6-4  220 Fr Vista Murrieta
60-Codey Wuthrich P    5-11 190 So La Costa Canyon
26-Shawn Cameron RET  5-8 190 Fr Carlsbad
5--Justin Harris KR  5-10 190 So Temecula Chaparral
9--Damon Nolan PR   5-7 155 So Murrieta Valley

TOP PHOTO: Palomar's Damon Nolan cradles the ball as he scores the winning touchdown on a 12-yard pass from Mitch Bartram in the second overtime Saturday night. DIRECTLY ABOVE: Linebacker Austin Wolff (47) and defensive tackle Rafael Sangines (50) sandwich Zach LaBar, who started the game at quarterback for Moorpark, on a first-quarter sack. -- Photos by Hugh Cox. BELOW LEFT: Wayne Ganan, who ran for 117 yards on five end-around plays and also caught a 36-yard touchdown pass from Bartram. BELOW RIGHT: Bryan Jones, who had another big game defensively with an interception, three pass break-ups and four solo tackles

PC wins in 2nd OT on Bartram-Nolan pass, PAT

ESCONDIDO (10-11-2014) -- Palomar held off visiting Moorpark 46-45 in a wild two-overtime non-conference football shootout on Saturday night at Wilson Stadium.

Outscored 17-0 in the fourth quarter as the visiting Raiders roared back from a 38-21 deficit and with the game appearing to be slipping away, the Comets (4-2) survived a scoreless first overtime on an interception by Bryan Jones.

Palomar then won the game in the second OT on a 12-yard touchdown pass from Mitch Bartram to Damon Nolan in the front of the end zone and Michael Elrod's PAT kick which put the Comets up 45-38.

Getting possession last, Moorpark scored on a 6-yard keeper by quarterback Nick Davis to pull to pull to within one at 45-44 and went for the win when they tried to run the ball in for a two-point conversion. Palomar's defense smothered Raekeal Beasley for a loss on the play, slamming the door on the Raiders and ending the game.

The Comets never trailed in the game and were tied by Moorpark only once, on a 44-yard field goal by Derek Kirk with 1:27 left in the fourth quarter that pulled the Raiders even at 38-38.

Palomar led 7-0, 10-0, 10-7, 17-7, 24-7, 24-14, 31-14, 31-21, 38-21, 38-28, 38-35, 45-38 and by the 45-44 final score.

Freshman wide receiver Wayne Ganan produced 193 all-purpose yards for the Comets, running for 117 yards on five end-around plays and catching four passes for 76 yards, including a 36-yard pass play from quarterback Mitch Bartram.

Justin Harris rushed for 87 yards on 13 carries, with 74 of those yards coming in the first half, and scored on touchdown runs of 2 and 22 yards.

Bartram came off the bench to pass for 197 yards and three touchdowns, hitting tight end Wyatt Paterson with a 30-yard scoring strike that was sandwiched between the TD passes to Ganan in the second quarter and Nolan in the second overtime. Bartram also tacked on 68 positive yards rushing, including a 31-yard keeper when Moorpark's Justin Manuatu poked the ball out of his grasp and the Raiders' Calhill Porter fell on it.

Daviente Sayles added a 13-yard touchdown run for Palomar and Elrod, subbing for regular kicker Patrick Koch who missed the game due to a death in the family supplied the rest of the Comets' point production.

Elrod made one of three field goal attempts, a 33-yarder in the first quarter, and added six PAT kicks.

Nolan had five pass receptions for 80 yards.

On defense, Diovanni Brewer had a big turnover for the Comets when he intrcepted a pass with 6:10 remaining in the fourth quarter.He also contributed 6 solo tackles and an assist. Jones broke up 3 passes, 2 of them late in the game, and had 4 solo tackles.

Cory Salazar (a sack, 6 solo tackles and 3 assists) and Bryce Alexander (a pass break-up in the second overtime and 5 solo tackles) also had big nights in the secondary.

With Dylan Donahue sidelined by an injury, Ian Kelly, Dominic Darby and Joe Naotala stepped up big on the defensive line. Kelly had a sack, 3 tackles for losses, 6 solo tackles, 3 assists and a quarterback hurry. Darby contributed a 12-yard sack, 5 solo tackles and 3 assists. Naotala had 2 tackles for losses, one of them for 8 yards, and had 4 solo tackles.

At linebacker, Austin Wolff broke up a pass and had 7 solo tackles and an assist.

Palomar will return to Southern Conference action next Saturday night against Orange Coast at home.


