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
2010 Schedule |
Coaching Staff |
Individual Records (As of beginning of 2011
Palomar Football History
Comets Currently in NFL,
4-year College Football
(68) was a key offensive line performer for the Comets for two
seasons. -- Photo by Hugh Cox
Dobbins now is Central
Palomar guard / center Mike Dobbins, a 6-foot-4,
270-pound sophomore product of Mission Hills High
School, has de-committed from
Western New Mexico and will play for NCAA Division
II national power Central Washington University.
Central Washington was 9-3 last season, when it
ventured to QWest Field, home of the Seattle
Seahawks, and dropped a 35-32 shootout to eventual
NCAA D-I Bowl Subdivision (I(-AA) national champion
Eastern Washington on national TV last Sept. 11.
Wildcats, the five-time defending Great Northwest
Athletic Conference champions, will play on national
TV again this upcoming season when they open
conference play at Humboldt State on Sept. 8. The
game will kick off at 5 p.m. on CBS Sports Network.
Central Washington will open the season against
Texas A&M-Kingsville on Sept. 2 at home in
COMMITS, SIGNINGS FOR 2011 SEASON
College / University
University of Memphis
North Park University
Mata'afa (left) and
Keith Alpichi bury
Pasadena City College
Palomar's 17-10 victory
last Oct. 30 in
Pasadena. Mata'afa has
received a full
scholarship to the
University of North
Alabama. Alpichi will
play at North Park
University in Chicago.
-- File photo
by Hugh Cox. BELOW:
Jevon Reynolds, who has
signed with Glenville
State in Glenville, West
Mata'afa, Reynolds and
Alpichi accept offers
Defensive end / linebacker Richie Mata'afa has received a full
scholarship to play for the University of North Alabama,
receiver Javon Reynolds has signed with Glenville State and
linebacker Keith Alpichi will continue his football career at
North Park University.
Mata'afa, a 5-foot-11, 230-pound
sophomore from Chaparral High School in Temecula, is
transferring into a program that won NCAA Division II national
championships in 1993, 1994 and 1995. North Alabama is located
in Florence, Alabama and plays in the Gulf South Conference.
The Lions advanced
to the second round of the Division II playoffs last Fall, where
they were eliminated by Delta State.
North Alabama will
play its third game this upcoming Fall at Cowboy Stadium in
Arlington, Texas, against Abilene Christian University.
Mata'afa recorded 24
tackles (15 solo) for the Comets in 2010 in nine games. He had
eight tackles for losses, 3.5 sacks, 1 pass break-up, 2
quarterback hurries and three fumble recoveries.
Reynolds, a 6-foot,
180-pound sophomore from Denver South High School in Denver,
Colorado, was the Comets' leading receiver last Fall.with 46
catches in 10 games for 459 yards and six touchdowns.
Glenville State is located in Gl8enville, West Virginia and
plays in the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.
North Park, where
Alpichi will play, is located in Chicago. Alpichi, a 5-foot-10,
225-pound sophomore linebacker from Great Oak High School in
Temecula, had 42 tackles (20 solo) for the Comets during the
2010 season in eight games. He recorded 2.5 tackles for losses,
1 sack, 1 interception and 1 broken-up pass.
Cornerback Devin Willis
(No. 36) makes a tackle
against Grossmont in a
2009 game. Willis, who
had 79 tackles (54 solo)
and 23 pass break-ups in
17 games over the last
two seasons, will sign
with NAU. -- Photo
by Hugh Cox
Willis latest Comet to
commit, to sign with NAU
(1-30-11) -- Devin
Willis, a sophomore cornerback who was a key defensive performer
for Palomar the last two seasons, has become the latest Comet to
commit to a four-year school.
Palomar's third-leading tackler in 2010 behind freshman safety
Devin Tarverna and defensive end Zach Gholson, will sign with
Northern Arizona University during the next NCAA signing period
which begins this Wednesday, Feb. 2.
are members of the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly
Division I-AA) Big Sky Conference. NAU, located in Flagstaff,
Arizona, are coming off a 6-5 season and will kick off its 2011
schedule on Sept. 23 against the University of Arizona in
175-pound Willis had 79 tackles (54 solo) playing in 17 games
for Palomar over the past two seasons. He had 23 pass break-ups
in two years as a Comet.
As a 2010
sophomore, Willis had 58 tackles (38 solo) in 10 games, 2.5
tackles for losses, one interception, 15 pass break-ups and two
The Miami Northwestern High School
product is the sixth Comet to commit so far and the first from a
non-North San Diego County high school.
Gholson (Memphis) is
from La Costa Canyon High School. Middle linebacker C.J.
Malauulu (Kent State) is from El Camino High. Quarterback Nate
Ong (Old Dominion) is from San Pasqual High. Quarterback
/non-snapper Tynan Murray (Western Illinois) is from Poway High.
Defensive tackle Reggie McGrue, who signed with NAIA national
power William Penn University, is also a Poway High product.
Kent State-bound middle
linebacker C.J. Malauulu
hauls down Silver Viafanua
in 2010 game. -- Photo
by Hugh Cox
PC Defensive captain
Malauulu to Kent State
(1-24-11) -- Palomar
middle inebacker Casey (C.J.) Malauulu has accepted a
scholarship offer from Kent State University and will sign with
the Golden Flashes during the signing period that begins Feb. 2.
Kent State will
open its 2011 season on Sept. 3 at Alabama.
6-foot-1, 235-pounder who came to Palomar from El Camino High
School, was Palomar's defensive captain.
second-generation Comet, had 47 tackles (27 solo) during the
2010 season playing in nine games and missing the other game due
to an injury.
He had two
tackles for losses, one sack, one pass break-up and a blocked
off the season in the last game of the year by helping lead the
Comets to a 43-35 victory over rival Grossmont with 10 tackles
Four Palomar players
transferred to four-year universities at the semester,
defensive end Zach Gholson transferred to the University of
Memphis. Quarterback Nate Ong transferred to Old Dominion
University. Quarterback / long snapper Tynan Murray transferred
to Western Illinois University. Defensive tackle Reggie McGrue, Murray's teammate at
both Poway High School and Palomar, accepted a scholarship to
NAIA power William Penn University.
Tynan Murray, running
for a first down against
Fullerton on Oct. 28,
has become the second
quarterback and fourth
2010 Palomar player to
move on to a four-year
school at mid-year.. -- Photo by
Murray transfers to Western
Illinois at mid-year
(1-16-11) -- Palomar
quarterback / long snapper Tynan Murray has become the fourth
2010 Comet to earn a football scholarship to a four-year school
and transfer at the semester.
with Western Illinois University, a member of the Football
Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) Summit
Conference and will begin classes in Macomb, Illinois on
Murray is the
second 2010 sophomore Palomar quarterback to transfer out at
mid-year. Nate Ong began classes at Old Dominion University last
defensive end Zach Gholson transferred to the University of
Memphis. Defensive tackle Reggie McGrfue, Murray's teammate at
both Poway High School and Palomr, accepted a scholarship to
NAIA power William Penn Universilty.
quarterbacked Poway to a CIF San Diego Section Division I
championship and also high jumped 7-feet, 1-inch for the Titans
a possible NFL prospect as a long snapper and spent the 2010
season backing up Ong at quarterback for the Comets and also
185-pound Murray started at QB against Fullerton College on Oct.
28, when Ong was injured, rushing for 108 yards and two
touchdowns on 12 carries and passing for 146 yards and one TD.
Palomar defensive end and team MVP Zach Gholson, shown
recovering a fumble in win over Pasadena City College, has
excepted a full-ride scholarship to the University of Memphis
and will start classes there on Thursday. -- Photo by Hugh Cox
Palomar MVP Gholson
signs with Memphis
Defensive end Zach Gholson signed with the University of Memphis
on Monday night, will begin classes there on Thursday and is
expected to be a huge factor for the Tigers' defense the next
who transferred back to Palomar from Boise State where he played
in 2009, played in nine of the Comets' 10 games in 2010. He
missed one game due to an injury.
The La Costa
Canyon High School product had
69 tackles (34 solo), 4 tackles for losses, 3 sacks, 6
quarterback hurries, two fumble recoveries and a forced fumble.
He also intercepted a two-point conversion pass, which doesn't
show up in the statistical totals.
Gholson tripped to Memphis over the
weekend and made a verbal commitment to the Tigers.
He briefly delayed signing the
letter after returning from the trip on Sunday at the request of
Nevada, which came on the scene at the last minute after
watching Gholson's highlight video. But Nevada associate head
coach / defensive ends coach Ken Wilson didn't place a scheduled
phone call to him Monday morning, after the Wolf Pack's Kraft
Fight Hunger Bowl victory over Boston College on Sunday evening,
and Gholson signed the letter of intent with Memphis.
"The University of Memphis is a
great school in a great City and they're the one school that
recruited me very heavily and really wanted me," Gholson said.
"They were honest and up front with me the whole way through the
recruiting process and they believe I can make a big
impact in building what they're trying to build. There is
something to be said for going where you are wanted."
Added the 6-foot-4, 250-pound
"They brought in their head coach
(Larry Porter, who will be in his second season at Memphis) off
the LSU staff to turn the program around and my position coach
(Mike DuBose, who also will be in his second season) was the
head coach at Alabama and was an assistant in the NFL (with
Tampa Bay). They're great coaches and are committed to doing
something special at Memphis. And I have an opportunity to be a
big part of that."
Previously, Gholson took visits to
the University of South Dakota, New Mexico State and Middle
Choo Choo Walker, a standout
receiver on Palomar's 1991 J.C. Grid-Wire national
championship team, starred at Memphis (then Memphis State) in
McGrue signs with NAIA
12th-ranked William Penn
Defensive tackle Reggie McGrue has become the third Palomar
football player in the last week to sign with a four-year
6-foot-4, 265-pound sophomore who prepped at Poway High School,
signed with William Penn University in Oskaloosa, Iowa.
went 10-1 during the 2010 season and were ranked No. 12 in the
nation in the final NAIA poll.
the past week, defensive end Zach Gholson signed with the
University of Memphis and quarterb ack Nate Ong signed with Old
Nevada (13-1), with its PC connection, wins
FRANCISCO / OTHER LOCATIONS
Nevada's defense, under coordinator and 1991 Palomar J.C.
