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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, 2014

2015 Schedule, Results | 2015 Stats | 2015 Roster | 2015 Coaches

Records, Leaders (Through 2015 Season)

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

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Palomar Football History Comets Currently in NFL, 4-year College Football | View, Download Hugh Cox's Photos

2015 Season ...

TOP PHOTO:Daviante Sayles hurdles two Santa Ana defenders on Saturday afternoon. He rushed for 137 yards on 20 carries and five touchdowns, the latter to tie Palomar's all-time single-game touchdown record and break the mark for rushing TDs. Sayles led the Comets to a 37-27 season-ending victory at Eddie West Field/Santa Ana Stadium. -- Photo by Hugh Cox. BELOW: Devyn Comer, who had three of Palomar's eight sacks DIRECTLY ABOVE: Quarterback Austin Early sets up Sayles' first touchdown with a 24-yard run on a quarterback keeper. -- Photos by Hugh Cox. BELOW: Devyn Comer, who had three of Palomar's eight sacks

Sayles' 5 TD runs tie, set PC marks in 37-27 win

SANTA ANA (11-14-2015) -- Palomar finished its football season with a 37-27 Southern Conference victory over Santa Ana College on Saturday afternoon at Eddie West Field/Santa Ana Stadium as running back Daviante Sayles, playing his last game as a Comet, went out in record-setting style.

Sayles tied a Palomar record for touchdowns in a game by scoring five times on runs of 1, 55 and 2 yards in the first half and 2 and 12 yards in the second half. He finished with 137 rushing yards on 20 carries

The sophomore out of Rancho Buena Vista High School tied the mark set by Toby Flanagan in the Comets' 83-0 victory over Santa Barbara City College in the sixth week of the 1958 season and equaled by Lafo Malauulu in a 55-19 win over San Diego Mesa on Thanksgiving Day 1984 and Markeith Ross in a 45-28 victory over Mt. SAC in the 1992 Simple Green Bowl.

Sayles now has the Comets' sing-game rushing TD record by himself with 5. Flanagan, playing both ways, returned 2 interceptions for touchdowns as part of his now 57-year-old record performance. Malauulu's touchdowns came on four pass receptions and a punt return. And Ross had a TD reception to go with four rushing touchdowns.

Sayles accounted for 30 of Palomar's 37 points Saturday, tying him for second on the all-time Palomar list for that category with Malauulu and Ross. Flanagan holds the record for points in a game with 32 points in that 1958 game. Along with his five touchdowns, he also had a two-point conversion run. 1958 was the first season the two-point conversion was used in college football.

Santa Ana took its only lead of the game 3-0 on a 43-yard field goal by Jonah Mack with 4:37 remaining in the opening period. The Comets answered back with a nine-play, 53-yard drive that culminated with Sayles' 1-yard touchdown with 7:08 to play in the quarter. Sayles' 55-yard run with 4:50 left made it 13-3 as the first period ended.

It was 20-13 at halftime and 23-20 entering the final quarter. Sayles upped Palomar's advantage to 37-20 by scoring his last two touchdowns of the day in the quarter's first 2 minutes and 7 seconds.

Reggie Wilson had the Comets' other seven points on four extra-point kicks and a 32-yard field goal.

Palomar spent most of the fourth quarter running down the clock.

Trayce Cauley added 60 yards rushing on 10 carries for the Comets, including a 36-yard run that set up a touchdown. Quarterback Austin Early added 103 yards passing and broke off a 24-yard run on a keeper to set up Sayles' first TD. LaMont Chaney was the leading receiver for Palomar with four catches for 31 yards, and tight end Robert Ursua had two receptions for 35 yards.

Palomar's defense was a huge factor in the victory. The Comets held the Dons to 5 yards rushing on the day, got interceptions fro Michael Moore and Malique Taylor, and fumble recoveries from Roger Mann and J.D. Fox. Michael Almodovar forced two fumbles.

Meanwhile, the Comets made life miserable for Santa Ana quarterback Thomas Becerra, sacking him eight times for 53 yards, led by Devyn Comer with 3 sacks for 20 yards. Hunter Moore and Mann each had a sack and combined on an additional sack, while Rafael Sangenes and Almodovar had a sack apiece.

In all, Palomar accumulated 12 tackles for losses for 61 yards. Diovanni Brewer was the tackle leader with 7. Michael Moore, Almodovar and Hunter Moore each had 5 tackles.

Punter Sam Tapia, playing with an injured kicking foot, had a 52-yarder that got the Comets out of questionable field position and deposited 2 punts inside the 20-yard line.

The Comets finished an injury-plagued season 4-6 (2-4 in the Southern Conference). Santa Ana concluded its season 1-9 (0-6).