ABOVE: Wayne Ganan, a freshman receiver from Del Norte Hgh School, could play a key role for Palomar on Saturday night vs. Moorpark. Here he carries the ball on an end-around play in last week's 41-24 victory over Grossmont. -- Photo by Hugh Cox. BELOW LEFT: Justin Harris, who rushed for 190 yards against the Griffins. BELOW RIGHT: Brett Hollinsworth, who returns as the Comets' starting quarterback coming off an injury

Comets come home for non-conference game

ESCONDIDO (10-10-2014) -- Fresh from its best effort of the season in a Southern Conference victory over Grossmont, the Palomar football squad will host a dangerous Moorpark team on Saturday at Escondido High School's Wilson Stadium.

The Raiders (1-3) will give the Comets a whole bunch of different looks in the 6 p.m. game.

After rushing for just under 300 yards vs. Grossmont behind a 190-yard performance by Justin Harris behind some dominant line blocking, Palomar will be trying to go 4-2 on the season as the Comets prepare for a return to Southern Conference action a week from Saturday against Orange Coast, also at Wilson Stadium.

Brett Hollinsworth will return as the starting quarterback for the first time since week 2 of the season. Coming off the injured list, Hollingsworth came in to finish last week's game against Grossmont.

The Comets, ranked No. 9 in Southern California this week by the Calfornia Community College Football Coaches Association and No. 16 in the state in the CCCFCA / Junior College Athletic Bureau poll, will be without defensive end Dylan Donahue, who will miss the game with an injury.

TOP PHOTO: Daviente Sayles helps set up Palomar's fifth touchdown of the afternoon on this run. DIRECTLY ABOVE: Freshman Bryce Alexander out of Brawley High School intercepts a pass and returns it 34 yards deep into Grossmont territory. He's escorted on the return by Joe Naotala (95), Toeafua Amu (41), Dominic Darby (97) and Drew Madera (52). -- Photos by Hugh Cox. BELOW: Justin Harris, who rushed for 190 yards and a touchdown for the Comets

Harris (190 yards), Comets run over the G-House

EL CAJON (10-04-2014) -- Justin Harris rushed for 190 yards and a touchdown, M.J. Bailey caught two touchdown passes, and Cory Salazar and Bryan Jones returned interceptions for TDs on Saturday afternoon as they led visiting Palomar over Grossmont 41-24 in a Southern Conference football game.

The G-House, two weeks removed from a 38-28 upset victory over then-state No. 1-ranked Riverside City College on the same turf at Mashin-Roth Stadium, fell behind 34-6 three minutes into the fourth quarter. The Griffins needed three late touchdowns, one on the final play of the game, to make the game appear closer than it actually was.

Harris, a sophomore from Chaparral High School in Temecula and a two-year starter for the Comets, accumulated his 190 yards on 28 carries. He had a long run of 44 yards from his own 17 to the Grossmont 39 early in the fourth quarter, helping ignite a 12-play drive that ended in Palomar's fifth touchdown of the day. And Grossmont could never tackle Harris for a loss.

The Comets took a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter on a touchdown by Deviante Sayles, who sailed high into the air as he dove over his own blockers and Grossmont's defense into the end zone from 2 yards out.

Palomar added two second-quarter TDs, on a 13-yard pass from Mitch Bartram to Bailey and Salazar's 52-yard interception return, which put the Comets on top 20-0 at the half.

The Griffins finally got on the board 5 minutes into the second half on a 55-yard Michael Carrillo-to-Thomas McDonald pass play, But Palomar answered late in the period on a 1-yard run by Harris which put the Comets back in front by three touchdowns 27-6.

Bailey's second TD catch, coming at the end of a 5-yard pass from Brett Hollingsworth with 12:12 left in the game, gave the Comets their biggest lead at 34-6. Hollingsworth, making his first appearance since suffering a concussion against Long Beach City College, came into the game in the fourth quarter..

Turnovers and some sloppy plays helped Grossmont score three late touchdowns, making the game appear to be relatively close.

Jones' interception and 29-yard return gave Palomar a 41-18 lead with 5 minutes remaining in the game, before the Griffins scored on a short pass as time expired to round out the scoring.

The Comets had a bunch of big defensive plays besides the two pick-sixes, including two fumble recoveries by Hunter Moore, one of which he caused himself, and sacks by Moore, Dominic Darby and Ian Kelly. Bryan Alexander also had an interception and 34-yard return. Salazar, Joe Naotala and Drew Madera also had tackles for losses.