Grid-Wire All-American Andy Buh, shut down Boston College's
offense and allowed the Wolf Pack to finish the season 13-1 with
a 20-13 win Sunday evening in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl at
co-champion Wolf Pack, which ended Boise State's win streak in
the next-to-last game of the regular season, included three
former Comets (junior safety Chris Boudreaux, sophomore safety
Dean Faddis (right) and senior receiver Maurice "Mo"
Faddis made a
big tackle on punt coverage in the fourth quarter to pin the
Eagles deep in their own territory.
FORMER COMETS IN 2010-11 POST-SEASON
Bowl / Playoffs
Fight Hunger Bowl
Fight Hunger Bowl
Fight Hunger Bowl
Caleb Evans - x
Martavious Lee - x
Las Vegas Bowl
New Mexico Bowl
FCS (1-AA) Playoffs
Tyler Lorenzen - xx
New Orleans Saints
x - Injured / xx - Practice Team
quarterback Nate Ong passes behind his offensive line vs.
Cerritos. -- Photo by Hugh Cox
Quarterback Nate Ong signs with Old
(1-8-11) -- Old
Dominion University has come in at the 11th hour and signed
Palomar quarterback Nate Ong, who had seen expected offers from
Iowa State and Akron de-materialize at the last minute.
transfer later this month to Old Dominion, a Division I Football
Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) school in
Norfolk, Virginia. He received a full scholarship and will
participate in spring ball for the Monarchs, who are coming off
an 8-3 season.
Ong, who passed
for 3,966 yards and 33 touchdowns for Palomar the past two
seasons, said he was ready to sign with Division II Western New
Mexico when Old Dominion offensive coordinator Brian Scott
contacted him on Jan. 2.
"It's a great
situation for Nate," said Palomar quarterbacks coach Cody
Tefethen. "They run a spread offense very similar to what we
run. And Nate is not a Division II quarterback."
passed for 258.7 yards per game during the recent season.
Ong, who split
time with current New Mexico State starter Matt Christian in
2009, threw for 1,876 yards and 15 touchdown for Palomar as a
red-shirt freshman as the Comets went 10-3, were ranked No. 8 in
the nation by the J.C. Grid Wire and advanced to the
Southern California championship game.
He overcame an
injury to pass for 2,090 yards and 16 touchdowns in nine games
for the 2010 Comets.
quarterbacked Palomar to a near-upset against eventual state and
national champion Mt. SAC. The Comets finally lost to the
Mounties 20-17 on Oct. 16 in Walnut.
Ong finished the
2010 season by throwing for 338 yards and three touchdowns vs.
Saddleback on the road and coming back the next week to pass for
314 yards and five touchdowns in a 43-35 win over rival
Grossmont to close out the year at home.
Dominion's offensive coordinator who recruits Southern
California for the Monarchs, contacted Ong on his Facebook
"I gave him my
(cell) number and he called me within two minutes," Ong said.
Literally within days, Ong went from having a partial
scholarship to a D-II school to a full scholarship at Old
excited," Ong said.
An added bonus
for Ong: His sister is a professor at the University of
Virginia, which is located 2 hours, 53 minutes from Old
Dominion, in Charlottesville.
Saints re-sign former
Palomar QB Lorenzen
(12-20-10) -- The
defending Super Bowl
champion New Orleans
Saints have re-signed
2006 Palomar first-team
Tyler Lorenzen to their
The 6-foot-5, 234-pound
Lorenzen, a former
College Offensive Player
of the Year, switched to
tight end when he
originally signed with
the Jacksonville Jaguars
after his senior season
at the University of
Connecticut, where he
was a two-year starter
at QB. He spent last
season on the Saints'
practice squad before
earning a Super Bowl
ring. He had a strong
2010 pre-season with the
Saints but was among the
last group of players to
get cut on Sept. 4 of
Defensive left end Zach Gholson, pictured recovering a fumble
against Pasadena City College and hauling down an El Camino
College ball-carrier, was named Palomar's MVP on
Wednesday. -- Photos by Hugh Cox. BELOW LEFT: Gholson, who
also was honored at Defensive Player of the Year. BELOW
RIGHT:: Defensive right end, Richie Ma'atafa, who received
the Kevin Kelly Award.
Gholson is honored as
Palomar's team MVP
(12-2-10) -- Zach
Gholson, the 6-foot-4, 250-pound defensive end who was the heart
and soul of Palomar's 2010 defense, was honored as the Comets'
team MVP on Wednesday during the college's awards luncheon at
Ron Rockett, a former Palomar Team MVP who went on to make
All-Mountain West Conference at safety for the University of
Wyoming and played in NFL Europe, presented the award to
Costa Canyon High School / Boise State) also was honored as
Defensive Player of the Year. The big-play Gholson finished with
69 tackles (34 solo), 4 tackles for losses, 3 sacks, 6
quarterback hurries, two fumble recoveries and a forced fumble.
He also intercepted a two-point conversion pass, which doesn't
show up in the statistical totals.
in nine of Palomar's 10 games, missing one game due to an
Running back /
kick returner Tyrese Jones (sophomore, Miami Northwestern High
School ) was Co-MVP, while receiver Jevon Reynolds (sophomore,
Denver South High) was named Offensive Player of the Year.
(sophomore offensive tackle, Vista Murrieta High School in
Murrieta) was Lineman of the Year.
(sophomore quarterback, San Pasqual High) was named offensive
captain, while Casey Malauulu (sophomore linebacker, El Camino
High) was defensive captain.
(sophomore, Temecula Chaparral High), the Comets' 5-foot-11,
230-pound defensive end opposite Gholson, received the
prestigious Kevin Kelly award. The award is named for the
one-time undersized Palomar J.C. Grid-Wire All-American
honorable mention linebacker who went on to become a Division II
All-American and died of cancer during what would have been his
senior season at Eastern New Mexico University.
awards went to Tynan Murray (sophomore, Poway High), James
McNally (sophomore, Escondido High) and sophomore Clinton Parker
Calvin Christian High).
(sophomore linebacker, Oceanside High) won the team grade-point
Improved Player was Keith Alpichi (sophomore linebacker /
defensive end, Temecula Great Oak High). Brad Castleberry
(sophomore fullback, Vista High) was Most Inspirational.
were presented to Xavier McGinnis (sophomore running back,
Oviedo High in Oviedo, FL), Myers, Pat Cashman (sophomore slot
receiver / punt returner, Mountain View High in Bend, OR), Cory Bitting (sophomore safety, Fallbrook High) and Mike Dobbins
(sophomore guard / center, Mission Hills High).
California Football Association National Division Southern
Conference first- and second-team awards were presented to
Jones, Steiner, Dobbins and Dallas Butler (freshman tight end,
Mission Hills High) on offense; and Gholson, Mata'afa, Adam
Witzmann (freshman linebacker, La Costa Canyon High), Meyers,
Devin Willis (sophomore corner, Miami Northwestern High) and
Devin Taverna (freshman safety, Oceanside High) on defense.
(sophomore tight end and special teams player, Mission Hills
High) received the "Above and Beyond" award for overcoming
obstacles to make major contributions.
The Kodak Award
for scout team players went to gray-shirt linebacker Junior
1960s era Palomar coach
Pagakis dead at 85
(12-5-10) -- Chris
Pagakis, Palomar's head football coach during the 1963 and 1964
seasons, died on Nov. 28 at Palomar Medical Center. He was 85.
long-time Vista resident, was an assistant at Palomar under Stu
Carter in 1962, when the Comets went 7-2, allowing only one
opponent to score more than eight points. After he was elevated
to head coach the following season upon Carter's departure,
Pagakis' teams went 5-4 and 3-6 in two seasons.
was Palomar's head men's soccer coach in the 1970s and '80s.
Current Comet soccer coach Carlos Hernandez played for Pagakis.
Prior to joining
Carter's Palomar staff, Pagakis was an assistant under Pat
Mongoven at Vista High School. In 1960, the first year of the
CIF San Diego Section, the Panthers upset Escondido, coached by
the legendary Chick Embrey, 18-0 in the season opener. Vista
lost to Mount Miguel in the first-ever San Diego Section small
schools (Class 1A) finals, while the Cougars went on to win the
first-ever section large schools (Class 2A) title with their
only loss coming to the Panthers..
native of Chicago where he starred at Parker High School, played college football at the University of
Illinois. He was a halfback on the 1950 Fighting Illini team
that was ranked as high as No. 8 in the nation and upset No.
1-ranked Ohio State 14-7 on Nov. 18 at Champagne-Urbana, IL
graduated from the University of Illinois in 1951.
Palomar ranked No. 26 in U.S. by
FOREST (11-30-10) --
JCGridiron.com ranks Palomar, despite its 5-5 record,
No. 26 in the country in community college football.
Mt. SAC, the
defending mythical national champion which plays in the powerful
Southern Conference along with the Comets, is ranked No. 1. Mt.
SAC held off Palomar 20-17 in October at Walnut.
(12-0) defeated Cerritos 51-0 in the Southern California
championship game on Saturday and will host City College of San
Francisco in the CCCAA state championship game on Saturday
(Kansas) is ranked No. 2, San Francisco No. 3, Navarro (Texas)
No. 4, Grand Rapids (Michigan) No. 5, Arizona Western No. 6,
Gulf Coast (Mississippi) No. 7, Snow (Utah) No. 8,
Copiah-Lincoln (Mississippi) No. 9 and Foothill No. 10).
the Comet were ranked No. 8 nationally by the J.C. Grid-Wire /
JCFootball.com of Seattle after going 10-3 and falling to Mt.
SAC in the Southern California championship game.
Comet connection celebrates
win over Boise
Nevada safety Chris "Bubba" Boudreaux ( left), Nevada safety
Dean Faddis (right), Arizona State starting offensive right
tacdkle Brice Schwab (below)
(11-26-10) -- The
University of Nevada, with its sizeable Palomar connection,
pulled off the Upset of the Year in college football on Friday
The Wolf Pack
shocked Boise State 34-31 in overtime and ruined the Broncos'
chances of advancing to the BCS national championship game.
Boudreaux and Dean Faddis both saw action at safety and on
special teams as Nationally No. 19-ranked Nevada, which is 11-1
on the season with its only loss coming against Hawaii in
Honolulu, snapped No. 3 Boise State's 24-game winning streak.
