National Champions 1991, 1993,
CALIFORNIA STATE CHAMPIONS 1991,
CONFERENCE/DIVISION CHAMPIONS 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993,
1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2006
APPEARANCES 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1997, 1998,
1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009,
2014 Schedule, Results | 2014
Stats | 2014
Roster | 2014 Coaches
Records, Leaders (Entering 2015 Season) | Palomar Football History
in NFL, 4-year College Football
Download Hugh Cox's Photos
Jones to D-II national champ Colo.
Colorado (4-08-2015) -- All-Southern
Conference corner Bryan Jones has accepted an
offer from Colorado State-Pueblo, the 2014 NCAA
Division II national champion. He'll report in
The Thunder-Wolves went 14-1 in 2014 and
defeated Minnesota State-Mankato 13-0 in the
Division II national championship game at Kansas
Jones, a 6-foot-0, 180-pound sophomore from
Temecula's Great Oak High School, recorded 41
tackles for the Comets last season and had an
interception he returned 29 yards for a
touchdown, 15 pass break-ups and 0.5 tackles for
loss. He missed one game due to an injury.
End Dylan Donahue, the Southern California
Defensive Player of the Year, accepted a
scholarship to the University of West Georgia
(NCAA Division II, 12-3 record in 2014, national
semifinalist. Donahue's high school: Billings
West (Billings, MT)
Cornerback Javante O'Roy committed to Texas
State (NCAA Division I FBS, 7-5 record in 2014).
O'Roy's High School: Antelope (Antelope, CA)
Defensive tackle Joe Naoala committed to Montana
State (NCAA Division I FCS, 8-5 record in 2014).
Naotala's High School: Army-Navy Academy
Linebacker Austin Wolff committed to Portland
State (NCAA Division I FCS). Wolff's High
Receiver M.J. Bailey committed to Idaho State
(NCAA Division II FCS, 8-4 record in 2014).
Bailey's High School: San Marcos
Deep Snapper Jared Sargent from the 2013 team
committed to Azusa Pacific (NCAA Division II,
10-1 record in 2014). High School: Temecula
Slot Receiver / Punt Returner Damon Nolan
committed to Baker University (NAIA, 8-3 record
in 2014). High School: Murrieta Valley
PICTURED ABOVE: Bryan Jones
breaks up a pass in the endzone vs. Long Beach
City College -- Photo by Hugh Cox
Seahawks hire ex-Comet, USC, Lions star Cash
Pete Carroll has hired former Palomar, USC and
Detroit Lions star Chris Cash as the Seattle
Seahawks' new cornerbacks coach.
Cash, who most recently was safeties coach at
Florida A&M (pictured at left), was recruited to USC
by Carroll out of Palomar and was a second-team
All-Pac-10 selection at corner for the Trojans in
his senior season of 2001. This was despite missing
the last three games of the season with an injury.
Drafted by the Detroit Lions in the sixth round, he
immediately won a starting job in his rookie season
of 2002, when he was among the National Football
League leaders with 100 tackles. He played in the
NFL with the Lions and then the Atlanta Falcons from
2002 through 2006.
Coming to Palomar from Franklin High School in
Stockton, he starred at cornerback for the Comets'
1998 national community college championship team as
a freshman and for the 1999 team when he was a
first-team All-Mission Conference selection and a
J.C. Grid-Wire honorable mention All-American.
Cash's 99-yard kickoff return in Palomar's game with
Pasadena City College in 1999 is the second-longest
in the Comets' history. The 99 yards only trails Palomar record-holder and future Washington State
and Seahawks receiver Nakoa McElrath's 100-yard
return against Fullerton in 1997 and is just ahead
of current Comet
head coach Joe Early's 98-yard return vs. Orange
Coast in 1979. Early's return is third on the all-time
Prior to taking the assistant coaching job at
Florida A&M prior to the 2014 season, Cash was
defensive coordinator at his old high school and
spent one season as a defensive backfield coach
under his old Palomar coach, Tom Craft, at Riverside
Southern Conference Defensive
Player of the Year Dylan Donahue records a sack against
Fullerton College. -- Photo by Hugh Cox
Donahue to NCAA-DII
semifinalist W. Georgia
CARROLLTON, Georgia (2-24-2015) --
Palomar end Dylan Donahue, the Southern Conference
Defensive Player of the Year last fall, has accepted a
football scholarship to the University of West Georgia.