"We still have to learn to close out people," coach Joe Early said. "But we're happy with the win and we have to move forward to next week and the rest of the season."

The Comets host Moorpark in a non-conference game next Saturday night at Wilson Stadium in Escondido before resuming confernce action one week later with a home game vs. Orange Coast.

Palomar upped its record to 3-2 overall, 1-1 in conference. Grossmont is 2-3 and 0-2.


View, Download Hugh Cox's Photos From This Event

TOP PHOTO: Shawn Cameron returns a kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter Saturday evening to give the Comets a 21-14 lead over Saddleback at Wilson Stadium in Escondido. The return tied Cameron for second on the all-time Palomar list. The Gauchos, however, came back to win the teams' Southern Conference opener 32-21.DIRECTLY ABOVE: Deviante Sayles hurdles the line on a short that gave Palomar a first down early in the second quarter and set up a field goal. -- Photos by Hugh Cox.  BELOW: M.J. Bailey, who had six receptions for 143 yards, including a 71-yard touchdown from quarterback Mitch Bartram.

Palomar can't hold on in conference opener

ESCONDIDO (9-27-2014) -- Saturday night's Southern Conference opener against Saddleback at Wilson Stadium featured plenty of spectacular football by Palomar.

Shawn Cameron, a freshman from Carlsbad High School, returned a kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown with 5:42 left in the first quarter, giving the Comets their third lead in the game's first 9 1/2 minutes and tying Chris Cash for second on the all-time Palomar list.

The Comets led three separate times in a 4-minute, 22-second span in the opening quarter -- on a 4-yard touchdown run by Deviante Sayles that made it 7-0, a 71-yard pass play from Mitch Bartram to M.J. Bailey that made it 14-7 and on Cameron's kickoff return that put them on top 21-14.

Damon Nolan set up Sayles' TD with a 44-yard punt return on the previous play.

But, each time, Saddleback answered back. And when Patrick Koch kicked a 28-yard field goal that broke a 21-21 tie and put Palomar ahead 24-21 early in the second quarter, it would be the last time the Comets would lead in the game.

The Gauchos went on to record their first victory of the season 32-21, and Palomar must now win next Saturday afternoon at Grossmont to keep from falling to 0-2 two weeks into the conference season.

The Comets only scored once more during the course of the evening, on Bartram's 8-yard TD pass to Daniel Warren with eight minutes to play in the game. That pulled Palomar, which had fallen behind by 11 points, back within range at 35-31.

However, after Jadon Henry returned Grant Fleming's kickoff following the touchdown 42 yards out to the Saddleback 45, the Gauchos slit the Comets' throats on the ensuing play when Bautista and Chris Dimry hooked up on a 55-yard TD pass play. Bautista also hit Dimry for a 52-yard touchdown that got Saddleback on the scoreboard for the first time in the opening quarter.

On the night, Bautista connected on 22-of-35 passes for 356 yards and four touchdowns and rushed for an additional 47 net yards, which gave him 403 yards of total offense.

Even after the second Bautista-to-Dimry touchdown, Palomar still had chances to get back into the game. But they shot themselves in the foot on each occasion and saw time tick methodically away as the Comets fell to 2-2 overall.

Palomar made just enough mistakes to prevent them from slamming the door on the Gauchos (1-3). The mistakes ranged from 110 yards on 14 penalties, including one illegal procedure and false-start penalty after another, to dropped passes, misdirected passes, blocking breakdowns and badly-blown pass coverages that left Saddleback receivers ridiculously wide open downfield.

If not for just some of those mistakes, the Comets made more than enough big plays to win the game. Bartran passed for 320 yards. Bailey caught six passes for 143 yards and one touchdown. Wayne Ganan, Nolan and Warren added nine more catches for 161 yards and Bartram's second TD. Bartram, Sayles, Justin Harris and Ganan ran for a combined 103 yards.

Defensively, Palomar had four sacks, 10 tackles for losses and two broken-up passes. Dylan Donahue led the Comets with 10 tackles (5 solo), 6 of them for losses that added up to 34 yards, and 2 sacks for 13 yards. Drew Madera had 9 tackles and a half-sack. Dominic Darby added 2 sacks.

Cameron's achievement on his kickoff return is not to be taken lightly. He missed tying Nakoa McElrath's Palomar record of 100 yards against Fullerton in 1997 by 1 yard. McElrath moved on to become a first-team All-Pac 10 receiver at Washington State and led the Pac 10 in receiving in 1999. He later played for the Seattle Seahawks.