   Sayles is both Athlete of the Week, Player of Week

LONG BEACH / SAN DIEGO (11-17-2015) -- Palomar football player Daviante Sayles has been honored as Athlete of the Week in the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference for all men's sports, as well as Offensive Player of the Week for the Southern California Football Association's Southern Conference.

Sayles, a 5-foot-11, 180-pound sophomore running back out of Rancho Buena Vista High School by way of a redshirt season at Eastern Illinois University in 2013, tied a 57-year-old Palomar record for touchdowns in a game on Saturday. He scored five TDs in a 37-27 season-ending Southern Conference victory on the road over Santa Ana, his last game in a Palomar uniform.

Sayles' touchdowns came on runs of 1, 55 and 2 yards in the first half and 2 and 12 yards in the second half as he equaled the record set by Toby Flanagan in 1958 and previously tied twice, in 1984 and 1992.

ABOVE: Quarterback Austin Early (No. 9) and running back Daviante Sayles (No. 6), pictured in last week's game with Fullerton, will play their final games for Palomar on Saturday at Santa Ana. -- Photo by Hugh Cox. BELOW LEFT: Freshman tight end Robert Ursua, who has been cleared to play Saturday after an neck injury scare on the final play last week

PC closes out season on the road Saturday

SANTA ANA (11-13-2015) -- Palomar will try to close its injury-ridden 2015 football season on a positive note on Saturday when the Comets visit Santa Ana College (1 p.m., Eddie West Field at Santa Ana Stadium) in their final game.

The Comets will be trying to end the season with a 4-6 record. The Dons come into the game 1-8.

Freshman tight end Robert Ursua, who has come on strong late in the season, has been cleared to play after a scare on the final play last week against Fullerton when he sustained a possible neck injury. He was released after spending the night at Palomar Medical Center and cleared by doctors to play Saturday.

Quarterback Austin Early, running back Daviante Sayles, receiver/kick returner Wayne Ganan, center Charlie Long, offensive tackle Mike Stevens, defensive tackle Hunter Moore, linebacker Michael Almodovar, cornerback Diovanni Brewer and strong safety Malique Taylor are listed starters for Saturday that will be playing their final game as Comets.


TOP PHOTO: Garrett Fielder takes a handoff on his 23-yard run for Palomar's second touchdown on Saturday. The hidden blocker for the Comets, who is engaging Fullerton's 6-foot-3, 295-pound defensive tackle Dominic Sanchez, is Matt Kesling, who came in when starting center Charlie Long aggravated an injury DIRECTLY ABOVE: Quarterback Austin Early straight-arms the Hornets' Steve Everette on a keeper. -- Photo by Hugh Cox

Hornets sting injury-ridden PC in home finale

ESCONDIDO (11-06-2015) -- Last week, Palomar nearly upset Golden West, ranked No. 1 in the state and No. 3 in the nation, and the Comets have been in the game against almost every opponent during what has been a disappointing football season.

But Palomar, banged up by injuries, were never in the game on Saturday, when it fell 42-14 at Escondido High's Wilson Stadium to an up-and-down Fullerton College team that has defeated defending state champion Mt. SAC and clobbered Riverside City College 52-21 when the Tigers were ranked second in the nation.

The Hornets (6-4, 3-3 in the Southern Conference), who were playing their last regular-season game, jumped in front 4 minutes, 32 seconds into the game on Trey Tinsley's 1-yard quarterback sneak. They were never in trouble.

An inability to defend against vertical pass routes and more injuries to key players during the game destroyed the Comets' chances as Tinsley, Tanner Hodges and Colin Kearon passed for 284 yards and three touchdowns. Hodges came in for an early series to throw for a TD, Phillip Butler scored on a 1-yard run and Deryck Fletcher returned an interception 40 yards for a touchdown.

For Palomar (3-6, 1-4), Austin Early was 20-for-36 passing for 186 yards including an 18-yard touchdown to running back Daviante Sayles. Garrett Fiehler scored the Comets' second TD on a 23-yard run with 2:56 left in the game.

Reggie Wilson kicked the PAT after the first touchdown, then switched with regular holder Sam Tapia, so Wilson held as Tapia, the Comets' punter, kicked the second extra point.

Sayles finished with 134 total yards, 9 rushing on 11 carries and 85 yards on eight pass receptions. Tight end Robert Ursua also had eight catches for 78 yards, but the game was ended 10 seconds early after Ursua sustained a neck injury being tackled at the end of a 17-yardreception of an Early pass for a first down.

Ursua was transported by ambulance to a local hospital for precautionary reasons and was expected to be released later in the evening.

Devyn Comer had 2 sacks for the Comets for 14 yards. Taylor Thorne contributed 7 tackles including a tackle for loss, while Christian Prince had 5 tackles and broke up a pass. Diovanni Brewer and Hunter Moore each had five tackles.