The Wolf Pack
will try to finish the regular-season 12-1 when they play at
Louisiana Tech next Saturday. The Broncos, who hadn't lost since
falling to TCU in the 2008 Holiday Bowl, fell to 10-1.
connection is made up
Junior safety Chris
Boudreaux, who started
the Wolf Pack's season
opener against Eastern
Washington, had seven
tackles and a sack but
suffered a broken thumb
in the game. Since
returning to action,
Boudreaux has played
safety in various
defensive packages and
plays on most of
Nevada's special teams.
He has 16 tackles on the
season, four coming last
week in a 52-6 victory
over New Mexico State.
Sophomore safety Dean
Faddis sees extensive
action at safety and on
special teams and has 26
tackles, a broken-up
pass and a forced
-- Senior receiver
Maurice Patterson has
caught eight passes for
72 yards for the Wolf
coordinator Andy Buh was
a two-year starter at
linebacker for Palomar
in 1991, when he played
on the Comets J.C.
championship team, and
2002 when he was a
previous coaching stops
have included stints at
Nevada, Cal, San Diego
State Fresno State and
Stanford, where he was
before returning to
Faddis and Boudreaux are both looking to start next season and
thus follow in the footsteps of ex-Comet Mike Bethea, who played
for Nevada in 2008 and 2009 and was the Wolf Pack's
second-leading tackler last season at linebacker.
The defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints brought
Bethea to mini-camp prior to the current season. When he did not
stick with the team, Bethea returned to the University of Nevada
where he's finishing work on his degree.
Junior 6-foot-7, 345-pound Brice Schwab is the starting
offensive right tackle for Arizona State, which ended UCLA's
chances for a six-win season, which would make it bowl eligible,
by destroying the Bruins 55-34 on Friday night in Tempe,
Schwab was previously the Sun Devils' starting left tackle, was
briefly demoted to second string after their loss to No. 1
Oregon, but since has resurfaced as their starter at right
Schwab was ranked as the best community college offensive line
prospect in the country a year ago. He initially committed
verbally to USC, then de-committed in December when coach Pete
Carroll resigned .
Schwab cancelled a trip to Oklahoma and transferred to ASU
during winter break., leaving a surprised UCLA coach Rick
Neuhelsel, who didn't realize Schwab had already left for
Arizona State, scurrying around Palomar in a rainstorm searching
Caleb Evans, a 6-foot-4, 254-pound
junior, is a defensive end at Arkansas, which is 10-2, ranked
No. 12, defeat No. 6 LSU 31-26 on Saturday and is hoping for a
Note: Arkansas has moved to No. 8
and Nevada to No. 14 in the Associated Press poll. In the USA
Today Coaches Poll, Arkansas had moved to No. 8 and Nevada
to No. 13.
PLAYING ON 4-YEAR LEVEL THIS SEASON
New Mexico State
Middle Tennessee State
Utah (medical red-shirt)
South Dakota State
Eastern Kentucky (red-shirt)
New Mexico Highlands
Nihon University (Japan)
Devin Taverna hurdles a Grossmont player on his 47-yard
interception return on the game's final play. BELOW LEFT:
Ong completes a pass to Jevon Reynolds (3).. BELOW RIGHT:
Casey Malauulu pressures Grossmont quarterback Ryan Woods.
-- Photos by Hugh Cox
Ong (314 yards, 5 TDs), Comets beat
Sophomore quarterback Nate Ong , playing his final game for
Palomar, went out in style on Saturday afternoon at Wilson Stadium
against rival Grossmont.
So did the Comets'
team, who faced constant adversity in the form of numerous injuries
during the season but closed out a 5-5 year with a 43-35 Southern
Conference victory over the Griffins at Wilson Stadium.
Ong connected on 23
of 32 pass attempts with one interception for 314 yards and five
In Palomar's final
two games, last week vs. Saddleback and on Saturday, Ong threw for a
combined 652 yards and eight TDs.
Three of his TDs
against Grossmont went to Jevon Reynolds, for 8 yards
in the first quarter, 27 yards in the third quarter and 28 yards
with 3:26 left in the game which gave the Comets a 43-28 lead and
clinched the victory.
the day with four receptions for 100 yards in his final game at
The Comets' other
touchdowns came on a 31-yard pass from Ong to Andre Uptgrow, a
30-yard pass from Ong to Mikey Head and a 4-yard run by Armani
Taylor. Roman Ferreria kicked a 33-yard field goal and four extra
returned to the Palomar lineup after an injury and rushed for a net
85 tough yards on 20 carries.
Casey Malauulu led
Palomar defensively with 10 tackles, eight solo.
Devin Taverna had
seven tackles, a pass break-up and an interception and 47-yard
return on the last play of the game.
Keith Alpichi and Zach Gholson each contributed six tackles.
Palomar had a
touchdown called back.
"With all the
injuries during the season and resulting constant changes in
personnel groups, I'm reallhy proud of these guys," coach Joe Early
6-4, including a forfeit win over El Camino after losing to the
Warriors on the field.. The Comets were 2-3 in the Southern
Conference, the Griffins 1-4.
GAME STATS |
ABOVE: Running back
Thomas Worden, a two-time all-state selection from Mentor High
School in Mentor, Ohio, goes up the middle through a hole
created by his offensive line against Saddleback last week. --
Photo by Hugh Cox. BELOW LEFT: Offensive tackle Steve
Steiner. BELOW RIGHT: Center Mike Dobbins. Both will be
playing for the final time for the Comets.
Comets will try to go out in style
Palomar has had its share of great moments during the 2010 football
season, but not in small measure to injury after injury after
injury, the Comets have suffered through a much larger share of
The Comets will have
an opportunity, though, to go out in style on Saturday at 1 p.m.
when they host rival Grossmont at Wilson Stadium on the Escondido
High School campus in their final game of the season.
Grossmont are traditionally the top two teams in San Diego County
and so is the case again this year. The Comets never lost to the
Griffins from 1987 until the last two years, when the Griffins have
challenge," coach Joe Early said. "Their playing for a chance at a
bowl bid. We're playing for pride and bragging rights. We have to be
focused and we have to execute. We want to finish the way we started
(with a victgory over Southwestern back when the Comets were
reasonably healty). We've gone through a lot of adversity and we
want to finish strong."
The Comets are
healthier than they have been in weeks, and one of the key players
coming off the injured list today will be running back Nick
Ricciardulli, who was hurt in a 20-17 near-upset loss to defending
national community college champion and nationally no. 1-ranked Mt.
SAC on Oct. 26.
PALOMAR GAME DAY
Grossmont (6-3 including
forfeit win over El Camino, 1-3 National Conference) at Palomar (4-5, 1-3 National
Day, Date, Time: Saturday,
Nov. 13, 1 p.m.
Site: Wilson Stadium,
Escondido High School
Radio: KKSM-1320 AM;
Cox Digital Cable
Last Year's Score:
Grossmont 29, Nationally
8th-ranked Palomar 26
HT / WT
HIGH SCHOOL / PREVIOUS COLLEGE
Other Notables: David Fisher -- Vista /
Nevada; Tynan Murray -- Poway / Cal Poly / San Diego
Mesa CC; (Game-time decision due to injury)
Miami Northwestern (Miami, FL)
Poway / Humboldt State
Mentor (Mentor, OH)
Other Notable: Xavier McGinniss
-- Oviedo (Oviedo, FL); Armani Taylor-- Oceanside
Mt. Carmel / MT. SAC
Other Notable: Andre Uptgrow --
Carol City (Miami Gardens, FL)
Other Notable: Kyle Greenwood
Denver South (Denver, CO)
Mountain View (Bend, OR)
Vista Murrieta (Murrieta)
Other Notable: Jeremy Garner --
La Costa Canyon
Other Notable: Josh Bell -- East
Bernard (East Bernard, TX)
Other Notable: Mike Dobbins -- Mission
Other Notable: Josh Kaliskas --
Montezuma-Cortez (Cortez, CO)
Other Notable: Jeremy Garner --San
La Costa Canyon
Other Notable: Robert Luth --
HT / WT
HIGH SCHOOL / PREVIOUS COLLEGE
La Costa Canyon / Boise State
Other Notable: David Moodie --
Calvary Murrieta (Murrieta)
Other Notable: Carson Paopao --
Notre Dame Cathlic (Burlington, Ontario, Canada)
Fedral Way (Federal Way, WA)
Other Notable: David Watkins --
Chaparral (Temecula); Fanu Loau -- Los Angeles
Rancho Buena Vista
Other Notables: Reggie McGrue --
Poway; Anthony Occhipinti -- Great Oak
Other Notable: Talas Meyers --
Other Notables: Adam Wittman -- La
Great Oak (Temecula)
Other Notable: Ezra Latu --
Murrieta Valley (Murrieta)
Miami Northwestern (Miami, FL)
Other Notables: E.J. Ross --
Bakersfield; Branden Green -- Ranier (Seattle, WA) /
Central Washington; Josh Jacko --
Rnier (Seattle, WA) / Central Washington University
Miami Northwestern (Miami, FL)
Other Notables: E.J. Ross --
Bakersfield; Josh Jacko --
Other Notable: Cory Bitting --
HIGH SCHOOL / PREVIOUS COLLEGE
FIELD GOAL, EXTRA POINT KICKER
Cathedral Catholic / Whittier College
Cathedral Catholic / Whittier College
Scripps Ranch / San Jose State
Other Notable: Clinton Parker --
Scripps Ranch / San Jose State
Other Notable: Pat Cashman --
Mountain View (Bend, OR)
Miami Northwestern (Miami, FL)
Oviedo (Oviedo, FL)
Other Notables: Nick Ricciardulli
-- Poway; Nigel Westbrook
Mountain View (Bend, OR)
Other Notable: Mikey Head --
Other Notable: Rocco Hemphill --
Ramona; Shaheen Pourfallah -- Scripps Ranch / San Jose
ABOVE: Pat Cashman
slips out of grasp of Saddleback's Temeni Brewster (2) as he
returns a punt a punt 42 yards to the Gauchos' 16-yard line to
set up a touchdown in the second quarter. -- Photos by
Hugh Cox. BELOW LEFT: Quarterback Nate Ong, who passed
for 338 yards and three touchdowns. BELOW RIGHT: Nigel
Westbrooks, who caught six passes for 101 yards.
Ong: 338 yds., 3 TDs in 1,042-yd.