Cash, whose 99-yard return came against Pasadena City College in 1999 and whom Cameron tied with his return on Saturday, moved on to earn All-Pac 10 honors at cornerback for USC and was a three-year starter for the Detroit Lions. Cash finished his NFL career with the Atlanta Falcons and is now the defensive backs coach at Florida A&M.

Bumped from third to fourth place on the all-time Palomar list: current Comet head coach Joe Early, who had a 98-yard TD return against Orange Coast in 1979. Early moved on to Long Beach State, which since has dropped football.


Dylan Donahue (49) chases down San Diego Mesa quarterback Brandon Diaz during the Comets' 33-6 victory last week. Donahue, who leads Palomar in five defensive categories, and the Comets will host Saddleback in a Southern Confernce opener on Saturday evening at Wilson Stadium in Escondido. -- Photo by Hugh Cox

Palomar tries to go 3-1 against Saddleback

ESCONDIDO (9-26-2014) -- Fresh from last week's 33-6 road win over San Diego Mesa, Palomar's football squad will host Saddleback in its Southern Conference football opener on Saturday at 6 p.m. at Wilson Stadium.

The Comets are 2-1 on the season. The Gauchos are 0-3 but are about as dangerous a community college team as they come.

"We're facing a wounded bear," Palomar coach Joe Early said. "They're very talented and very dangerous. We'd better come ready to play."

Mitch Bartram, who threw three touchdown passes against Mesa, will get his second straight start at quarterback for the Comets. Wide receiver M.J. Bailey and slot Damon Nolan have caught 33 passes for 443 yards and four touchdowns between them in three games. Justin Hartris and Deviante Sayles both are threats running the ball.

End Dylan Donahue leads Palomar's defense in tackles (25), solo tackles (16), sacks (5), tackles for losses (9) and quarterback hurries (3).

TOP PHOTO: Palomar's Damon Nolan (9) has been selected as Southern Conference Special Teams/All-Purpose Player of the Week for his 272 all-purpose yards in Saturday's 33-6 victory over San Diego Mesa. DIRECTLY ABOVE: The Comets' Junior Tau (94), shown taking down Mesa's quarterback and running back at the same time on an attempted hand-off, was named Defensive Player of the Week. Tau had 9 tackles (7 solo), a sack and 3 tackles for losses against the Olympians. -- Photos by Hugh Cox

Nolan, Tau take Southern Conference honors

LONG BEACH (9-23-2014) -- The Southern Conference has seleced Palomar's Damon Nolan and Junior Tau for Player of the Week honors for their performance on Saturday in the Comets' 33-6 victory over San Diego Mesa.

Nolan, a 5-foot-7, 155-pound sophomore from Murrieta Valley High School, accumulated 272 all-purpose yards against the Olympians. He ran the ball once for 17 yards, caught 7 passs for 97 yards and the game's first touchdown and returned 7 punts for 158 yards.

Tau, a 5-10, 275-pound sophomore from Temecula Chaparral High School, had 9 tackles (7 solo), a sack and 3 tackles for losses.

Co-Players of the Week on Offense were Golden West quarterback Chris d'Entrement and wid receiver Zimari Manning for their performances in a 36-30 win over Citrus on Saturday night.

TOP PHOTO: Daviante Sayles, a redshirt freshman from Rancho Buena Vista High School by way of Eastern Illinois University, cuts off a block by Khris Alvarez, a freshman from San Marcos High, to score Palomar's third touchdown of the night in the third quarter. DIRECTLY ABOVE: Linebacker Austin Wolff (47) and tackle Joe Naotala (partially hidden, No. 95) haul down Mesa's P.J. Russell in the first quarter. Cornerback Diovanni Brewer (29) arrives to help. -- Photos by Hugh Cox.  BELOW LEFT: Damon Nolan, who had 236 all-purpose yards, not counting a 69-yard punt return that was called back. BELOW RIGHT: MacKenzie Bettle, who blocked a Mesa punt that sailed out of the back of the end zone for a safety

Comets continue domination of Olympians

SAN DIEGO (11-20-2014) -- Palomar's defense made life a living hell for quarterback Brandon Diaz and his San Diego Mesa football teammates on Saturday night. And the Comets' offense and special teams weren't far behind in inflicting pain on the Olympians.

The Comets, who haven't lost to Mesa in 47 years in an on-again, off-again rivalry, rolled to a 33-6 victory at Merrill Douglas Stadium. The Olympians never seriously threatened until they scored on a 53-yard Hail Mary pass on the final play of the game -- getting the ball off on an off-balance fling from backup QB Scort Weismann to Chris White after it was snapped with less than one second remaining.