The Comets played most of the game without Wayne Ganan (injury), and the complete game without leading tackler Brad Dozier (injury), J.D. Fox (illness) and long snapper Austin Parades (season-ending injury. They lost center Charlie Long, receiver Dakota Jones and Moore during the game with injuries.

Palomar will end the season against Santa Ana College next Saturday afternoon at Santa Ana Stadium's Eddie West Field. 


Palomar's Daviante Sayles breaks into open against state No. 1 and nationally No. 3-rated Golden West last week. Sayles rushed for 100 yards on 18 carries and caught seven passes for 31 yards in a near-upset against the Rustlers. The Comets host Fullerton on Saturday afternoon in their final home game. -- Photo by Hugh Cox

PC hosts Hornets in rare day game Saturday

ESCONDIDO (11-06-2015) -- Palomar, coming off a near-upset against now state No. 1-ranked and nationally No. 3-ranked Golden West, will close out its home season on Saturday with a rare afternoon game against Fullerton College.

The Comets need two wins against the Hornets and Santa Ana College next week on the road to finish the regular season at .500 (at 5-5 and 3-3 in the Southern Conference) and become bowl eligible.

Fullerton, a national Top Ten team in the preseason, comes in to Saturday's game at 5-4, 2-3 in the Southern Conference.

Austin Early (35-for-48 passing for 353 yards with 2 touchdowns and 0 interceptions), Daviante Sayles (100 yards passing on 18 carries and 7 receptions), Wayne Ganan (10 catches for 106 yards and 2 TDs) and Robert Ursua (8 catches for 110 yards) all had big games against Golden West.

But it wasn't enough to pull the Comets through as the Rustlers scored on two late pass plays to break a 21-21 tie and pull out a 34-21 win.

Due to injuries, Palomar probably be without its leading tackler, Brad Dozier, while the availability of receiver / kick returner Wayne Ganan will be a game-day decision.

Fullerton quarterback Trey Tinsley has passed for 1,743 yards and 11 touchdowns with six interceptions. The Hornets have a bye next week and will be closing their regular seson Saturday.


TOP PHOTO: Brad Dozier (No. 30) and Christian Prince (24) put a hurt on Golden West running back Johnny Hills. The Comets held the Rustlers to 62 yards rushing. DIRECTLY ABOVE: Quarterback Austin Early flips the ball to running back Daviante Says (not pictured) for an 8-yard gain on a shovel pass late in the second quarter. -- Photos by Hugh Cox. BELOW LEFT: Wayne Ganan, who caught 10 passes for 106 yards and two touchdowns. BELOW RIGHT: Daviante Sayles, who rushed for 100 yards. Both Ganan and Sayles returned to the game after sustaining injuries

PC upset bid is short vs. nation's No. 5 team

ESCONDIDO (10-31-2015) -- Golden West College, second-ranked in California and No. 5-ranked in the nation, survived Palomar's upset bid Saturday on a scary Halloween night for the Rustlers at Wilson Stadium's Chick Embrey Field.

The final score of 34-21 was about as deceiving as it could be on a night that the Comets outgained the visiting Rustlers (8-0, 4-0 Southern Conference) 443 yards to 424, ran off 83 plays to the visitors' 50 plays and had a 37-minutes to 23-minutes advantage in time of possession.

The Comets led 14-0 in the second quarter after touchdown passes of 15 and 6 yards from quarterback Austin Early (35-for-48, 353 yards, 3 TDs, 0 interceptions) to Wayne Ganon, with another scoring pass to Ganon nullified by a penalty which kept Palomar's early advantage from growing to three touchdowns.

It was 14-7 early in the third quarter when the Comets missed two golden opportunities to extend their lead on the same series, on what would have been a touchdown pass the intended receiver dropped on a third-down play from the Golden West 9-yard line and, on the following play, a missed 26-yard field goal attempt.

Early had two more drops when a receiver was open on vertical routes in the red zone.

The Rustlers scored twice in a five-minute span late in the third quarter to lead for the first time 21-14. But Comets struck again on the third Early TD pass that counted, hitting LaMont Chaney for 22 yards to tie the game at 21-21.

Daviante Sayles (100 yards rushing on 18 carries) left the game with a hand injury, then returned to set up the Early-to-Chaney touchdown when he broke off a 41-yard run down to the Golden West 22.

 The Rustlers then won the game late in the fourth quarter when they twice got receivers open past Palomar's defense on touchdown plays covering 42 and 57 yards.

Ganan (10 receptions for 106 yards), tight end Robert Ursua (8 receptions for 110 yards) and Sayles (7 receptions for 31 yards) combined to catch 25 of Early's 35 completions for 247 yards.

Sam Tapia dropped three more punts inside the 20-yard line, including two inside the 10-yard line and the other one inside the 5-yard line at the Rustlers' 3.

Diovanni Brewer (6 tackles, 1 interception, 1 pass break-up) and Devyn Comer (6 tackles 0.5 tackle for loss) led the Comets defensively on an evening Palomar's defense had extremely limited opportunities for tackles, with Golden West running off only 50 plays.