The Wolves (12-3) reached the semifinals of the 2014
NCAA Division II national playoffs where they lost 10-7 to
eventual champion Colorado State-Pueblo, a 13-0 winner over
Minnesota State University-Mankato in the national championship
game at Kansas City, Kansas.
Donahue, a 6-foot-3, 245-pound
sophomore from Billings West High School in Billings, Montana,
committed after returning from his recruiting trip to West
Georgia on Sunday. His most recent visit prior to West Georgia
was to Colorado State.
Despite missing one game and parts of
three others because of an injury, Donahue led the 7-4 Comets
with 64 tackles last fall and had 10.5 sacks for 104 yards, 22 tackles for
loss for 144 yards, 1 broken-up pass, 6 quarterback hurries, 1
forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery and 1 blocked kick.
Longtime Palomar coach Lusky dies at
MARCOS (1-07-2015) --
Onetime Palomar athletic director
Bob Lusky, an assistant football coach for the Comets from 1970
through 1989 and head men's golf coach from 1975-2002, died
Friday, Jan. 2 at his home in Escondido after a long battle with heart
problems. He was 77.
Lusky coached the Comets' offensive
line for seven seasons under head coach Mack Wiebe, for six
seasons under Mario Mendez and for six seasons under Tom Craft.
He finished his football coaching career in 1989 as a special
teams coach for Craft.
His Palomar golf teams won 10
conference championships, had 10 second-place conference
finishes and captured two Southern California team titles. Lusky
coached the Comets to three top-three team finishes in the
Lusky developed two state community
college individual champions, Mark Wiebe in 1977 and Scott
Oxandaboure in 2001. Wiebe also won the California State Amatuer
title in 1977, went on to become a first-team All-American at
San Jose State in 1979 and spent 22 years playing on the PGA
Tour. He currently plays on the Champions Tour.
Oxandaboure went on to play for USC,
placing fourth in the 2004 Pac-10 Championships and helped the
Trojans to the team title by 15-strokes over runner-up Stanford.
Both Wiebe and Oxandaboure have been inducted into the Palomar
Athletic Hall of Fame.
Lusky, born on June 24, 1937 in
Cleveland, Ohio, was the only child of Frank and Dorothy Lusky.
The family moved to Chula Vista when he was 11. He was a bat boy
for the Pacific Coast League Padres and was an All-Metro League
football and baseball player at Chula Vista High School.
Lusky pitched for San Diego State's
baseball teams that won conference championships in the
California Collegiate Athletic Association in 1957, 1958 and
1959. He led the '58 team in strikeouts as the Aztecs captured
the NAIA World Series title with a victory over Southwest
Oklahoma at Alpine, Texas. It remains the only SDSU team to win
a national championship in baseball. The team was inducted into
the Aztec Hall of Fame in 2011.
Lusky earned his Bachelors and Masters
degrees from San Diego State and, after one season as the
Aztecs' head freshman baseball coach in 1961, Lusky began his
teaching and coaching career at Antelope Valley High School,
coached football and baseball at Mar Vista High School and
coached football and swimming at Hilltop High.
He accepted a teaching position at
Palomar in 1974 in the Department of Health and Physical
Education (now the Kinesiology Department). Lusky was Palomar's
Athletic Director before retiring in 1998. He stayed on as men's
golf coach through 2002.
Lusky is survived by his wife Betty,
his high school sweetheart; and by sons and spouses Brad
(Darla), a former Palomar basketball player, and Bryan (Ceci)
and by grandchildren Jillian, Allison, Blake, Hunter, Brock and
2014 Season ...
Comets named to All-State Region III
Three Palomar players have been selected to the
Region III All-California community college team
by the California Community College Football
Selected to the first team were
defensive end Dylan Donahue, the Southern Conference Defensive
Player of the Year, outside linebacker Austin Wolff and
cornerback Bryan Jones.
Golden West quarterback Chris Entremont
and Riverside City College linebacker A.J. Hotchkins were named
Offensive Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year,
respectively. Bob Jastrab of state champion Mt. SAC was honored
as Coach of the Year.
Palomar was ranked No. 24 in the state
and No. 11 in Southern California.
Dylan Donahue, shown recording one of
his 2014 team-high 10.5 sacks during the Comets' 33-6 victory
over San Diego Mesa on Sept. 20, was voted Most Valuable Player
honors by his teammates. -- Photo by Hugh Cox. DIRECTLY
ABOVE (Left to Right): Justin Harris, Bryan Jones, Sean
Cameron, Charlie Long, Drew Madera, Austin Wolff, Alex Dunn,
Khris Alvarez, Malohi Makihele, J.J. Taele -- Photos Melinda
Comets vote Donahue Most Valuable Honor
SAN MARCOS (12-10-2014) --
Defensive end Dylan
received the Most Valuable Player award for
Palomar's 2014 football team after balloting
among the players.