While Palomar's front seven of Junior Tau, Dylan Donahue, Hunter Moore, Ian Kelly, Toefua Amu and Austin Wolff spent the better part of the evening punishing Diaz and his teammates in and behind the Olympians' backfield, slot receiver Daman Nolan and the offense set the tone for the night immediately following the opening kickoff.

A 17-yard run by Nolan on an end-around play and two Mitch Bartran-to-Nolan pass plays that went for a combined 53 yards put the Comets on top early 7-0 after a one-minute, 55-second opening drive. Bartran and Nolan connected on a 28-yarder for the touchdown and Palomar never let up on the way to its second win in three games.

The Comets also scored on a 43-yard field goal by Patrick Koch, a 4-yard pass from Bartram to Daniel Warren, a 5-yard run by Daviente Sayles, a safety when MacKenzie Bettle blocked a punt that sailed out of the back of the end zone, and a 10-yard pass from Bartram to M.J. Bailey. Koch converted after all four Palomar touchdowns.

Bartran, making his first start at quarterback, connected on 15-of-26 passes for 209 yards and three touchdowns before giving way in the fourth quarter to Austin Early, who was 4-for-5 for 26 yards. With the Comets leading 33-0, Early's fifth attempt was dropped by a tight end who was wide open in the back right corner of the end zone.

Nolan accounted for 272 all-purpose yards (7 catches for 97 yards, the 17-yard run and 7 punt returns for 158 yards). He also had a 69-yard punt return to deep in Mesa territory called back because of a block in the back away from the play.

Justin Harris, Sayles and back-up fullback Ricky Smith combined to run for 163 yards.

Defensively, Tau led the Comets with 9 tackles (7 solo), 1 sack and 3 tackles for losses. Donahue contributed 1 sack for a 10-yard loss and had 3 tackles for losses. Naotala had 1.5 sacks and 2.5 tackles for losses. Wolff had 1 sack for 12 yards and 1.5 tackles for losses. Amu had 1.5 tackles for losses. Moore had a 9-yard sack, and Miranda also had a tackle for loss.

Palomar sacked Diaz and Weismann six times for 45 yards. All in all, the Comets tackled the Olympians 14 times behind the line of scrimmage for 67 yards in losses.

The non-conference victory kept the Comets unbeaten against the Olympians since Oct. 14, 1967, when Mesa won 14-7.

Palomar will return home to Wilson Stadium in Escondido next Saturday to host Saddleback in a Southern Conference opener at 6 p.m.


ABOVE: Speedy Damon Nolan will start at slot receiver and return punts for the Comets at San Diego Mesa on Saturday evening. -- Photo by Hugh Cox. BELOW LEFT: Charlie Long, a Poway High School product and a transfer from Purdue, will be one of Palomar's two co-captains for the game. Long is the Comets' starting center. BELOW RIGHT: Bryan Jones, a sophomore starting corner from Great Oak High School in Temecula who will be Saturday's other co-captain

PC will try to bounce back to first-game form

SAN DIEGO (11-19-2014) -- Palomar will attempt to win for the second time in three 2014 football games on Saturday when the Comets go on the road to play non-conference opponent San Diego Mesa at the Olympians' Merrill Douglas Stadium.

Coach Joe Early is dead sure of one thing. The Comets will be much better off if they play like they did in their opener, a come-from-behind victory over Citrus, as opposed to their performance last week when they sleep-walked through an embarrasing loss to a powerhouse Long Beach City College team.

"We have to play back to the way we played against Citrus," Early said. "They want to win as badly as we do. They're 1-1 just like we are. They're playing us at their place. They play with a lot of energy. We've got to match that energy."

Mesa, a member of the Mountain Conference in the lower-tier, non-playoff eligible American Division, will be getting its only shot of the year against an opponent from the upper-tier National Division. Only teams from the National Division are eligible for the four-team Southern California Community College playoffs and are able to advance to the CCCAA State Championship game.

Bottom line: This is a "statement game" for the Olympians. And it's what is referred to as a "trap game" for the Comets of the powerful Southern Conference, one of three conferences in the Southern California upper-tier National Division.

Palomar will have a new starting quarterback Saturday evening in Mitch Bartram, an Escondido High School product who steps in for Brett Hollingsworth, the starter the first two weeks. Hollingsworth apparently suffered an undetected concussion early in the Long Beach game but played on and off into the fourth quarter before saying anything.