Michael Moore had an interception, a broken-up pass and a tackle for loss. Malavai Taylor also contributed a tackle for loss.

Palomar (3-5, 1-3) will host Fullerton next Saturday in a 1 p.m. game, then will visit Santa Ana in its 10th game the following Saturday afternoon.


Former Comets are playing starring roles at the next level

Former Palomar tight end Sam Browning breaks off a 30-yard gain after catching a pass for Eastern Michigan against LSU in a game played before a crowd of 102,341 on Oct. 3 at Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Browning had six receptions for 87 yards against the Tigers. LSU led by only 30-22 after three quarters before finally taking a 48-29 win. BELOW LEFT: Jeremiah Kose, starting linebacker at the University of Montana. BELOW RIGHT: Bryan Jones, starting corner at defending NCAA Division II national champion Colorado State-Pueblo -- Courtesy photos

Browning, Donahue, Kose, Jones, Paopao star

YIPSILANTI, MI / CARROLLTON, GA / MISSOULA, MT (10-28-2015) -- Five ex-Palomar football players are having big seasons on the four-year college level.

Sam Browning (Eastern Michigan University), Dylan Donahue (West Georgia), Jeremiah Kose (Montana), Bryan Jones (Colorado State-Pueblo) and Eric Paopao (Humboldt State) are all starting, with considerable success, in NCAA Division I FBS, Division I FCS or Division II.

Tight end Sam Browning (Eastern Michigan) --  A late-summer transfer from Palomar to Eastern Michigan University, Browning has caught 14 passes for 216 yards and two touchdowns in his first season on the Division I FBS level.

Browning's marquee performance came against LSU on Oct. 3 before a crowd of 102,341 at Baton Rouge, Lousiana, where he caught six passes for 87 yards with a long reception of 30 yards. The Eastern Michigan Eagles trailed by only 30-22 after three quarters

The previous week, on Sept. 26 at Laramie, Wyoming, Browning had four catches for 66 yards and a touchdown in a MAC game against Akron. His first Division I catch went for a 3-yard touchdown to put Eastern Michigan in front in a 48-29 win over Wyoming.

The Escondido High School alum also had two catches for 41 yards against Toledo and one catch for 19 yards vs. Northern Illinois.

Browning received his first FBS offer from the University of Colorado after his sophomore season for the Comets in 2013, but didn't yet have enough credits to transfer at that time and wound up staying through 2014 to finish his academic requirements. Because of his footspeed and athletic ability, the 6-foot-5, 233-pound junior is considered an NFL prospect.

Defensive end Dylan Donahue (West Georgia University) -- A year ago, the athletic 6-foot-3, 235-pound Donahue was being recruited by FBS schools and tripped, among others, to Colorado State. But he couldn't get out until the end of the summer and wound up at one of the marquee programs in Division II. West Georgia reached the semifinals of the 2014 national playoffs where they lost to eventual champion Colorado State Pueblo 10-7.

Donahue is starting at defensive end for the Wolves, who are 8-0 and ranked No. 1 in the nation by all three ratings services, including the American Football Coaches Association poll and the D2Football.com media poll. He's played in 5 1/2 games, missing the other 2 1/2 games with injuries, and has 23 tackles (15 solo), with six sacks and nine tackles for loss.

The 2015 Southern Conference Defensive Player of the Year at Palomar, Donahue had six tackles and 2.5 sacks in a 49-28 win over nationally-ranked Valdosta State on Oct. 10, when West Georgia was the consensus No. 2-ranked team in the country. He forced a fumble with a sack, which was picked up by a teammate and returned for a touchdown.

Donahue had 131 tackles in two seasons with the Comets. His dad, Mitch Donahue, was the WAC Defensive Player of the Year in both 1989 and 1990 for the Univesity of Wyoming and still holds the Cowboys' record for sacks both for a career (46) and a single season (21).

Linebacker Jeremiah Kose (University of Montana) -- Kose, a Vista High School product, transferred from Palomar to Montana after his freshman season, red-shirted in 2014 and now starts at linebacker and is the Grizzlies' second leding tackler with 85 (33 solo).

He had nine tackles when the Grizzlies upset North Dakota State, which has won the last four FCS national championships, on Aug. 29 at Missoula, Montana. Last Saturday, Kose had nine tackles and intercepted a pass in a 38-35 victory over North Dakota.

Cornerback Bryan Jones (Colorado State University-Pueblo) -- Jones (Great Oak High School in Temecula) is a starting corner as a junior for the defending FCS national champions, who are 7-1 with their only loss coming by one point (31-30) to West Texas A&M and are currently ranked fourth or fifth in the nation, depending on which national poll one looks at.

Jones is third for the Thunderwolves in tackles with 40 tackles . He has two tackles for loss and has broken up three passes.