Donahue, a sophomore from Billings, Montana, is
being recruited, among others, by Pitt and
Honored on Wednesday at Palomar's football awards lunch
at Home Town Buffet in San Marcos were:
Most Valuable Player
Dylan Donahue, DE, So.,
Billings West High School, Billings, Montana
Justin Harris, RB, So., Chaparral
High School, Temecula, CA
Bryan Jones, CB, So., Great Oak High School, Temecula,
Sean Cameron, KR, Fr., Carlsbad
High School, Carlsbad
Charlie Long, C, Fr., Poway High School, Poway / Purdue
Drew Madera, LB, So., Chaparral High School, Temecula,
Austin Wolff (3.8), LB, So., Fallbrook High School,
LB, So., Chaparral High School, Temecula, CA
Dunn, OT, So., Vista Murrieta High School, Temecula, CA
|Linemen of the Year
Khris Alvarez, OT, Fr., San Marcos High School, San
Dylan Donahue, DE, So., Billings West High
School, Billings, Montana
|Most Sacks Award
Dylan Donahue, DE, So., Billings West High School,
|Hammer Award (Special
Malohi Makihele, LB, So., Mission
Hills High School, San Marcos, CA
Iron Man Award (Special Teams)
LB, Fr., El Camino High School, Oceanside, CA
Jimmy Moreno, FB, So., Poway High School, Poway, CA
Ian Kelly, DE, So., Chaparral High School, Temecula, CA
Austin Wolff, LB, So., Fallbrook High School, Fallbrook,
Dylan Donahue (Defensive Player
of the Year), DE, So., Billings West HS, Billings,
Austin Wolfe, LB, So., Fallbrook High School,
Bryan Jones, CB, So., Great Oak High
School, Temecula, CA
Damon Nolan, Slot/Punt Returner,
So., Murrieta Valley High School, Murrieta, CA
Alvarez, OT, Fr., San Marcos High School, San Marcos, CA
M.J. Bailey, WR, So., San Marcos High Schoolo, San
Justin Harris, RB, So., Chaparral High
School, Temecula, CA
Joe Naotala, DT, So., Army-Navy Academy, Carlsbad, CA
Drew Madera, LB, So., Chaparral High School, Temecula,
Bryce Alexander, CB, Fr., Brawley High School,
Southern Conference Defensive
Player of the Year Dylan Donahue records a sack against
Fullerton College. -- Photo by Hugh Cox
Donahue wins Defensive Player
of Year award
LONG BEACH (12-02-2014) --
Palomar end Dylan Donahue has been selected as Southern
Conference Defensive Player of the Year by conference
Donahue, a 6-foot-3, 245-pound
sophomore from Billings West High School in Billings, Montana.
Despite missing one game and parts of
three others because of an injury, Donahue led the 7-4 Comets
with 64 tackles and had 10.5 sacks for 104 yards, 22 tackles for
loss for 144 yards, 1 broken-up pass, 6 quarterback hurries, 1
forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery and 1 blocked kick.
GUARD -- Khris Alvarez (6-4, 305), Freshman,
San Marcos HS)
M.J. Bailey (6-1, 200), Sophomore, San Marcos HS
|RUNNING BACK --
Justin Harris (5-10, 180), Sophomore, Temecula
|END -- Dylan
Donahue (6-3, 245) Sophomore, Billings West (Montana) HS
-- Player of Year
Austin Wolff (6-1, 230), Sophomore, Fallbrook High
Bryan Jones (6-0, 180), Sophomore, Great Oak High School
Damon Nolan (5-7, 155), Sophomore, Murrieta Valley High
|TACKLE -- Joe
Naotala (6-2, 265), Sophomore, Army-Navy Academy
|INSIDE LINEBACKER --
Drew Madera (6-1, 215), Sophomore, Temecula Chaparral HS
Bryce Alexander (6-1, 175), Freshman, Brawley High
Joe Naotala (95) set the tone for Palomar's Patriotic Bowl victory
on Saturday by blocking Oscar Reynoso's PAT attempt after
Glendale scored the game's first touchdown. Bryan Jones (8)
latched onto the ball and took the it all the way to the end
zone to score the Comets' first two points. DIRECTLY
ABOVE: Damon Nolan returns punt 55
yards for a touchdown that put Palomar in front for good 9-6. --
Photos by Hugh Cox.