The third quarterback in the mix for Palomar is freshman Austin Early, Joe Early's son, an Orange Glen High alumnus who gray-shirted a year ago. Early has had success throwing the ball the first two games but was sacked seven times by Long Beach.

Hollingsworth, who played at Riverside King and Perris' Citrus Hill High School and was Southern Conference Offensive Player of the Week for his performance against Citrus, will be on the sideline on Saturday but won't suit out.

The big-play performer for the Comets on offense the first two games has been sophomore receiver M.J. Bailey, a San Marcos High product and a nephew of all-time Palomar great Jerry Garrett. Bailey has caught 15 passes for 195 yards and an average of 13.0 yards per reception the first two weeks of the season

End Dillon Donahue, a sophomore from Billings, Montana, and cornerback Bryan Jones from Temecula's Great Oak High School have been the Comets' defensive leaders.

 Donahue, the Southern Conference Defensive Player of the Week after the Citrus game, leads the team in tackles (19), solo tackles (12), sacks (4), tackles for losses (5) and quarterback hurries (3).

Jones, Saturday night's other co-captain, is second in tackles (15) and solo tackles (10), broke up what would have been a touchdown pass in the left corner of the end zone against Long Beach and also has an interception that was called back.

DeAngelo Ivey, the other startering corner and a freshman from Carver High in Atlanta, intercepted a pass six yards deep in the end zone and ran it out 62 yards to the Long Beach 44-yard line in last Saturday's game.

ABOVE: Shawn Cameron returns a kickoff 48 yards from the goal line after Long Beach's last touchdown of the night on Saturday. BELOW: Cornerback Bryan Jones (8) breaks up a pass intended for De'Quan Hampton in the end zone to prevent a touchdown by the Vikings. -- Photos by Hugh Cox

Palomar runs into a buzzsaw in its first loss

LONG BEACH (9-13-2014) -- The word on the street was that Long Beach City College may be as athletic and talented as any team in the Southern California Football Association this season.

Against the Vikings on Saturday evening at Veterans Memorial Stadium, the Comets smacked head-first into the realization that the word on the street may have been right on the money.

After Palomar drove down after the opening kickoff to take a 3-0 lead on the first of two Patrick Koch field goals from 33 yards out just 1 minute, 22 seconds into the game, Long Beach answered right back by scoring 21 unanswered points in the next eight minutes and continued on to a 45-13 non-conference victory over th Comets.

 "They played at a faster speed than we did," Palomar coach Joe Early said.

To make matters worse, the Comets (1-1) did little positive to help themselves the remainder of the first half and found themselves staring at a 35-6 halftime deficit.

That was the bad news. The good news was that they put up a much better battle over the last two quarters, when they came to life and played the Vikings (2-0) to a 7-7 standoff.

The biggest differences in the game were a huge performance by Long Beach quarterback Kenny Potter, who passed for 219 yards and three touchdowns and ran for an additional 143 yards, and the Vikings' monster pass rush that produced nine sacks.

Austin Early, the second of three quarterbacks the Comets used, completed 6-of-9 passes for 109 yards, including a 50-yard play to M.J. Bailey (6 catches, 108 yards) just before the half. But Long Beach sacked him seven times.

Some other bright spots for Palomar were Shawn Cameron's 121 yards on five kickoff returns, including a 48 yarder from the goal line, a 62-yard interception return by DeAngelo Ivey from six yards deep in the end zone, and an interception by Javante O'Roy.

Also Dylan Donahue's 2 tackles (2 for losses) and 2 quarterback hurries, Bryan Jones' 10 tackles and 3 pass-breakups (one in the end zone) and Dominic Darby's 7 tackles and 12-yard sack.

"We did some good things," Joe Early admitted. Just not enough of them.

The Comets also scored on on Koch's 32-yard field goal and quarterback Mitch Bartram's 4-yard touchdown run with 14:25 left in the game. Koch converted after the Bartram TD.


View, download Hugh Cox's photos

ABOVE: Palomar's Dylan Donahue (49), last week's Southern Conference Defensive Player of the Week, greets Citrus' Demetre Smith for a 3-yard loss in last week's season-opening 35-28 victory over the Owls. Donahue and the Comets will match 1-0 records at Long Beach City College on Saturday evening. -- Photo by Hugh Cox. BELOW: Receiver M.J. Bailey, a sophomore from San Marcos High School who caught nine passes against the Owls for 87 yards, including a 24-yard touchdown pass from Austin Early.