Safety Eric Paopao (Humboldt State University) -- Paopao is a starting safety as a senior for the Lumberjacks, one of only two Division II programs in California but ranked 15th in the nation.

He has 47 tackles on the the season, including 19 in two games vs. Azusa Pacific (10 in a 62-41 win on Sept. 12 and nie in a 41-16 victory on Oct. 10). Those were against a team that was 10-1 a year ago. Jones also has seven tackles for loss and three sacks.

Ex-Comet punter Wuthrich lands at Indiana

BLOOMINGTON, Indiana (10-28-2015) -- Codey Wuthrich, Palomar's punter during the 2013 and 2014 seasons, has landed at Indiana University in the Big Ten Conference.

Wuthrich, who is sitting out out the 2015 season after graduating from Palomar during the summer, will leave for Bloomington, Indiana the first week of March.

Classes for the second eight-week session of the spring semester at Indiana start March 7 and the Hoosiers begin spring practice at the end of the month.

 Wuthrich holds Palomar records for punts inside the 20-yard line for a single season (22) and career (41, demolishing the previous record of 26 set by Matt Kovacevich, who was Utah's punter for two seasons under Urban Meyer).

Wuthrich, a La Costa Canyon High School product, was co-Most Valuable Player, almost unheard of for a punter, for the Comets in their 30-22 Patriotic Bowl victory over Glendale in 2014.

He initially goes to Indiana, as do many Division I starting punters to begin with, as a preferred walk-on, with an opportunity to earn a scholarship by winning the starting job.

Wuthrich originally was offered a preferred walk-on opportunity by the University of Colorado, one that was later withdrawn after a change in the Buffaloes' situation at punter.

Palomar football has a history with Indiana. Offensive tackle Pita Elisara, an All-Big Ten selection when he started all 11 games for the Hoosiers in 2009, later was with the New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Baltimore Ravens and Washington Redskins.

ABOVE: Palomar linebacker Christian Prince sacks Orange Coast quarterback Mason Dossey during Saturday night's game at the Pirates' LeBard Stadium in Costa Mesa. Prince turned in a very active defensive performance with two sacks and six tackles for losses. -- Photo by Philip Farry. BELOW LEFT: Devyn Comer, who had 10 tackles, including two sacks and five tackles for losses. BELOW RIGHT: Rafael Sangines who also contributed 10 tackles, and both forced and recovered a fumble

Big plays, 3rd-and-long conversions do in PC

COSTA MESA (10-17-2015) -- Palomar jumped out to a 10-point lead  Saturday night in the game's first 9 minutes, but the visiting Comets couldn't contain third down-and-long yardage conversions and big plays that enabled Orange Coast to win the teams' Southern Conference game 34-24 at LeBard Stadium.

Palomar went in front barely four minutes into the game, on the second play after Rafael Sangines knocked the ball loose from the Pirates' Kyle White and recovered the fumble at Coast's 32-yard line.

Quarterback Austin Early (15-for-26 passing, 234 yards, 2 touchdowns) connected with Kameron Calhoun on a 30-yard touchdown play, and Reggie Wilson's first of two conversion kicks gave the Comets a 7-0 lead.

 Later in the first quarter, Palomar forced an Orange Coast punt and, with Daviante Sayles carrying the ball for most of the yardage, drove from its own 36-yard line to the Pirates' 6, and Wilson's 24-yard field goal made it 10-0 with 5:46 left in the period.

But Orange Coast battled back, traded leads with the Comets and eventually drew away thanks in large part to touchdown passes of 54 and 34 yards from quarterback Mason Dossey to Stefan Derrick and a 77-yard interception return by Derrick Worthy with 11:15 remaining in the fourth quarter that put the game away.

Sayles scored two touchdowns for the Comets, on a 2-yard run in the third quarter that gave Palomar a 17-13 lead, and a 31-yard pass play from Early with one minute left in the game.

Palomar's defense, sparked by an extremely active night by freshman linebacker Christian Prince (2 sacks, 6 tackles for loss), kept OCC quarterback Dossey on the run all evening long, driving him into the artificial turf surface for 49 yards in losses, including six sacks for 43 yards.

Prince sacked Dossey twice for 15 yards, Devyn Comer sacked him twice for 14 yards, Hunter Moore had an 8-yard sack and Michael Almodovar contributed a 6-yard sack.

In all, Palomar's defense had 16 tackles for loss for 63 yards and limited Orange Coast to 70 net yards rushing.

Comer had 10 tackles, five of them for losses, a broken-up pass and a quarterback hurry as he and Prince kept constant pressure on Dossey. Sangines finished with 10 tackles, a half-tackle for loss, the forced fumble and fumble recovery. Malavai Taylor had 9 tackles.