The Comets celebrate their bowl victory. --
Photo by Phillip Farry. BELOW RIGHT: Punter Codey Wuthrich,
named Palomar's Player of the Game.
Comets win Patriotic Bowl
to finish 7-4 year
ESCONDIDO (11-22-2014) --
Palomar overcame 105 yards in penalties and a series
of mistakes to win the Patriotic Bowl on Saturday at
Wilson Stadium, pinning a 30-22 loss on a Glendale
team that came into the game with a 9-1 record.
The win allowed the Comets to finish
the season 7-4, a big turnabout from last year's 2-8 finish,
Palomar's worst record in 32 years.
Palomar quarterback Mitch Bartram
passed for 222 yards and one touchdown, including five
completions to M.J. Bailey for 115 yards, and was named the
game's Most Valuable Player.
Codey Wuthrich averaged 42.4 yards on
eight punts against a big rush with a long of 54 yards and three
punts inside the 20-yard line. He was named the Palomar Player
of the game. In a remarkably consistent performance, Wuthrich
both got the Comets out of bad field position or put the Gauchos
in bad field position. His 22 punts inside the 20 on the season
broke the Palomar record of 20 set by Rocco Hemphill in 2011.
Wuthrich also obliterated the Palomar career record with 41
punts inside the 20 over a two-year period.
Glendale took the game's opening
kickoff and took the ball 55 yards on five plays to go in front
6-0. But Joe Naotala blocked the PAT try and Bryan Jones scooped
up the ball and took it all the way to the Vaqueros' end zone
for two points -- and the Comets only trailed 6-2.
That was the only time Palomar would
trail all afternoon. With 3:52 left in the opening quarter,
Damon Nolan returned a Glendale punt 55 yards for a touchdown
which, along with Patrick Koch's first of four extra points, put
the Comets on top 9-6.
Bartram's 53-yard pass play to Wayne
Ganan early in the second quarter extended Palomar's lead to
16-6. The Vaqueros got back on the board on a 50-yard Sean
Murphy-to-Danavian Caly fourth-down pass play with just 22
seconds left in the quarter to cut the Comets' lead to 16-13 at
Matt Taylor's 40-yard punt return set
up another Palomar touchdown, with running back Justin Harris
pulling up and throwing a 2-yard pass into the end zone to tight
end Tiree Burton on fourth down to put Palomar back up by 10
points at 23-13 with 6:36 left in the third quarter.
After a Glendale field goal made it
23-16, the Comets drove 63 yards in seven plays to go in front
29-16 with 6:03 left in the game when running back Deviante
Sayles tried to go over the top for a 1-yard touchdown, was
pushed back but still muscled his way into the end zone. Koch's
PAT made it 30-16.
Glendale's Player of the Game Marquise
McGuire (115 yards rushing on 28 carries) scored on a 3-yard run
with 4:16 to play. Dylan Donahue broke through to block the PAT
and the Vaqueros still trailed by eight points 30-22.
That meant the visitors needed a TD and
two-point conversion to tie the game and send it to overtime.
But Wuthrich and his long snapper, Austin Paredes helped assure
the Vaqueros wouldn't have an opportunity. Wuthrich delivered a
43-yard punt to the Glendale 27 and Paredes' athletic tackle
dumped Kev'n Farmer for a 7-yard loss back to the 20 when Farmer
gave ground trying to take the return to the outside.
The Vaqueros could only advance the
ball out to the 29 on three plays, and Junior Tau stopped
McGuire for no gain on fourth-and-one with 1:04 remaining in the
game. The Comets then ran out the clock and the final score for
Palomar's 15th all-time post-season win was in the books.
Nolan also had a 21-yard reception and
returned a total of three more punts for 33 more yards. He also
had a 44-yard return, which would have given him five for 132
yards, called back because of a holding penalty.
Some of the other big peformances for
the Comets came from DeAngelo Ivey (10 tackles, 9 solo including
a tackle for loss), Naoala (fumble recovery, 8 tackles 0.5 sacks
and 2.5 tackles for loss, to go along with his PAT block),
Javante O'Roy (forced fumble, fumble recovery and 8 tackles),
Toefua Amu (8 tackles), Austin Wolff (6 tackles, 0.5 tackle for
loss and a forced fumble) and Ian Kelly (open-field tackle on a
Then there was the performance of Tony
Black, a little-used sophomore back-up center from Vista
Murrieta High School who received an opportunity to play
extensively in place of starter Charlie Long who exited with a
shoulder injury. Black made the most of his opportunity and
responded with a career game to remember.