(11-6-10) -- On a
night in which Palomar and nationally 18th-ranked Saddleback
combined for 91 points, 1,042 offensive yards and 58 first downs on
Saturday, Comet quarterback Nate Ong made his best argument for a
The Comets finally
lost the 3-hour, 46-minute marathon 53-38, but not before Ong
completed 23 of 40 passes with 0 interceptions for 338 yards and
three touchdowns. He hooked up with Nigel Westbrooks on a 52-yard
scoring play and with Geoff Akpom for TD plays of 35 and 41 yards.
Ong left the game
with a minor injury in the fourth quarter. Tynan Murray came
in at quarterback and threw for 45 yards, going 4-for-7 before he
was shaken up on a play and left in favor of the Comets' third
quarterback, David Fisher.
The Gauchos' Sean
Reilly was 31-for-50, also with 0 interceptions, for 405 yards
and three TDs in the wild offensive game.
Ong left the game
with a minor injury in the fourth quarter. Tynan Moore came in
at quarterback and threw for 45 yards, going 4-for-7 before he was
shaken up on a play and left in favor of the Comets' third
quarterback, David Fisher.
When it was all
over, Saddleback had advanced to 7-2, 3-1 in the Southern
Conference. Palomar, meanwhile, will try to close out its season at
5-5 next Saturday afternoon at Escondido's Wilson Stadium with a
victory over Grossmont.
The Comets took
early leads of 7-0 on Tyrese Jones' 3-yard touchdown run to cap a
10-play, 65-yard drive with the opening kickoff as Ong efficiently
moved them down the field, and 14-6 on Armani Taylor's 2-yard TD run in the second quarter.
Gauchos scored 19 straight points, nine of them on three of Michael Frisina's four field goals, and the two teams answered back and
forth the rest of the night. Twice, Saddleback scored on the first
play from scrimmage following Palomar touchdowns.
Saddleback led 19-14
at halftime after scoring on a short pass with 34 seconds remaining
in the second quarter to overcome a 14-13 Palomar lead. It was the
Gauchos' firwst lead of the game.
The Comets had
plenty of big performances besides Ong's, including:
Westbrooks' six receptions
for 101 yards and 1 touchdown and Akpom's four catches for
99 yards and the 2 TDs.
Three catches each by Mikey
Head (for 40 yards), Pat Cashman (for 37 yards) and Jevon
Reynolds. Cashman, who had two punt returns for 52 yards,
broke a tackle as he received a punt which he returned it 42
yards to the Saddleback 16 to set up the 2-yard second-quarter
touchdown run by Armani Taylor.
Jones' seven kickoff
returns for 193 yards.
Devin Taverna's and Keith
Alpichi's 10 tackles each (including 6 solo tackles each).
Also on the defensive side of the ball, 8 tackles by Ronnie
Kuan, 6 tackles and 1 pass break-up by Devin Willis and 5
tackles each by Adam Witzmann, Zach Gholson and Dutch
Hapgood and 2 tackles for losses, 1 sack and 1 quarterback
hurry by Richie Mata'afa.
intercepted a pass on a 2-point conversion attempt, which doesn't
show up in the regular game stats, and a QB hurry (which does).
GAME STATS |
Zach Gholson, shown recovering a fumbled snap from center last
Saturday in Palomar's 17-10 victory at Pasadena City College,
plays a key role at defensive end. No. 12 is PCC quarterback
Caleb Fore. -- Photo by Hugh Cox. BELOW: Running back /
kickoff returner Nick Ricciardulli, who returns from the injured
list Saturday after being hurt in the Comets' 25-21 loss to
nationally top-ranked Mt. SAC on Oct. 16.
Nationally 8th-ranked Saddleback is
(11-5-10) -- Palomar
pretty much ruined Saddleback's season a year ago when the Comets
went on the road the next-to-last game of the regular season and
beat the Gauchos 27-21.
Saddleback out of the playoffs and put Palomar into the playoffs,
where the Comets eliminated both Cerritos and Fullerton before
finally losing in the Southern California championship game to
eventual state and national champion Mt. SAC.
In the next-to-last
game of 2010, the Comets will be back at Saddleback College Field
Saturday at 6 p.m. to try to play havoc with the Gauchos' season
again. Saddleback comes in 6-2, 2-1 in the Southern Conference,
rated the nation's toughest, and is ranked No. 8 in the nation by
the J.C. Grid-Wire after losing to No. 1 Mt. SAC 33-31 last
Palomar fell to Mt.
SAC 20-17 on Oct. 16 in Walnut.
There will be no
playoff appearance for Palomar this yearn, but the Comets can assure
themselves of a bowl bid by beating Saddleback on Saturday evening
and Grossmont to close out the regular season a week from Saturday
afternoon at home at Wilson Stadium in Escondido.
Ferreria is Southern Conference
Player of Week
(11-3-10) -- Palomar
sophomore kicker Roman Ferreria has been selected as Special
Teams Player of the Week for the Southern California
Football; Association's Southern Conference.
Ferreria, a Cathedral Catholic High School product, kicked a
36-yard field goal on his only attempt of lthe night, was
2-for-2 on PATs and kicked off four times for a 66.5-yard
average in Saturday's 17-10 victory at Pasadena City College.
(ACTION PHOTO OF ROMAN FERRERIA'S FIELD GOAL FROM SATURDAY'S
PASADENA GAME BY HUGH COX)
ABOVE: Palomar's Mikey Head makes a spectacular reception
on a Nate Ong pass that went for a 38 yards and a first down at
the 50 to set up Roman Ferreria's field goal.. The ball bounced
off Pasadena's Jerry Dixon's (No. 19) shoulder pads. ABOVE
LEFT: Pasadena's Charles Tua'au grabs Tyrese Jones' facemask
ABOVE RIGHT: Robert Luth recovers a fumbled punt to set up
the winning touchdown. -- Photos
by Hugh Cox. BOTTOM LEFT: Zach Gholson, who led the
Comets' big defensive effort. BOTTOM RIGHT: Dallas
Butler, who caught the winning TD pass from Ong with 5:54 left
in the game.
Huge game by Gholson, pass
to Butler win it
(10-30-10) -- A
monster game by defensive end Zach Gholson, a key recovery of
a fumbled punt by Robert Luth and a 10-yard touchdown pass from Nate
Ong to wide-open tight end Dallas Butler propelled Palomar
to a 17-10 road football victory over Pasadena City College on
Gholson, the Boise
State transfer who has become more dominant with each passing week,
short-circuited the Lancers' speed-driven offense all evening long
with 11 tackles (eight solo), 2.5 tackles for losses, a fumble
recovery and 1.5 sacks.
With the game tied
at 10-10, Luth recovered DaMonte Bell's fumble of Rocco Hemphill's
38-yard punt at the Pasadena 40. The Comets drove 40 yards in eight
plays and scored the winning touchdown from the 10 with 5:54 to play
when Ong threw to Butler coming across the middle of the end zone,
his second TD pass of the game..
a wide receiver and the other tight end," said Butler of the winning
TD, which came out of a two tight-end set. "I was wide open. There
was no one near me. I was all by myself."
Ferreria's kickoff down to the PCC 3-yard line and Danny Robinson's
19-yard return out to the 22, the Comets held forced the Lancers to
punt. Adam Witzmann sacked Pasadena quarterback Caleb Fore for a
5-yard loss on third down.
Punt returner Pat
Cashman's alert sprint out to the 50-yard line to fair catch an
18-yard kick by Brian Gonzalez saved Palomar valuable field position
and that's where the Comets took over with 3:01 top play.
But Tyrese Jones
fumbled on Palomar's first play from scrimmage, and Pasadena's
Kealil Latuselu recovered at the Comets' 34.
rose up again, as it had all night long. The Comets took over on
downs at their own 30 after back-to-back tackles by David Watkins
and Witzmann for inconsequential yardage on second-and-third downs
and Tala Meyers' break-up of an attempted Fore-to-Robinson pass on
On the first play
from scrimmage, Jones (135 yards rushing on 24 carries) took a
hand-off from Ong out of a tight, double-tight end set and raced 66
yards to the Pasadena 4-yard line, where he was hauled down by
Palomar transfer Tevin McCaskill.
The Comets ran out
the clock on a dive play into the line and a take-a-knee play by Ong
on the final play.
Pasadena (4-4, 0-3
in the Southern Conference) had driven 78 yards with the game's
opening kickoff to go on top 7-0. Palomar tied it up on a 4-yard
touchdown pass from Ong to Jevon Reynolds Ferreira's PAT kick with
5:00 left in the first quarter.
Ong set up the TD
with three straight completions to Geoff Akpom, Reynolds and Cashman
which covered a cumulative 52 yards down to the PCC 7.
Gonzalez and Ferreira traded field goals of 33 and 36 yards in the
second and third quarters, respectfully. That made it 10-10 and set
the stage for the winning touchdown drive.
Mikey Head, who made
a spectacular grab at the 50 of a 31-yard pass from Ong that bounced
off a PCC defender's shoulder pads. The catch came
on the drive that resulted in Ferreria's field goal, Akpom and
Cashman had three receptions each for a combined 97 yards for the
Meyers (6 tackles, 5
solo, 2 tackles for losses, 1 pass break-up and 1 sack), Witzmann (8
tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 sack), Richie Mata'afa (7 tackles, 3.5
tackles for losses, 1 sack), Dutch Hapgood (6 solo tackles, 2
tackles for losses), Devin Willis (6 solo tackles) and Reggie McGrue
(6 tackles, 0.5 sacks) joined Gholson with big defensive games.
Gholson had a big fumble recovery with just under 5 minutes left.
Palomar will take
records of 4-4 on the season, 1-2 in conference to Saddleback next
Saturday evening. The Gauchos lost 32-31 to nationally top-ranked
Mt. SAC on Saturday night when they failed on a two-point conversion
on the last play of the game.
GAME STATS |
Quarterback Tynan Murray
runs for a first down against Fullerton College last week. --
Photo by Hugh Cox. BELOW LEFT: Nate Ong, who will start
at QB coming off an injury. Both he and Murray will play.
Comets visit talented Pasadena on
(10-29-10) -- Two
teams who are better than their records will be looking to right
their seasons heading into the home stretch will square off on
Saturday when Palomar travels to Pasadena City College for a 6 p.m.
National Conference match-up.
The Comets enter the
game with records of 3-4 on the year and 0-2 in the National
Division after tough back-to-back losses to nationally No. 1-ranked
and defending national champion Mt. SAC (by three points two weeks
ago) and No. 26 Fullerton (by five points last week).