Sayles had 152 all-purpose yards (88 rushing, 64 receiving) and Wayne Ganon totaled 188 all-purpose yards incljuding 162 on kickoff returns and a 21-yard punt return. Sam Tapia deposited two punts inside the Pirates' 10-yard line, one of them a 47-yarder.

Palomar, which has its bye coming up next Saturday, will return to action on October 31, Halloween night, when the Comets host undefeated and state No. 3-ranked Golden West in a Southern Conference gam eat Escondido's Wilson Stadium. The Comets are 3-4 on the year and 1-2 in the conference, while Orange Coast adanced to 4-2, 2-0 in conference.


ABOVE: Daviante Sayles heads for daylight behind tight end Robert Ursua's block in Palomar's 42-21 victory over San Diego Mesa the third week of the season. Sayles, who rushed for 133 yards last week against Moorpark and received Southern Conference Offensive Player of the Week recognition, will play a key role when the Comets visit Orange Coast on Saturday night. -- Photo by Hugh Cox. BELOW LEFT: Charlie Long, Palomar's best lineman from a year ago when he joined the squad as a transfer from Purdue of the Big Ten Conference, will make his 2015 debut when he starts at center. He missed the first six games with an injury. BELOW RIGHT: Brad Dozier, the Comets' leading tackler

Long cleared to face Orange Coast on Saturday

COSTA MESA (10-14-2015) -- Palomar will get a huge boost when the Comets return to Southern Conference action on Saturday at Orange Coast (LeBard Stadium, 6 p.m.).

Charlie Long, the Division I transfer (from Purdue) who was the Comets' best offensive lineman a year ago as a redshirt freshman, has been cleared to play coming off a season-long injury. He'll start at center against the Pirates as he makes his first appearance in a year that has seen Palomar face an uphill battle on the O-line because of youth and injuries.

Defensive ends Roger Mann and Arnold Voa also return from injuries. So does defensive tackle Hunter Moore, who was originally thought to have suffered a ligament tear in his knee last week in an upset loss to Moorpark. But the injury turned out to be a bruise and he'll be back in the lineup this week.

The Comets (3-3, 1-1 in conference) again are expected to count heavily on running back Daviante Sayles, the former Rancho Buena Vista High School star who bounced back to Palomar prior to last season after a redshirt year at Division I Eastern Illinois. Sayles rushed for 133 yards last week, accounting for 74.7 percent of the Comets' 178 offensive yards.

Sayles was selected as the Southern Conference Offensive Player of the Week.

Linebacker / strong safety Christian Prince, who has become more of a factor each week and returned an interception 40 yards last week, moves into the starting lineup. Corner Michael Moore also had a pick against Moorpark, returning it 60 yards for a TD.

Orange Coast (3-2, 1-0), which has won three straight games, counts heavily on the offensive side of the ball on sophomore receiver Stefan Derrick from Long Beach Poly High School who has 28 receptions in five games for 553 yards. He has eight touchdown receptions and a two-point conversion catch.

Defensively, Mark Cushing, a 6-foot-0, 220-pound linebacker from Holt High School in Wentzville, MO, leads the Pirates with 11.2 tackles per game.


Sayles rushes for 133 yards but PC implodes

MOORPARK (10-10-2015) -- After a decisive victory over Grossmont one week earlier, Palomar came up flat in a non-conference football game at previously winless  Moorpark on Saturday night at Griffin Stadium.

The result: the Comets imploded on opportunity after opportunity and the Raiders posted a 24-14 upset victory that leaves Palomar at 3-3 on the season as the Comets return to Southern Conference action next Saturday evening at Orange Coast. Palomar never was able to get in sync and followed its best game of the season with its worst.

Daviante Sayles, making many of his yards on his own behind an injury-depleted offensive line, rushed for 133 yards on 27 tough carries which accounted for a 74.7 percent of the Comets' 178 offensive yards.

The Comets scored on an 11-yard pass play from Austin Early to Wayne Ganan in the right corner of the end zone midway through the first quarter and on a 60-yard interception return by Michael Moore (above right) early in the second half.

The Early-to-Ganan pass tied the game at 7-7 after Reggie Wilson's PAT kick. Moore's interception return pulled the Comets to within three points at 17-14 after the Raiders had opened up a 17-7 lead.

Palomar also missed a second-quarter field goal attempt and couldn't capitalize after forcing the Raiders to punt from their own 1-yard line.

The Comets had their share of big plays in the loss. Brad Dozier and J.D. Fox recovered fumbles in Moorpark territory, and Christian Prince intercepted a pass and returned it 40 yards to the Moorpark 39-yard line with 5:52 left in the third period. But Palomar was unable to turn any of those opportunities - plus others -- into points.

Ganan caught six passes for 63 yards. Aeden Bartolowits made five possession pass receptions in heavy traffic and punter Sam Tapia had a big game. Tapia pinned the Raiders at their own 6-yard line with a 45-yarder early in the game, dropping two kicks inside the 20.