"Tony saw a lot more action than he'd
seen the whole time the last two years, and he made the most of
it, which was big for us," coach Joe Early said.
"Overall, we made a lot of mistakes,
but we responded and overcame them."
Palomar will host Glendale College in the Patriotic Bowl
on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Escondido High School's Wilson Stadium.
Here, center Charlie Long is about to snap the ball in last
week's 47-20 victory over Santa Ana College. -- Photo by Hugh
Kickoff for Patriotic Bowl is Saturday at
SAN MARCOS (11-19-2014) --
Palomar (6-4) will host Glendale College (9-1) on
Saturday at 2 p.m. at Escondido's Wilson Stadium in the
The Comets will be making their 23rd
post-season appearance. They're 14-8 all-time in the
It will be the first time Palomar has
played in the post-season since 2011, when the Comets played
Cerritos in the SCFA Bowl, which doubled as a first-round
state playoff game. That Palomar team wound up being ranked No.
18 in the nation by the J.C. Grid-Wire of Kirkland,
UT SAN DIEGO FEATURE
ARTICLE ON BILL DIETRICK, CURRENT PALOMAR QUARTERBACKS
COACH AND THE FORMER OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR AT NOTRE DAME, STANFORD,
WASHINGTON AND WASHINGTON STATE WHO HAS DEVELOPED 12
GAME DAY: Patriotic Bowl: Glendale (9-1) at Palomar (6-4),
Chick Embrey Field at Wilson Stadium,
Escondido High School, 2 p.m. Saturday
Ht Wt Yr
||RB 5-10 190
||RB 5-10 180
||Rancho Buena Vista
/ E. Illinois University
||SE 6-1 200 So
||SL 5-7 155 So
||FL 5-10 175
6-2 282 Fr
||Poway / Purdue
||LG 6-1 315
||LT 6-7 295 So
||RG 6-4 310
||DT 6-1 267
||DE 6-3 240 So
||LB 6-1 210 So
(Antelope, CA) / Sacramento CC
Palomar Special Teams
||PK 5-10 165
||La Costa Canyon
||RET 5-8 190
||KR 5-10 190
Bryce Alexander, shown on a return
after one of his Palomar record four interceptions vs. Santa Ana
last Saturday, is the Southern Conference Defensive Player of
the Week. -- Photo by Hugh Cox
Alexander is Southern Conf.
Player of the Week
LONG BEACH (11-09-2014) --
Bryce Alexander, who broke the Palomar single-game
record with four interceptions in last Saturday's 47-20
victory over Santa Ana, has been selected as Southern
Conference Defensive Player of the Week.
Alexander, who returned the
interceptions a total of 72 yards, is a freshman out of Brawley
He broke the PC record of three held by
two players who both went on to play for in the Big 12 for Iowa
Josh Hargis set the
record against Long Beach City College in 2003 and Anthony Young
tied Hargis' mark vs. Saddleback in 2009.
Devionte Sayles hurdles a
Santa Ana defender during a 20-yard run on Saturday
night. He rushed for 128 yards in Palomar's 47-20
victory. DIRECTLY ABOVE:
Bryan Jones breaks up a
Santa pass at the Comets' 3, knocking the ball away from
No. 1, Dunne Hayden.-- Photos by Hugh Cox. BELOW:
Brice Alexander, who intercepted four passes to break
the Palomar single-game record.
Sayles (128 yds), Alexander (4
picks) lead way
(4-15-2014) -- Devionte Sayles
rushed for 128 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries and Bryce
Alexander broke Palomar's single-game interception record with
four picks on Saturday night as the Comets closed out the
regular season with a dominating Southern Conference win.
Palomar defeated Santa Ana 47-20 at
Wilson Stadium to finish the season with a bowl-qualifying 6-4
record. Bowl invitations will be issued on Sunday, when the
Comets will find out if they're playing an additional game next
week or packing up their gear.
Sayles, a freshman from Rancho Buena
Vista High School by way of Eastern Illinois University where he
red-shirted last season, scored on runs of 33 yards in the
second quarter and 5 yards in the fourth quarter. His
performance led the way as the Comets piled up 291 yards on the
ground, also including 66 yards and one touchdown by Justin
Harris and 61 yards, including a 50-yard TD, by Shawn Cameron.