The Lancers, who won
their first four games, come in 4-3 and 0-2.
"Pasadena is very
athletic and has outstanding speed," Palomar coach Joe Early said.
"They're ready to get back on track. We'd better be ready to get
back on track too. We've got to come out and play well."
Nate Ong, who was
injured in the Mt. SAC game and missed last week's game, will return
to Palomar's starting lineup against PCC. Tynan Murray, who was
responsible for all three Comet touchdowns vs. Fullerton (two by
passing, one by running) also will see heavy action at QB.
E.J. Johnson (21) recovers a muffed punt against Fullerton on
Saturday night. BELOW
LEFT: Brandon Green breaks up a Fullerton pass in the end
zone. -- Photos by Hugh Cox. BELOW
RIGHT: Quarterback Tynan Murray, who rushed for two of Palomar's three
touchdowns and passed the other in his first start.
Palomar wastes big starting debut by
(10-23-10) -- Tynan
Murray, making his first start of the season at quarterback
in place of the injured Nate Ong, played an unforgettable game for
Palomar against Fullerton on Saturday evening.
The outcome for the
Comets, however? It couldn't have been more forgettable.
trailing 14-3 midway through the second quarter and 21-20 midway
through the fourth quarter, came back to win the Southern Conference
match-up 26-21 at Wilson Stadium, scoring the winning touchdown with
7:02 to play on a 16-yard pass from Darius Banks to Lavon Davis.
Murray, out of Poway
High School and a transfer from San Diego Mesa, ran for two
touchdowns and passed for another but the Comets found themselves
with their backs to the wall trying to get into a bowl game entering
the last three weeks of the season.
Murray finished the
night with 108 NET yards rushing on 12 carries and 146 yards passing on
15 completions in 27 attempts.
He gave Palomar
(3-4, 0-2 in the Southern Conference) a 7-0 lead with a five yard
touchdown run with 10:13 left in the first quarter. He gave the
Comets a 14-3 lead with 7:09 left in the half on an 11-yard
touchdown pass to Jevon Reynolds.
And Murray broke off
a 54-yard TD run with 2:08 left in the third quarter that, along
with Roman Ferreira's third conversion of the night, brought the
Comets back from a 6-point deficit and put them back on top 21-20.
"But I'd trade it
all for a win. Believe me," Murray answered coach Joe Early when he
congratulated him on what Early described as a "great" game."
Said Early about
Murray in a post-game interview in the North County Times:
"That guy's amazing. He put the team on his back with some of the
things he did. After he scored, he was snapping on puns and PATs. I
have the utmost respect for what he was able to do."
But they were unable
to hold on as Fullerton moved to 5-2, 2-0.
Tyrese Jones rushed for 76 yards on 18 carries for the Comets and returned
four kickoffs for 107 yards. Nigel Westbrooks (3 catches for 65
yards), Jevon Reynolds (3 receptions for 35 yards and a touchdown),
Dallas Butler (two catches for 17 yards, Geoff Adams (two catches
for 17 yards) and Pat Cashman (two receptions for 9 yards) all had
Defensive end Zach
Gholson led Palomar defensively with nine tackles, eight of them
solo, 0.5 tackles for losses and 0.5 sacks. Other defensive leaders
for the Comets were Tala Meyers (7 tackles, 6 solo, 2 tackles for
losses), Devin Taverna (7 tackles, 6 solo), Devin Willis (6 tackles,
5 solo, 2 pass break-ups) and Adam Witzmann 6 tackles, 1 tackle for
loss , 1 quarterback hurry).
intercepted a pass.
The game was a
rematch of last season's Southern California semi-finals, won by the
Comets 38-36 in three overtimes at Cal State Fullerton's Titan
GAME STATS |
COMETS COME UP A YARD SHORT TWICE AND LOSE --
North County Times, 10/24/10
Linebacker Clinton Parker, who plays a big role on special
teams, returns a short kickoff for 10 yards against Cerritos.
Other Comets on the kickoff return team in the picture: James
McNally (10), Jason Klingerman (36), Dallas Butler (82) and
Xavier McGinniss (22). -- Photo by Hugh Cox. BELOW LEFT:
Pat Cashman, who plays slot receiver, returns punts and holds on
kicks, is a key for the Comets on offense and special teams.
BELOW RIGHT: Tynan Murray, a 7-foot-1 high jumper who will
make his first start at quarterback for the injured Nate Ong.
Comets will host familiar foe
Palomar, facing a "must win" situation in an effort to keep its
hopes alive in the Southern Conference, will renew one of its most
intense rivalries when the Comets host Fullerton on Saturday evening
at Escondido High School's Wilson Stadium.
Kickoff is slated
for 6 p.m.
"If this is anything
like our last two games against them, it will be really
entertaining," said Comets coach Joe Carly.
The Comets and
Hornets played twice last season. Fullerton held off Palomar 20-17
in a regular-season game in Escondido on Halloween night. The Comets
returned the favor 38-36 in three overtimes in the Southern
California semifinals in November at Cal State Fullerton.
Palomar is coming
off back-to-back games which the Comets beat El Camino, ranked No. 8
in the nation at the time, 25-21 and dropped a 20-17 near-upset
decision to Mt. SAC, which is the defending national champion
and is ranked No. 1 in the nation, both on the road. Palomar had the
ball and all the momentum late in the fourth quarter against the
Mounties after coming back from a 20-3 deficit -- but was unable to
quite get over the hump.
"We've got to go in
there with the same conviction we played with against Mt. SAC,"
Early said. "When you play Fullerton," he added, referring to the
Hornets' penchant for trick plays in just about every kind of
situation, especially on punts and kick returns, "you've got to
expect the unexpected."
Pasadena City College 56-28 last Saturday.
The Comets will have
two new starters in the offensive backfield. Tynan Murray gets his
first start of the season at quarterback with Nate Ong listed as
"doubtful" due to an injury. Tyrese Jones will be at tailback in
place of Nick Riccardulli, who was hurt in the fourth quarter vs.
Mt. SAC last week.
Palomar's Nick Riciardulli cuts off a block by tackle Steve
Steiner (75) vs. nationally No. 1-ranked and defending national
champion Mt. SAC. -- Photo by Deb Hellman BELOW LEFT:
James McNally, who blocked a punt. BELOW RIGHT:
Bradley Castleberry, whose blocking after he was inserted into
the game at fullback spark the Comets' late success running the
ball as they battled back in the game.
Comets' comeback vs. No 1
Mt. SAC just short
Palomar, bidding for a second straight late comeback football
win against one of the nation's top community college teams on
Saturday afternoon, fell just short against defending state and
national champion Mt. SAC.
ranked No. 1 in the nation by both the J.C. Grid-Wire and
JCGridiron.com, held off the Comets 20-17 on an
interception in the game's final minute.
It was the
Southern Conference opener for both teams.
had scored 19 unanswered points in the game's final 9 minutes, 48 seconds
to hand then No. 8-ranked El Camino its first loss 25-21 on the
road two weeks ago, spotted Mt. SAC a 20-3 lead late in the
third quarter on Saturday.
straight three-and-out possessions by the Mounties (6-0), the
Comets closed to within three points on a 4-yard touchdown run
by Nick Riciardulli with 1:34 left in the third
and, after Riciardulli departed with a leg injury, a 26-yard TD
run by Tyrese Jones as the clock began winding
down in the fourth quarter.
Getting the ball
back at the Palomar 14 with 2:14 remaining after forcing Mt.
SAC's 10th punt of the afternoon, the Comets started to drive
again but saw an interception by the
Mounties' Tevita Palu with 53 seconds to go.
without any timeouts left, Mt. SAC quarterback Nick Lamaison, a
transfer from the University of Tennessee, took two straight
knees as the clock ran out.
"I was real,
real proud of the way we grinded and hung in there and came
back," Palomar coach Joe Early said.
"Mt. SAC is very
good defensively -- there's a reason they're ranked No. 1 in the
country -- but we came back on them."
Defense kept the
Comets in the game all afternoon long, led by Tala Meyers (10
tackles), Devin Taverna (8 tackles, a late pass break-up and 1/2
tackle for loss, Keith Alpichi (8 tackles 1 tackles for loss),
Zach Gholson (8 tackles), Devin Willis (7 tackles, 1 pass
break-up and a blocked PAT attempt) and James McNally, who
blocked a punt in the first quarter.
unable to take advantage of the blocked punt, which gave them
a first-and-10 at the Mt. SAC 15 in the first quarter. That
possession resulted in a missed field goal.
later kicked a 36-yard field goal for the Comets with 3:09 to
play in the first half.
comeback, after they had minus rushing yardage at halftime,
coincided with Riciardulli's inside runs and the blocking of
fullback Bradley Castleberry, a 5-foot-9, 245-pounder who was
inserted in the game.
Ong, who had eight straight completions at one point in the
fourth quarter, was 24-for-34 passing for 202 yards. Nigel Westbrooks (5
catches for 47 yards), Geoff Akpom (4 for 58 yards) and Pat
Cashman (4 for 45 in traffic) came of big among Palomar's
three receptions for 39 yards from Ong on Palomar's last
touchdown drive. He also returned four punts, one for 49 yards
and held on kicks when the regular holder was a no-show on game
"We've got got
to put this one behind us because we have Fullerton next
(Saturday night, Oct. 23, in Escondido)," Early said. "I don't
see anyone going unbeaten in our conference."
Mt. SAC ran its
two-year win streak to 16 games, a school record. But not
without its biggest scare of the streak The Mounties are 6-0,
while the Comets are 3-3.
GAME STATS |
COMETS' COMEBACK FALLS SHORT AT MT. SAC --
North County Times, 10/17/10
ABOVE: Uriah McBryde (28) and
Casey Malauulu (43) bring down El Camino College's Peter Walton
during Palomar's 25-21 victory over the then-No. 8
nationally-ranked Warriors two weeks ago. No. 16 is Tala Meyers.
BELOW: Nick Ricciardulli rambles for a first down against
the Warriors. Palomar is ranked No. 30 in the nation.-- Photos by Hugh Cox
Defending national champ, No. 1 Mt.
(10-15-10) -- Last
week's bye may have come at the perfect time for Palomar, which has
a chance to accomplish something great on Saturday afternoon.