The Raiders are 1-4 on the season. It was the first victory for their new head coach, Mike Stuart.


Palomar's Christian Prince (No. 224) hauls down Grossmont receiver Christian Brooks in the second quarter of the Comets' 43-24 win over the Griffins last week. The Comets play a non-conference game at Moorpark on Saturday evening. -- Photo by Hugh Cox

Comets at Moorpark in non-conference game

MOORPARK (10-09-2015) -- Palomar will play a non-conference game against Moorpark at the Raiders' Griffen Stadium on Saturday at 6 p.m. It will be a warm-up for the Comets for a return to Southern Conference action at Orange Coast next week and at home the following week against state No. 3-ranked and nationally No. 10-ranked Golden West.

The Comets enter Saturday's game with a 3-2 record as they pass the halfway point in the season. Moorpark is 0-4.

Palomar will be taking a break from its schedule in the Southern Conference, where the Comets are 1-1.

Austin Early, who made his starting debut last week in a 43-24 victory over Grossmont, will get his second start at quarterback in Saturday's game. He threw for 408 yards and three touchdowns against the Griffins.

The Comets still don't have their best lineman, center Charlie Long, back from what an injury that has sidelined him the entire season. But The offensive line played its best game to date vs. Grossmont.

Defensively, field linebacker (basically strong safety) Brad Dozier and Arnold Voa lead the Comets in tackles.


Quarterback Austin Early, the Southern Conference Offensive Player of the Week and the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference Men's Athlete of the Week for all sports, breaks into the open on a 20-yard third-quarter run in Palomar's 43-24 victory over Grossmont on Saturday night. Early, a sophomore making his first college start, passed for 408 yards and three touchdowns. -- Photo by Hugh Cox

PC's Early is Player of Week, Athlete of Week

LONG BEACH / SAN DIEGO (10-06-2015) -- Palomar sophomore quarterback Austin Early, who passed for 408 yards and three touchdowns in his first community college start in Saturday's win over Grossmont, received two major honors for his performance.

The Southern California Football Association selected Early as the Southern Conference Offensive Player of the Week. The Pacific Coast Athletic Conference, Palomar's all-sports conference, named him Men's Athlete of the Week for all sports.

Early also rushed for 77 positive yards and passed for a two-point conversion. He's the first Palomar quarterback to throw for 400 yards since Andy Goodenough, who went on to play for Arizona State, passed for 402 yards and three TDs as the Comets beat Chaffey 20-13 in the 2001 Southern California Championship Game.

Palomar's Michael Prayer, a freshman from Vista Murrieta High School and a second-generation Comet, hauls down Grossmont receiver Christian Brooks short of a first down at the G-House 19-yard line on a third-down play early in the second quarter Saturday. Malik Bell (91) and Diovanni Brewer (29) arrive to help.The Griffins were forced to punt on the next play and the Comets drove 61 yards in 13 plays to score on a 2-yard run by Daviante Sayles (below). Sayles caught nine passes from Austin Early for 118 yards and rushed for two touchdowns. -- Photo by Hugh Cox

Early (408 yards), Comets burn down G-House

ESCONDIDO (10-3-2015) -- Palomar needed a boost in the worst way in Saturday's home football game against Grossmont College. Austin Early gave them one, in a huge way.

Early, the son of head coach Joe Early and nephew of offensive coordinator Dan Early who has patiently waited for his chance for 2 1/2 seasons -- first as a grayshirt and then as a little-used back-up -- finally got it in the form of his first start since his high school senior season of 2012. And the Orange Glen High School product made the most of it.

Early connected on 30-of-47 pass attempts for 408 yards (not counting a two-point conversion pass to LaMont Chaney) and three touchdowns. He rushed for an additional 77 yards (winding up with 44 net due to five sacks) as the Comets trashed the G-House 43-24 at Wilson Stadium's Chick Embrey Field in what was "must-win" Southern Conference game for both teams.

The winner, in this case Palomar, would catapult back into the Southern Conference race. The loser could pretty much kiss its conference championship hopes goodbye. In this case, that would be the Griffins.

Palomar (3-2, 1-1) had plenty of additional stars on a night the Comets piled up 559 offensive yards to 257 for a Grossmont team that came within two points of shocking nationally No. 2-ranked Riverside City College two weeks ago, losing by two points 31-29.

Daviante Sayles caught nine of Early's passes for 118 yards and also rushed for 86 yards and two touchdowns, totaling 204 all-purpose yards. Tight end Robert Ursua had eight catches for 81 yards. Wayne Gannon had two touchdown receptions. Palomar's much-maligned offensive line of sophomores Luke Davis and Mike Stevens and freshmen Mo Cannon, Ydan Guerrero, Matt Kesling and Ursua had its best game of the season, hands down.