The four interceptions by Alexander, a
true freshman out of Brawley High School, broke the Palomar
record of three in a game held jointly by Josh Hargis against
Long Beach City College in 2003 and Anthony Young vs. Saddleback
in 2009. Hargis and Young both went on to play in the Big 12 for
Alexander had 72 yards in returns for
Palomar's 291 yards and four rushing
touchdowns came despite losing three starting linemen during the
game with injuries.
Matt Taylor blocked a Santa Ana punt to
set up the game's first touchdown, a 5-yard pass from Mitch
Bartram to Damon Nolan midway through the first quarter. Patrick
Koch kicked his first of five PATs to put the Comets in front
The Dons tied the game later in the
quarter on the first of three Shane Truelove touchdown passes.
But Nolan's 38-yard punt return set up Harris' 4-yard TD run
that put Palomar ahead for good 14-7, igniting a 21-point second
After Cameron's 50-yard run made it
21-7, Santa Ana answered with Truelove's second touchdown pass
which, brought the Dons back to within eight points at 21-13.
Sayles' first touchdown, from 33 yards
out, with 4:54 left in the second quarter made it Palomar 28,
Santa Ana 13 at the half.
Truelove's third TD early in the third
quarter allowed the Dons to creep back to eight points again,
But the Comets shut out the visitors
over the game's final 24 minutes and 55 seconds.
During that span Palomar scored on two
Koch field goals from 24 and 43 yards out, a 5-yard
Bartram-to-Wayne Ganan TD pass that was set up by Dylan
Donahue's fumble recovery at the 5, and Sayles' second TD run
from 5 yards out with 7:21 left in the game that was set up by
Alexander's third interception.
Alexander's fourth interception just
inside the end zone with 3:16 to play short-circuited the Dons'
final drive of the night. They'd taken the ball from their own
27-yard line to the Palomar 7 in 10 plays and a disputed pass
interference call on the play before the pick.
Shalimar Lawson-Hinds led Palomar in
tackles with 11, 9 of them solo. He had three tackles for loss
for 19 yards. Alexander had 7 tackles and a broken up pass.
Hunter Moore Drew Madera and Dominic Darby each had 6 tackles
including a tackle for loss. Bryan Jones and Diovanni Brewer
each broke up three passes.
Codey Wuthrich deposited two punts
inside the 20-yard line, another that barely bounced into the
end zone for a touchback and a 47-yarder that was downed at the
24-yard line with four seconds left in the game.
The Comets end with a 3-3 Southern
Conference record, with the Dons finishing their season at 3-7
and 0-6 in conference.
Dylan Donahue unloads on Fullerton quarterback Joey
Verhaegh as he sacks him for a 13-yard loss on Saturday
afternoon. DIRECTLY ABOVE: Palomar's Diovanni
Brewer knocks Fullerton's Tim Holt out of bounds at the 2-yard
line at the end of a 27-yard pass play as Austin Wolff (47)
comes in to try to help. Brewers' effort prevented a Hornets
touchdown. -- Photo by Hugh Cox
Defending SoCal champions buzz
YORBA LINDA (11-08-2014) --
Playing with a lineup decimated by injuries, Palomar
didn't have close to the firepower to knock off 2014
Southern Conference champion and last year's Southern
California champ Fullerton on Saturday.
The Hornets stung the Comets 38-17 at
Nathan Shapell Memorial Stadium at Yorba Linda High School.
Fullerton, which has a bye next week ended its regular season
with an 8-2 overall record and a 6-0 conference mark and moves
on to the four-team Southern California playoffs that begin in
two weeks. Palomar slips to 5-4 on the season but will be bowl
eligible if it can win its final regular season game vs. Santa
Ana next Saturday night at Escondido's Wilson Stadium.
Palomar battled last year's state
runner-up for 2 1/2 quarters before succumbing to the Hornets'
superior firepower. The Comets led 10-7 after Justin Harris'
2-yard touchdown run in the first quarter and Patrick Koch's
40-yard field goal with 5:31 remaining until halftime.
But Fullerton came back go in front
17-10 at the half, scoring 10 points in the last 2 minutes of
the second quarter on Joey Verhaegh's second of three touchdown
passes and Casey Eyman's 39-yard field goal.
It became a battle of attrition after
that as two more of the Comets' best defensive players, Javante
O'Roy and Dylan Donahue, exited with injuries and the Hornets
kept adding to their lead.