The Comets, coming off a big win at then-nationally eighth-ranked El
Camino two weeks ago, go on the road to play defending national
champion and current No. 1-ranked Mt. SAC. The Comets are ranked No.
30 nationally by JCGridiron.com
Kickoff for the
rematch of last year's Southern California community college
championship game between the Comets (3-2) and Mounties (5-0) will
be at 1 p.m. at Hilmer Lodge Stadium on the Mt. SAC campus. It will
be the Southern California Football Association Southern Conference
opener for both teams.
While the Comets
were ranked eighth nationally by the J.C. Grid-Wire of
before losses to current No. 11 Cerritos and No. 20 Santa Ana, the
Mounties have been top-ranked all season long by both the
Grid-Wire and Lake Forest, CA-based JCGridiron.com.
"It will be a great
challenge," Palomar coach Joe Early said. "They're the No. 1 team i
the country. We grinded all night long against El Camino. It's the same thing we have to do Saturday."
Said Early about the
value of the bye week coming when it did: "I've never seen a team
with so many injuries, especially so many season-ending injuries.
But the bye helped get some of the guys whose injuries weren't
Nate Ong was the Southern Conference Offensive Player of the Week
two weeks ago after throwing for three touchdowns in the last 10
minutes to bring the Comets from behind against El Camino.
Mt. SAC quarterback Nick Lamaison, a
6-foot-1, 210-pound sophomore transfer from the University of Tennessee, was
22-for-38 passing for 398 yards and a touchdown in the Mounties'
34-30 victory on the road over current No. 8 Bakersfield two
weeks ago. Mt. SAC, like most Southern California teams, also
had a bye last week.
The Mounties also have beaten
Riverside Community College, College of the Desert, College of
the Canyons and Victor Valley, which means Palomar has played
the decidedly tougher schedule leading up to the conference
Over the years, Palomar has beaten
Mt. SAC three times when the Mounties came in ranked No. 1 in
quarterback Nate Ong, running for a first down here in the
second half of Saturday's 25-21 victory over El Camino, is the
SCFA Southern Conference Offensive Player of the Week. -- Photo
by Hugh Cox
Ong is conference Offensive Player
of the Week
(10-5-10) -- The
Southern California Football Association has honored Palomar's Nate
Onga 6-foot-3, 210-pound sophomore quarterback from San Pasqual High
School, as Southern Conference Offensive Player of the Week.
Ong guided the
Comets to three unanswered touchdowns in the final 9 minutes, 48
seconds Saturday evening and a 25-21 upset victory over J.C.
Grid-Wire nationally No. 8-ranked El Camino at the Warriors'
Murdoch Stadium in Torrance.
Ong threw for three
touchdowns in the final 1 1/2 quarters -- for 20 yards to sophomore
wide receiver Geoff Akpom in the third quarter and for 5 yards
to freshman tight end Dallas Butler and 20 yards to sophomore slot
receiver Mikey Head in the fourth quarter.
The TD strike to
Head gave the Comets the lead for the first time in the game, and
the upset, with 40 seconds to play.
defensive end and Boise
State transfer Zach
Gholson hauls down El
quarterback Omar Herrera
on Saturday night in
Torrance. Gholson's nine
tackles, forced fumble,
fumble recovery and
instrumental in the
Comets' 25-21 upset win. -- Photo by Hugh
Cox. BELOW LEFT:
Mikey Head, who caught
the winning touchdown
pass from Nate Ong with
40 seconds to play. BELOW
Ricciardulli, who rushed
for 103 yards and had
152 all-purpose yards...
11 yrs. later,
Comets return debt,
upset No. 8 EC
10-3-10) -- Eleven
years after El Camino College upset Palomar's nationally No.
1-ranked and defending J.C. Grid-Wire national championship
team in the fifth week of the 1999 season, the Comets returned the
favor in equally-stunning fashion on Saturday night.
Comets, left for road kill after a painful loss to Santa Ana at home
one week earlier, stunned the No. 8-ranked Warriors, handing them
their first loss of the season 25-21 at Murdoch Stadium. Nate Ong
threw a 20-yard touchdown strike to slot receiver Mikey Head with 20
seconds left to win a game in which Palomar had trailed all the way.
“I’d have to say that was my biggest
catch ever,” Head, a sophomore from Ramona High School, told the
San Diego Union-Tribune (see link below). “It was a corner route
and Nate threw the ball right over my shoulder into my hands.”
Added Ong to the Union-Tribune:
“We were in an empty set (no running backs) and they were blitzing
from the left,. They were in a zero coverage and tried to cover
Mikey with a linebacker. Mikey is too fast for that, and I was able
to hit him in the left corner of the end zone.”
even deader than road kill Saturday, putting up what appeared to be
a futile fight attempting to trade blows toe-to-toe with an El
Camino team that had taken over the Comets' original No. 8
Grid-Wire national ranking.
The Warriors led
21-6 with less than 10 minutes remaining in the non-conference game.
But the Comets'
appearance proved to be a deception. Running back Nick Ricciardulli,
accelerating through holes opened by his offensive line or skirting
around end, ignited a late effort that brought Palomar back to
life -- and to victory -- as he rushed for the majority of his
16-carry, 103-yard effort in the final 9 minutes, 48 seconds.
unit, led by end Zach Gholson (9 tackles, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble
recovery, 3 pass break-ups), left El Camino black and blue -- and
stunned -- with booming hits, violent tackles for losses and sacks
and three big turnovers.
And Ong, after a
fruitless first half in which Palomar fell behind 14-0 as the Comets
were virtually unable to generate any passing offense, returned to
life along with the rest of the team and supplied the bullet that
put the Warriors away.
Ong, who had
come up with much of what offense the Comets could muster in the first
half by running the ball himself, threw for almost all his 161
passing yards and two of his three touchdown tosses as Palomar
outscored El Camino 19-0 in that final 9:48.
The late TDs in the
closing barrage came on a 5-yard pass from Ong to tight end Dallas
Butler, a 1-yard sneak by back-up QB Tynan Murray when Ong left the
game briefly with what appeared to be a broken finger on his left
hand and the game-winning 20-yard toss to Head.
previous points had come midway through the third quarter on a
20-yard pass from Ong to Geoff Akpom.
17-for-29 passing. Jevon Reynolds (six receptions), Akpom, Andre
Uptgrow and Butler all caught multiple passes and the Comets also
got 120 yards in kickoff returns from Xavier McGinniss, Ricciardulli
and Thomas Worden, 37 tough punt return yards from Pat Cashman and a
15-yard burst from Armani Taylor which gave them most of the
first-half offense that Ong's runs didn't.
supplied nine tackles, Uriah McBryde had eight tackles, and Tala
Meyers came up big with six tackles, two tackles for losses, a
forced fumble, a pass break-up and two sacks. Cory Bitting sent an
El Camino helmet flying off a ball-carrier's head. Ritchie Mata'afa
recovered a fumble. Devin Willis blocked a field goal attempt. Stuart Hielscher intercepted a pass.
all-purpose yards) set up a touchdown with a run to the El Camino
3-yard line, Butler set up another with a 22-yard catch-and-run to
the 10. And Shaheen Pourfallah deposited a punt at the 1-yard line.
Palomar advanced to
3-2. El Camino suffered its first loss in four games.
The Comets get a bye
next week to hopefully get a little healthier before a 1 p.m. road
game on Oct. 16 at defending national champion and nationally No.
1-ranked Mt. SAC, the team that beat them in last year's Southern
California championship game.
GAME STATS |
COMETS RALLY TO UPSET NO. 8 EL CAMINO --
North County Times, 10/3/10
PALOMAR FINISHES STRONG AGAINST NO. 8 EL CAMINO -- San
Diego Union Tribune, 10/3/10
Former Cathedral Catholic High School All-CIF San Diego Section
selection Roman Ferreira kicks out of Shaheen Pourfallah's hold
last week against Santa Ana. No. 41 is Robert Luth, who is a key
player on most of Palomar's special teams and also plays tight
end. Ferreira kicked a 46-yard field goal against the Dons. --
Photo by Hugh Cox. BELOW: Defensive end Zach Gholson (La
Costa Canyon High), who played in nine games last season for
Boise State as a freshman.
Comets play at USA No. 8-ranked
(10-1-10) -- Palomar
has played some of best football ever over the years against El
Camino at Murdoch Stadium on the El Camino campus, and the Comets
need one of those efforts in Saturday's 6 p.m. game.
Comets, who were ranked No. 8 nationally by the J.C. Grid-Wire
before being upset by Cerritos three weeks ago, were still No.
12 when Santa Ana upset them last week and exited the rankings this
week, will have to dig down deep against the Warriors -- who are
this week's new No. 8.
"We're playing a
team that's 4-0, and we've struggled," coach Joe Early said. "It's
going to be a challenge. We've got to have guys step up. We're thin
right now with the injuries. We've got to play hard and we've got to
Palomar (2-2) gets
right guard Mike Dobbins back after missing last week's game with a
sinus and face infection, and get pre-season second-team
All-American left tackle Steve Steiner back after he had to leave
last week's game with what was first thought to be a concussion but
turned out to be severe dehydration.
Also, defensive end
Zach Gholson, who played in nine games for Boise State last season
as a freshman, is back healthy again. He was back on the field
against Santa Ana but was still slowed by a leg injury sustained
against current nationally No. 6-ranked Cerritos.
Early hopes those
three players can help the Comets overcome all the other injuries..
For the second week in a row, Pat Cashman had a long punt return
called back (see flag)This one would have been a 49-yarder..BELOW LEFT: Jevon
Reynolds, hauls in a first-down pass from Nate Ong.. BELOW
RIGHT: Tight end Dallas Butler on his way to a first down on
a reception from Ong. No. 16 is Tala Meyers. -- Photos by Hugh
Dons, mistakes, more injuries do in
(9-25-10) -- A
quicker, physical Santa Ana team, crucial Palomar mistakes and more
injuries combined to do in the Comets on Saturday evening at Wilson
The Dons (3-1)
rolled up 560 yards in total offense to take a 49-27 victory as the
Comets fell to 2-2 going into their final non-conference game next
Saturday night at El Camino College.
Akeelie Mustafa, a
freshman running back from Cypress High School, had a career day for
the unranked Dons against the nationally No. 12-ranked Comets.
With Santa Ana's
offensive line blowing open holes against Palomar's injury-decimated
defensive line, Mustafa racked up 304 all-purpose yards.