It's Comets vs. Vikings Saturday at 'The Vet'

LONG BEACH (9-12-2014) -- Palomar's resurgent football team will attempt to go 2-0 for 2014 on Saturday when the Comets travel to Long Beach City College's Veterans Memorial Stadium for a 6 p.m. non-conference match-up with the Vikings.

The Comets turned back Citrus 35-28 in their season opener last week. Long Beach, leading by a touchdown, blew a close game open in their opener with Moorpark in the fourth quarter as the Vikings won 44-27.

"They're very athletic," Palomar coach Joe Early said. "We'll have to be at our best."

The Comets had both the Southern Conference Offensive Player of the Week and Defensive Player of the Week in week one of the season in quarterback Brett Hollingsworth and end Dylan Donahue. Hollingsworth, who began the game by completing nine of his first attempts, and second-team quarterback Austin Early, who hit on seven of eight passes, combined to throw for 219 yards and three TDs.

Long Beach, meanwhile, had a clean sweep of the Central Conference's Player of the Week awards. Quarterback Brock Dale, who hit on his first 12 attempts and was 19-for-30 passing vs. Moorpark for 277 yards and three touchdowns, was the Offensive Player of the Week. Down lineman Jason Fao, who had nine tackles including four for losses and 2.5 sacks, was selected on defense. The Special Teams Player of the Week was Anterio Bateman, who contributed 201 all-purpose yards including a 57-yard punt return for a TD.

Hollingsworth, Donahue conf. Players of Week

LONG BEACH (9-08-2014) -- The Southern Conference has selected Palomar quarterback Brett Hollinsworth (left) and defensive end Dylan Donahue (right) as Players of the Week for the opening weekend of the season.

Hollingsworth, a freshman from Citrus Hill High School in Perris, hit on 18-of-30 pass attempts for 176 yards and two touchdowns, including a 26-yard strike to Wayne Ganan with 2:38 to play which gave the Comets a 35-28 non-confernce victory over visiting Citrus.

Donahue, a 6-foot-3, 235-pound sophomore from Billings West High School in Billings, Montana, did not start the game because he was coming off an injury, but made up for lost time when he got on the field as he sacked Owls quarterback Larry Cutbirth four times for 47 yards. Donahue had seven solo tackles and also contributed a quarterback hurry.

TOP PHOTO: M.J. Bailey dives into the end zone at the end of a 10-yard touchdown pass play from Austin Early to break a 6-6 tie against Citrus with 1:02 left before halftime on Saturday night. The Comets won their season opener 35-28. PHOTO SIRIES DIRECTLY ABOVE: This is the first of two controversial 15-yard roughing-the-kicker penalties called on Palomar that prolonged Citrus drives. -- Photos by Hugh Cox. BELOW LEFT: Hunter Moore, a freshman defensive lineman from Mission Hills High School who returned a fumble 13 yards for a touchdown. BELOW RIGHT: Punter Codey Wuthrich, who played a major role in the victory. He averaged 41.0 yards for eight punts, and his last five went for 43, 44, 50, 49 and 53 yards.

Comets score with 2:38 left to win 2014 opener

ESCONDIDO (9-06-2014 / REVISED 9-09-2014) -- Palomar, trailing by a point as the clock wound down in the fourth quarter Saturday night, scored on a 26-yard pass play from Brett Hollingsworth to Wayne Ganan with 2 minutes, 38 seconds to play to beat visiting Citrus 35-28 in its season opener.

Hollingsworth's second TD pass of the night put the Comets in front of the Owls 33-28, and he then hit Daniel Warren for a two-point conversion that put Palomar in front by the final seven-point margin.

"We overcame some adversity in this one, and that was satisfying, and it feels good to win," coach Joe Early said. "But we haven't done anything but win one game. We're not satisfied with that."

While Palomar suffered its worst season in 31 years a year ago with an extremely uncharacteristic collapse, Citrus is coming off a year which saw the Owls go 8-3, sustaining two of their three losses by one point to powers Mt. SAC 37-36 and Riverside City College 51-50. They turned back Saddleback in the Beach Bowl to cap a near-storybook run.

But someone forgot to tell the Comets to be overly impressed. Hollingsworth, making his debut as the starting quarterback, connected on nine of his first 10 pass attempts and teamed with Austin Early, who replaced him for part of the second quarter, to throw for a combined 219 yards and three touchdowns.