Justin Harris, the conference's leading
rusher, ran for 64 yards on 20 carries for Palomar, while Brett
Hollingsworth and Mitch Bartram combined to complete 20 of 30
pass attempts for 154 yards. M.J. Bailey (eight receptions for
61 yards), Wayne Ganan (six receptions for 51 yards), Damon
Nolan and Tiree Burton combined for all of the Comets' catches.
Palomar's final touchdown came on a
24-yard run by Deviante Sayles with 49 seconds remaining in the
game. But by then Fullerton had opened up a 38-10 lead.
Jason Sam rushed for 151 yards and two
touchdowns and Verhaegh passed for 235 yards as the Hornets
piled up 510 yards in total offense in the game.
Battling against almost
insurmountabe odds, Palomar's offensive line, playing with
6-foot-4, 240-pound Luke Davis making his first start at right
tackle in place of the previous 6-foot-8, 320-pound starter,
limited Fullerton's defense to one sack. And the Comets made
multiple big defensive and special teams plays.
The biggest defensive / special team
series of plays came late in the second quarter, Diovanni Brewer
saved a touchdown when he knocked Fullerton tight end Tim Holt
out of bounds at the 2-yard line at the end of a 27-yard pass
play from Verhaegh. The Comets then stopped the Hornets on
first-and-goal, second-and-goal, third-and-goal and
After the Comets were pinned at their
own 4-yard after taking possession of the ball, punter Codey
Wuthrich, standing barely inside the back of the end zone in
short punt formation, kicked a 41-yarder that was downed at the
Shawn Cameron returned four kickoffs
for 115 yards.
Donahue, at defensive end, had seven
tackles (six solo), including a 13-yard sack and 2.5 tackles for
loss, before his fourth-quarter injury. He also had a
Damon Nolan (No. 9)
returns a punt 58 yards for a touchdown one minute
and 17 seconds into the second half on Saturday
night. That brought the score in the game to Golden
West 20, Palomar 19. But the Comets missed the PAT
kick and the Rustlers scored the game's final 13
points. BELOW LEFT:
Dylan Donahue (No. 49)
pressures Golden West quarterback
Chris d'Entremont, the
state passing leader, into hurrying an attempt that
fell harmlessly to the turf, yards away from the
nearest receiver. -- Photos by Hugh Cox.
Cody Wuthrich, who
deposited a punt at the Rustlers' 1-yard line late
in the third quarter. After two straight
half-the-distance penalties on Golden West for false
starts, d'Entremont drove the Rustlers more than 99
yards to the game's final touchdown, bringing the
final score to 33-19.
2 picks and a
99-yard plus drive do in Comets
MESA (11-01-2014) --
Two costly interceptions, one which set up a
touchdown just before halftime and the other at the
goal-line when Palomar appeared to be driving for
the go-ahead TD in the third quarter, turned the
game around in a 33-19 loss to Golden West on
But the bullet in the head for the Comets in the
Southern Conference game at Orange Coast College's
LeBard Stadium came late in the third quarter, with
the Palomar trailing by seven points, 26-19.
The Comets' Cody Wuthrich deposited a punt at the
Golden West 1-yard line, and back-to-back
half-the-distance penalties put the Rustlers back to
within inches of their own goal line.
That's when quarterback
Chris d'Entremont, the
state's leading community college passer who threw
for four touchdowns and ran for another TD, drove
the Rustlers 99-plus yards to the game's final
touchdown. That advanced the score to 33-19, which
is the way the night ended.
The first few
plays of the drive allowed Golden West to get out of
the shadow of its own goalpost and advance the ball
almost to midfield. d'Entremont then hooked up on a
57-yard pass play to Zimari Manning with 36 seconds
remaining in the quarter. It was the second
d'Entremont-to-Manning touchdown of the evening.
The Comets (5-3, 2-2) had
plenty to be proud of on a cool evening, but shot themselves in
the foot just enough times to take them out of both the game and
the Southern Conference race. There were their usual penalties
that included false starts, a foolish roughing-the-passer shove
in the back that nullified a Palomar interception, the
interceptions by Golden West and, until the Comets tightened up
their defense in the second half, an inability to halt
third-down and even fourth-down conversions.
Some of the first-half
positives were two Patrick Koch field goals of 24 yards, which
put Palomar in front 3-0 early, and 41 yards and an athletic
3-yard touchdown pass from receiver M.J. Bailey, who snuck
behind the backfield to the right side and tossed the ball to
tight end Wyatt Paterson alone in the end zone. The trick play
came the second quarter on fourth down-and-goal and brought the
Comets back to within one point at 14-13.