Mustafa scored five
touchdowns, one short of the Santa Ana record set by Al Clayes, who
tallied six TDs vs. Imperial Valley (then known as El Centro Junior
College) in an 80-7 Dons victory 86 years ago, in 1924.
Mustafa rushed for
214 yards and touchdowns of 3, 49, 6 and 59 yards on 16 carries, had
a 69-yard touchdown on one reception from quarterback Andrew
McDonald and also returned two kickoffs for 21 yards.
Santa Ana scored 35
points in the second quarter to take a 42-6 halftime lead. Roman
Ferreira kicked two first-half field goals for Palomar, for 32 yards
in the first quarter and 46 yards in the second quarter.
Palomar came to life
in the second half, scoring the last 18 points of the game on a
13-yard pass from Nate Ong to Matt Laws, a 3-yard run by Ong, a
5-yard pass from Ong to Pat Cashman and three Ferreira extra points.
But, by the time it
was over, Palomar had 12 players leave the field with injuries and
it appears two of them are lost for the season. That's on top of all
the injuries the Comets already had.
"We're decimated by
the injuries," coach Joe Early said.
"As far as the first
half is concerned," Early added, "the biggest thing is how you
respond to something like that, and I liked the way we responded in
the second half."
The Comets managed
375 offensive yards of their own, 172 yards on the ground and 203
yards through the air.
Ong, who left the
game twice and returned twice, was 22-for-37 passing for 190 yards
and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 59 net yards and a touchdown.
Tynan Murray, who came on in Ong's place at quarterback and sparked
one of the Comets' touchdown drives, added 50 net yards rushing on
six carries, including a 26-yard gain.
Jevon Reynolds (5
catches for 37 yards), Nigel Westbrooks (4 for 44 yards), Dallas
Butler (3 for 29 yards) and Mikey Head (3 for 20 yards) led the
returned five kickoffs for 120 yards, including a 46-yarder. Xavier
McGinniss added 82 yards on three kickoff returns.
Cashman had a long
punt return called back because of a penalty for the second week in
a row, this one a 49-yarder to the Santa Ana 27-yard line. He had a
60-yard touchdown return nullified against San Diego Mesa last
Kenny York punted
three times for a 41.3-yard average, including a 55-yarder.
Safety Devin Taverna
led Palomar with nine tackles, including a half tackle for loss.
Zach Gholson had seven tackles., also including a half tackle for
loss. Deevin Willis and Dutch Hopgood each contributed five tackles.
David Moodie recovered a fumble.
Nick Ricciardulli, diving into the end zone for a touchdown in
last week's 40-3 blowout of San Diego Mesa, has been trading off
with Tyrese Jones at tailback but is expected to carry most of
the load at the position Saturday evening against Santa Ana.
Whether Jones, who has been injured this week, will play will be
a game-time decision, with Ricciardulli starting in any case. --
Photo by Hugh Cox. BELOW: Strong safety Cory Bitting,
whose hits have helped key the Comets' defense.
No. 12 Comets host smash-mouth
(9-24-10) -- Two
things are certain about Santa Ana College, the team Palomar will
match 2-1 records against in a non-conference game on Saturday at 6
p.m. at Escondido High School's new-ly renovated Wilson Stadium.
No. 1, the Comets
will be facing a team that bears absolutely no resemblance to the
San Diego Mesa squad they pounded 40-3 last Saturday evening in San
No. 2, the Dons, who
always put a smash-mouth team on the field, will be prepared.
well-coached (under head coach Geoff Jones). They're a quality
program. They're a quality team," Palomar coach Joe Early says of
the Dons, who beat Santa Monica 56-17 last week after leading 56-3
through three quarters.
"We've got to be
concerned with penalties and missed opportunities," Early added.
"It's difficult to beat a team of this quality when you're out there
The Comets have been
hurt by both penalties and missed opportunities -- at least until
the second half last week when they blew the game open against the
Palomar will get
injured players back this week, particularly on defense, but
tailback Tyrese Jones, who scored three touchdowns vs. Mesa,
offensive guard/center Mike Dobbins tight end Cory Soto are listed
as doubtful for the game. Jones and Dobbins both have been slowed by
injuries this week, Dobbins by a sinus infection.
who has been switching off with Jones, will have the starting job
all to himself against the Dons.
The Comets, who were
ranked as high as eighth before losing to current sixth-ranked
Cerritos two weeks ago, inched up a spot spot back to No. 12 in the
nation in the Seattle-based J.C. Grid-Wire / JCFootball.com
rankings this week.
Mt. SAC is No. 1
this week, followed by No. 2 College of San Mateo, No. 3 City
College of San Francisco, No. 4 Mississippi Gulf Coast, No. 5 Butler
(Kansas), No. 6 Cerritos, No. 7 Bakersfield, No. 8 El Camino, No. 9
Navarro (Texas), No. 10 Coffeyville (Kansas), No. 11 Blinn (Texas)
and the No. 12 Comets.
ABOVE: Palomar's Pat Cashman
returns a punt 60 yards for an apparent touchdown in 40-3 win over
San Diego Mesa on Saturday night. No. 20 is Cory Bitting, and No. 81
is Saltavious Jackson. The touchdown was called because of a
penalty.BELOW: Tyrese Jones scores on a 19-yard run for his
third touchdown. -- Photosby Hugh Cox.
Comets roll 40-3 as Jones
tallies three TDs
(9-18-10) -- After
an out-of-sync first half which saw penalties stall Palomar time
after the time, the Comets exploded to bury host San Diego Mesa 40-3
in a non-conference football game on Saturday evening.
Running back Tyrone
Jones scored Palomar's first three touchdowns of the night on runs
of 1 yard in the first quarter, 5-yards in the second quarter and 39
yards in the third quarter. Jones rushed for 82 yards on 13 carries,
and also had a 6-yard reception.
The Comets broke the
game wide open in the fourth quarter on a 3-yard touchdown pass from
Nate Ong to fullback Bradley Castleberry, a 1-yard run by Nick
Roicciardulli (86 yards on 14 carries) and a late 77-yard
keeper by University of Nevada transfer David Fisher, their third
quarterback of the night.
Fisher faked a
handoff into the line and took off on his TD sprint, racing
untouched to the North end zone at Merrill Douglas Stadium.
Dallas Butler set up
two of Palomar's touchdowns. His 25-yard punt return down to the
12-yard line set up a Jones touchdown. And his 26-yard catch of
an Ong pass set up Castleberry's TD.
meanwhile, was the lead blocker on Jones' 5-yard TD, taking out two
Mesa defenders on the play.
Ong and Tynan
Murray, who was Mesa's starting quarterback a year ago before
transferring to Palomar, combined for 24 pass completions on 42
attempts for 233 yards.
(seven catches for 54 yards), Nigel Westbrooks (five for 54), Matt
Laws (three for 26) and Pat Cashman (two for 22) led Palomar's
Palomar had a
60-yard punt return for a touchdown by Cashman called back in the
second quarter and an apparent 30-yard fumble return by nose guard
Stuart Helscher nullified. The official ruled he saw the Mesa ball
carrier down on the play but didn't blow the play dead because he
couldn't find his whistle.
Strong safety Cory
Bitting, outside linebacker Dutch Hapgood and defensive end David
Moodie all were in on sacks of Mesa quarterback Kyle Christian, whom
the Comets dropped for 20 yards in losses.
Moodie, Bitting and
Hapgood led Palomar with six teackles each. Tala Meyers recovered a
fumble, and Devin Willis intercepted a pass.
defensive unit held the Olympians to eight first downs, three of
those coming by penalty.
Palomar, ranked 13th
in the nation by the J.C. Grid-Wire of Kirkland, Washington, hasn't
lost to Mesa since 1967.
Palomar will take a
2-1 record into a home game with Santa Ana, a 56-17 winner over
Santa Monica, next Saturday at 6 p.m. at Wilson Stadium in
dropped to 0-3.
Comets try to get rolling at
Mesa on Saturday
(9-17-10) -- After
playing at less than its best for two straight weeks, in a victory
over Southwestern and a tough loss to Cerritos, Palomar will attempt
to get its act back together Saturday evening in its first road game
of the season.
opponent this week: San Diego Mesa, a team that hasn't beaten the
Comets since Lyndon Baines Johnson was President of the United
States,. A fumble in the final minute led
to the winning touchdown as the Olympians beat the Comets 14-7 on
Oct. 21, 1967 at Mesa.
But what has happened in the last 43
years has little bearing in 2010, and Mesa has played Palomar
tough a year ago -- the Comets holding off the Olympians 27-17.
"They've actually played us tough
the last two seasons," Palomar coach Joe Early said. "We don't
expect anything different on Saturday. They'll be after us. They
have something to prove."
So do the Comets, who dropped from
No. 8 to No. 13 in the J.C. Grid-Wire's national rankings this
week after last week's loss to Cerritos.
"We need to come out and play four
solid quarters," Early said. "Last week, we played 3 1/2
quarters and it cost us the game.. We need to eliminate the
penalties we've been committing and do something with the
opportunities we get."
With injuries on the defensive line,
Palomar will start four new faces at end and tackle.
Carson Paopao, a member of
Oceanside's legendary football family, will become the first
graduate of a Canadian high school to start for the Comets since
Corey Mace six years ago. The 6-foot-3, 235-pound freshman
converted tight end is a product of Notre Dame Catholic High
School in Burlington, Ontario.
Mace, a defensive end who went on to
star at Wyoming and play in the NFL for the Buffalo Bills,
played high school football in Port Moody, British Columbia.
Linebacker Casey Malauulou hauls down Cerritos' Silver Viafanua
after a 3-yard reception.. BELOW LEFT: Linebacker Tanner
Hix sacks quarterback Kane Wilson.. -- Photos by Hugh Cox.
BELOW RIGHT: Palomar quarterback Nate Ong, who passed for
11th-ranked Cerritos knocks off No. 8
(9-11-10) -- After
frustrating post-season losses to Palomar the last two seasons,
11th-ranked Cerritos got some measure of revenge by upsetting the
eighth-ranked Comets 34-17 Saturday evening at Wilson Stadium.
This, on a night
that quarterback Nate Ong was 24-for-38 passing for Palomar
313 yards and a 67-yard touchdown to Jevon Reynolds on the game's
first play from scrimmage ... and on a night that Devin Taverna
contributed 12 tackles (8 solo) and an interception.