Defensively, the Comets made big plays all night long, minus 2 minutes and 10 seconds of hell early in the third quarer when the Griffins struck for 21 unanswered points to turn a 13-0 Palomar lead into a 21-13 Grossmont lead.

Coordinator J.G. Aegerter's defense held the visitors to one third-down conversion on 14 attempts. Devyn Comer recorded 3.5 tackles for loss and 2 sacks for 17 yards among his six tackles. He also had a crucial quarterback hurry. Brad Dozier (5 tackles, 0.5 tackle for loss) came up big in the first half to help set the tone in back-to-back scoreless quarters for Grossmont. Hunter Moore had 2.5 tackles for loss, blocked a kick and contributed a key pass break-up. Diovanni Brewer broke up 3 passes, Arnold Voa 2 passes.

All the above helped the Comets limit the Griffins (2-3, 0-2) to only 21 minutes of possession time (Palomar had just under 39 minutes). The Comets also were able to run off 94 offensive plays (Grossmont had 61).

And Reggie Wilson kicked three field goals of 30, 40 and 34 yards on three attempts and was 4-for-4 on extra points.

After Grossmont outscored Palomar 24-9 in the third quarter and appeared it had taken command of the game, the Comets answered by outscoring the Griffins 21-0 in the fourth quarter.

Early became the first Palomar quarterback to pass for 400 yards in a game since Andy Goodenough, who would go on to play at Arizona State, threw for 402 yards and three TDs in a 20-14 victory over Chaffey in the 2001 Southern California championship game.


ABOVE: No pass interference call was made on this play, during which a Saddleback defender appears to grab Wayne Ganan's jersey with 4:30 left in the first quarter last Saturday night in Mission Viejo. The Comets wound up punting on the ensuing play. -- Photo by Hugh Cox. BELOW: Austin Early, who will start at quarterback on Saturday evening against Grossmont

Comets, Griffs both face must-win situation

ESCONDIDO (10-2-2015) -- Palomar and Grossmont College find themseves in the same boat as the two teams prepare for a Southern Conference game on Saturday (Chick Embrey Field, Wilson Stadium at Escondido High School, 6 p.m.).

Each with a conference loss, both the Comets (2-2, 0-1) and Griffins (also 2-2, 0-1) face must-win situations.

Both put themselves into this situation with losses last week. Grossmont, which nearly upset state No. 1-ranked and nationally No. 2-ranked (JCGridiron.com) Riverside City College two weeks ago (losing 31-29), couldn't get on the scoreboard until late in the game in a 17-7 loss to nationally 10th-ranked Golden West.

Palomar led Saddleback entering the fourth quarter on the road before losing 30-13.

For Grossmont sophomore safety Airric Parker, it all comes down to the play of the Griffins' defense.

"We need to force (Palomar) to pass, because I don't think they'll be able to beat us if they have to go through the air," Parker told EastCountySports.com.

The Comets' chances, coach Joe Early feels, depend on getting the job done on all three phases of the game, offense, defense and special teams -- a mantra he recites before every game. Last week against Saddleback, Palomar did that part of the time. But part of the time, the Comets didn't get it done. And the Gauchos were able to capitalize. The elephant in the room for Palomar once again was mistakes.

Michael Carrillo, back at what coach Mike Jordan says is "full speed" after missing the Riverside game with an injury, will be at quarterback for the Griffins.

Austin Early will get his first start for the Comets.

The game features two outstanding running backs, Grossmont's Thomas McDonald, who is averaging 7.5 yards on 43 carries and has committed to the University of Utah, and Palomar's Daviente Sayles.

Linebacker Nick Galatis (44 tackles, 3 sacks, 1 interception for a touchdown) leads the Griffins' defense.

End Arnold Voa and field linebacker Brad Dozier help lead a Palomar balanced Palomar defense with a combined 42 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, 4 sacks, a blocked kick and a fumble recovery between them.



Player (High School) 4-Year College
TE Sam Browning (2013 team) (Escondido) Eastern Michigan (D I FCS)
LB Dylan Donahue (Billings West, MT) West Georgia (NCAA Div. II semifinalists)
CB Bryan Jones (Great Oak) Colorado State-Pueblo (D II national champions)
DE Ian Kelly (Temecula Chaparral) Colorado State-Pueblo (D II national champions)
CB Javante O'Roy (Antelope, CA) Texas State (D I FBS)
DT Joe Naotala (Army-Navy Academy) Montana State (D I FCS)
LB Austin Wolff (Fallbrook) Portland State (D I FCS)
WR M.J. Bailey (San Marcos) Idaho State (D I FCS)
LS Jared Sargent (2013) (Temecula Valley) Azusa Pacific (D II)
SL/PR Damon Nolan (Murrieta Valley) Baker University, Kansas (NAIA)
DT Dominic Darby (Mission Hills) Midland College, Nebraska (NAIA)

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