In the second half, there
was an electifying 58-yard punt return for a touchdown by Damon
Nolan that again brought the Comets back to within a point at
20-19 one minute and 17 seconds into the third quarter -- and
Wuthrich's punt. The Comets missed the PAT kick after Nolan's TD
and Rustlers scored the game's final 13 points.
positives included solid blocking by the offensive
line that allowed Justin Harris to rush for 90 yards
on 12 carries. There also were Bailey's 13
receptions for 113 yards, and 244 yards of total
offense by quarterback Brett Hollingsworth (199
yards passing and 45 yards rushing).Deviante Sayles
returned four kickoffs for 117 yards, an average of
29.3 yards per return with a long of 41 yards. Nolan
added 79 yards on two punt returns.
the Comets made a series of big stops against
d'Entremont, who leads the state with both 324.1
yards passing per game and 33 touchdowns in eight
games, and his teammates. Leading the way for the
defense: end Dylan Donahue with 9 tackles (5 solo),
a sack, 1.5 tackles for loss, a forced fumble, a
quarterback hurry and his constant
harrassment of d'Entremont trying to pass and
attempting to evade him. DeAngelo Ivey also had 9
tackles (7 solo). Drew Madera was third on the team
with six tackles.
State No. 11-ranked
Palomar is out of the playoff hunt but can still qualify for a
bowl game by beating either Fullerton next Saturday on the road
or Santa Ana the following Saturday night at home.
State 10th-ranked Golden
West goes to 6-2, 3-1 and can clinch at least a title tie in the
Southern Conference and conference's automatic playoff berth by
beating Orange Coast next week and Fullerton in two weeks.
Palomar also came into the
game ranked sixth in Southern California (Golden West is ranked
fifth) and 25th in the nation (the Rustlers are ranked 24th).
Coach Joe Early has
the Palomar football team ranked No. 6 in Southern
California, No. 11 in the state and No. 25 nationally.
-- Photo by Hugh Cox
PC resurfaces in national
poll, is sixth in SoCal
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.
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.
NATIONAL (J.C. Grid-Wire)
SOUTHERN CAL (CCCFCA)
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)
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)
7-Arizona Western (8-1)
7-Mt. SAC (6-2)
8-CC of San Francisco (6-1)
9-Scottsdale (Arizona) (7-1)
10-Riverside City College (6-1)
10-Golden West (5-2)
11-Hutchinson (Kansas) (8-1)
12-Long Beach CC (6-1)
13-Sacramento CC (5-2)
13-Mississippi Gulf Coast (8-1)
14-Santa Rosa (5-2)
14-Mt. SAC (6-2)
15-Navarro (Texas) (7-2)
16-Copiah-Lincoln (Miss.) (7-2)
17-Tyler (Texas) (7-2)
17-West Hills (7-0)
18-Victor Valley (7-0)
Only Playoff-tier teams eligible
19-Kilgore (Texas) (7-2)
19-Fresno City College (4-3)
above coaches' poll. Non-
20-Coffeyville (Kansas) (7-2)
playoff eligible teams from the lower
21-Diablo Valley (6-1)
tier have a separate poll
22-Nassau (New York) (8-0)
23-Santa Rosa (5-2)
24-Golden West (5-2)
25t-Santa Barbara CC (6-1)
Amu named Defensive Player,
Athlete of Week
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
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).
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
Interceptions ignite come-from-behind
(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.
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
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
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
Codey Wuthrich deposited five of his eight punts
inside the 20-yard line.
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
PC wins in 2nd OT on
Bartram-Nolan pass, PAT
Palomar held off visiting
Moorpark 46-45 in a wild two-overtime non-conference
football shootout on Saturday night at Wilson
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
Elrod made one of three field goal attempts, a
33-yarder in the first quarter, and added six PAT
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
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
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.
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
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
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 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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
the first quarter.
Cornerback Diovanni Brewer (29) arrives to help. -- Photos by
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
continue domination of Olympians
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
into a buzzsaw in its first loss
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
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
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
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
Donahue conf. Players of Week
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
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.
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.
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.
with 2:38 left to win 2014 opener
(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.
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
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
Download Hugh Cox's Photos
Receiver Hakim is
Jets' primary kick returner
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
(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.
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.
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
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
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
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
MARCOS (5-27-2014) --
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
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
PC adds ex-Notre Dame, Stanford
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
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.
THE BILL DIETRICK FILE ...
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)
2008-2009 -- Indiana State
University, Offensive Coordinator-Quarterbacks and Wide
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
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
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