The Owls, who got 327 yards passing from quarterback Larry Cutbirth, and Comets battled back and forth as the lead constantly changed hands. Hollingsworth threw a 9-yard scoring pass to Damon Nolan to put Palomar in front early 6-0, but a missed two-point conversion set the stage for Citrus to take 14-13, 21-20 and 28-27 leads.

The Comets also scored on a 10-yard pass play from Early to M.J. Bailey, a 13-yard fumble return for a touchdown by Hunter Moore and a 2-yard TD run by Justin Harris. Patrick Koch kicked three PATs.

Early was 7-for-8 passing. Bailey had nine pass recreptions for 87 yards.

Palomar got a huge effort from touted defensive end Dylan Donahue, who didn't start for the Comets after just receiving a medical clearance from a minor injury on Friday but made up for lost time once he entered the game by sacking Cutbirth four times for 43 yards in losses.

Sophomore punter Codey Wuthrich played a major role in the Palomar win. He averaged 41.0 yards for eight punts, and his last five punts went for 43, 44, 50, 49 and 53 yards.

The Comets will try to go to 2-0 when they visit Long Beach City College in another non-conference game next Saturday night at Veterans Memorial Stadium on the LBCC campus.


View, Download Hugh Cox's Photos

Coach Joe Early talks to his Palomar football team at the end of Friday's walk-through before Saturday's night's season opener against a high-powered Citrus team. The Owls were 8-3 last season, with two of their losses coming by one point (33-32 to Mt. SAC and 51-50 to Riverside City College). Citrus defeated Saddleback in the Beach Bowl. -- Photo by Hugh Cox

'New-look' Comets will kick off 2014 vs. Owls

ESCONDIDO (9-05-2014) -- Palomar will attempt to put its forgettable last two seasons in the rear-view mirror on Saturday when the Comets kick off the 2014 season against Citrus College at Escondido High School's Wilson Stadium. Kickoff will be at 6 p.m.

The Comets will unveil a new look that will include both a highly-regarded freshman quarterback (Brett Hollingsworth), four new assistant coaches including former Washington State, Washington, Stanford and Notre Dame offensive coordinator Bill Dietrick, a re-tooled offensive line and a re-tooled defense.

As a high school senior at Citrus Hill in Perris last season, Hollingsworth passed for 3,340 yards and 32 touchdowns, and rushed for 443 yards and 10 TDs, as the CIF Southern Section Inland Division Offensive Player of the Year. He led the Hawks to a 13-1 record and a section championship.

Hollingsworth's starting receivers corps will be split end M.J. Bailey (San Marcos High School), slot Damon Nolan (Murrieta Valley) and flanker Wayne Ganan (Del Norte). Daniel Warren (Carver High in Atlanta) goes in when the Comets use a four-receiver package.

The Comets have two breakaway threats in the backfield in returning starter Justin Harris (Temecula Chaparral) and transfer Daviante Sayles (Rancho Buena Vista, Eastern Illinois University). They'll run behind a line of tackles Alex Dunn (6-7, 295, Vista Murrieta) and Mike Stevens (6-8, 320, Valhalla), guards Eddie Grajeda (6-1, 315, Escondido) and Khris Alvarez (6-4, 310, San Marcos) and transfer center Charlie Long (6-2, 282, Poway, Purdue University).

Defensively, end Dylan Donahue (6-3, 245, Billings West High in Montana), who is one of the most highly-sought community college defensive linemen in the country, was cleared to play Friday after a minor injury in last Saturday's intrasquad scrimmage. Miami and Oregon are among an impressive list of D-I powers recruiting Donahue.

Javante O'Roy (Antelope High, Sacramento City College), who broke a Palomar record with a 101-yard interception return against El Camino last season, returns to stabalize the secondary, Local defensive starters include linebackers Drew Madera (Temecula Chaparral), Toefua Amu (El Camino High) and Austin Wolff (Fallbrook), linemen Dominic Darby (Mission Hills), Hunter Moore (Mission Hills), Junior Tau (Temecula Chaparral) and Ian Kelly (Temecula Chaparral), and DB's Diovanni Brewer (Oceanside) and Bryan Jones (Temecula Great Oak).

Saturday's opponent, Citrus, went 8-3 last season with two of those losses coming by one point (33-32 to Mt. SAC and 51-50 to Riverside City College. The Owls defeated Saddleback 25-14 in the Beach Bowl.

"We know they're a good football team," Palomar coach Joe Early said. "We need to come out of the gate quickly, and we need to execute assignments on a consistant basis. Basically what I think that translates to is we need to win every rep."

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)

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 Sylvester 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.

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

2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012  | 2013


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