Malauulu (9 tackles, 2 for losses, blocked field goal, sack), Devin
Willis (8 tackles, pass break-up), Brandon Green (8 tackles, 1
tackle for loss) and David Moodie (7 tackles, 1.5 tackles for
losses, 1.5 sacks) also had big nights defensively.
It appeared the
Comets (1-1), who had led early 10-3 but trailed 20-17, were about
to regain the lead late in the third quarter. Ong had driven them
from their own 13-yard line to the Cerritos 27 after Taverna's
interception when he was in turn intercepted by the Falcons' Keith
McGill at the 5-yard line
Cerritos (2-0) kept
the ball out of Ong's hands the rest of the way, allowing Palomar
only 11 plays, and tacking on 14 more points.
Ong-to-Reynolds touchdown pass in the game's first 17 seconds, the
Comets' points the rest of the night came on a 30-yard Roman
Ferreira field goal that put the Comets up 10-3 with 6:40 left in
the first quarter, Tyrese Jones' 2-yard run with 2;09 left in the
second quarter and two Ferreria PAT kicks.
Ferreria also missed
a field goal.
(seven catches for 43 yards), Reynolds (five for 91 yards), Mikey
Head (four for 91 yards), Andre Uptgrow (four for 39 yards) and
Geoff Akpom (two for 33 yards) had multiple receptions for Palomar.
returned four kickoffs for 119 yards.
Palomar will try to
advance to 2-1 for the early season when they travel to San Diego
Mesa (0-2) next Saturday night.
Southwestern at the
goal-line in last week's
23-13 victory. No. 48 is
linebacker Tanner Hix.
No. 58 is linebacker
Adam Witzmann. -- Photo
by Hugh Cox. BELOW
Steiner, the Comets'
starting left tackle and
a second-team pre-season
RIGHT: Tight end
Robert Luth, who had a
35-yard reception last
No. 8 Comets host big, physical No.
(9-10-10) -- Palomar
will be in historically familiar territory when the Comets (1-0),
still ranked No. 8 nationally by the J.C. Grid-Wire the second week
of the season, hosts Cerritos (1-0), still ranked No. 11, on
Palomar will be
locked up in a known-down battle with one of the most physical,
deep, talented teams in community college football. Same as a
year ago, when the Comets broke open a close late late to win 31-17
in the first round of the Southern California playoffs.
Same as two years
ago, when Palomar held on to beat the Falcons 38-33 in the Golden
Empire Bowl at Bakersfield.
Same as all the way
back in 1991, when Cerritos handled the Comets their only loss, in
the opening game, during a season when Palomar went on to tie
Northeastern Oklahoma for its first-ever mythical national
the Palomar-Cerritos rivalry has been a war.
bring down three busloads of guys," Palomar coach Joe Early said.
"They always have a whole lot of depth, and a lotof size, and this
is the same as every other yea.
"We have to be able
to run the ball this wee. We have to play well on defense again, and
we have to play especially well on special teams, to give ourselves
an opportunity to be successfrul."
While the Comets
beat Southwestern 23-13 in their season opener last week, the
Falcons opened with a 29-13 victory over Los Angeles Harbor..
ABOVE: Mikey Head
scores Palomar's first
touchdown of the season,
catching a 19-yard
scoring strike from Nate
Ong in the first
quarter.. -- Photo by Hugh
Cox. BELOW LEFT:
Defensive end Zach
Gholson, who played in
nine games for Boise
State last season as a
true freshman. He teamed
with Travis Washburn on
a sack in the final 56
seconds that helped
finish off the Jaguars..
Safety Cory Bitting, who
led the Comets with
eight solo tackles.
PC finds way
to win, beats Jags 12th time in row
Palomar didn't earn many
style points for
season football opener
against Southwestern at
Escondido High's Wilson
Stadium on Saturday
But the J.C.
No. 8-ranked Comets got
the win, defeating the
Jaguars 23-13 in a
It was Palomar's 12th straight
Coach Joe Early, whose teams are 9-0 in season openers since
he took over the program in 2002, will take wins over style
points any time.
"We lost a lot of starters (from last year's 10-3 Southern
California runner-up team), and a lot of times it looked like we
lost a lot of starters. Not all wins are pretty," Early said.
"We had to overcome a lot of adversity, and we did. We finished, and we
found a way to win. Our special teams play was huge."
Trailing 3-0, the Comets took a 7-3 lead with 4:19 left in the
first quarter on a 19-yard pass play from Nate Ong (27-for-45,
282 yards with a number of drops) to Mikey Head.
Palomar held the lead the remainder of the night, also scoring
on three second-quarter field goals by Roman Ferreiraa of 22, 26
and 26 yards, a 46-yard interception return by Devin Taverna
with 45 seconds left in the game and two Ferreira PATs.
The Comets' defensive unit followed up Taverna's interception
return by putting an exclamation point on the victory as the
clock ticked down when Boise State transfer Zach Gholson and
Travis Washburn sacked Southwestern quarterback Ryan Van Norstrand for a 15-yard loss back to the 10-yard line.
Gholson (who had seven solo tackles) and Tanner Hix led Palomar
with nine tackles apiece. Cory Bitting contributed eight
tackles, all solo, broke up a pass and deflected a field goal.
Taverna had a pass break-up and quarterback hurry to go along
with his interception. Taverna, Ezra Latu, Brandon Green and
Casey Malauulu contributed six tackles each.
Tala Meyers forced two fumbles. Devin Willis had four pass
Southwestern's highly-hyped running back Aaron Harris did not
play, apparently due to a shoulder injury.
TAVERNA'S PICK LIFTS COMETS --
North County Times, 9/5/10
is honored by both SCFA and PCAC
Palomar football safety
Devin Taverna has been
selected as Southern
Player of the Week and
also as Men's
Athlete of the Week for
all sports by
the Pacific Coast
Athletic Conference for
his performance against
Southwestern on Saturday
Taverna, a 6-foot-1,
195-pound freshman who
helped lead Oceanside
High School to the state
Division I championship
a year ago, intercepted
a pass and returned it
46 yards for a touchdown
with 45 seconds
remaining, cementing the
Comets' 23-13 victory.
Taverna, who also
for touchdowns in last
year's CIF0San Diego
game and in this past
summer's Alex Spanos
Classic, added a pass
break-up and a
against the Jaguars.
The Pacific Coast
Athletic Conference is
conference, but the
Comets play football in
the Southern California
Nate Ong, shown keeping
the football in a win
over San Diego Mesa last
season, starts at
quarterback for the
Comets. -- Photo by Hugh
Harris, Jaguars arrive
for opener Saturday
featuring running back
Aaron Harris, a
All-American who is
ranked as the nation's
college prospect at any
Rivals.com, will be
in town to kick off
Palomar's 2010 football
season on Saturday.
Kickoff will be at 6
p.m. at Escondido High
Wilson Stadium, with the
game airing live on
Harris' goal, he told
the San Diego
Union-Tribune, is to
break a slew of school
records this season (see
article below), while
the Comets' goal is
simply to beat the
Jaguars for the 12th
Southwestern in last
year's opener 55-0 at
"Evidently they have a
good running back,"
Palomar coach Joe Early
said. "He played
sparingly vs. us last
year, so we don't have a
lot of video on him."
Harris carried the ball
five times for 10 yards
against the Comets last
"In any case, we've got
to concern ourselves
with us," Early added.
"We have to take care of
the ball, tackle, avoid
penalties and play well
on special teams. If we
can do those things, it
will give us a real good
Palomar, ranked No. 8 in
the nation by the
Grid-Wire in the
pre-season, went 10-3 in
2009 and advanced to the
championship game. Last
year's Comets finished
the season in the same
spot they begin 2010 --
Southwestern was 4-6 a
2nd-team All-American, PC to face
The J.C. Grid-Wire
named Palomar offensive tackle Steven Steiner (left) to its
pre-season All-American team Tuesday.
selected Steiner, a 6-foot-7, 325-pound sophomore from Murrieta
Valley High School, to the second team.
eighth-ranked Comets will
face Aaron Harris (right) from unranked Southwestern, one of the Grid-Wire's
two first-team pre-season All-American running backs, in their
season opener on Saturday at 6 p.m. at Wilson Stadium in
Harris, a 5-10,
200-pound sophomore from Granite Hills High School who has a
listed 40 time of 4.38, rushed for 1,169 yards and 14 touchdowns
for the Jaguars (4-6) in 10 games last season.
ranks Harris as the second-best community college prospect in
the nation at all positions.
“This is no
lightweight guy,” Southwestern coach Ed
Carberry told the San Diego
Union-Tribune. “He’s strong
enough to run inside and has the ability
to make people miss on the outside.”
I’ve got a shot at a lot more (school)
records this year because our O-linemen
are so much bigger,” Harris told the
U-T. “And they’re not just big. They
can move and they carry out their blocks
well. Because of that it gives me a lot
more ways to use my skills. Whether I
run inside or outside, I think of myself
as a tackle breaker.”
the Union-Tribune, Cincinnati,
Hawaii and San Diego State have already
given him scholarship offers
Harris told the U-T that Rutgers,
Pitt, Wyoming, Utah and USC are other
schools that are recruiting him.
selected Allan Hancock wide receiver Scotty Cathcart, the
son of Palomar Athletic Director Scott Cathcart, to the second
FAST FACT: In
last year's season opener between the two teams, Harris was
limited to 10 yards rushing on five carries as Palomar
defeated Southwestern 55-0 at the Jaguars' DeVore Stadium.
Grid-Wire ranks PC 8th in nation in
Washington / LAKE FOREST
The J.C. Grid-Wire
of Kirkland, WA, ranks
Palomar No. 8 in the nation, the same spot the Comets finished
in 2009, the begin the 2010 football season. Mt. SAC and
Fullerton, both members of the Southern Conference along with
Palomar, are ranked 1-2.,
Those two teams
are followed by No. 3 Arizona
Western, No. 4 City College of San Francisco, No. 5 Blinn
(Texas), No. 6 College of San Mateo, No. 7 Navarro (Texas), the
No. 8 Comets, No. 9 Mississippi Gulf Coast and No. 10 Fort Scott
Along with the
No. 1 Mounties and No. 2 Hornets, the Comets will play No. 11
Cerritos, No. 14 El Camino, No. 16 Saddleback and two "Teams to
Watch" (Grossmont and Saddleback).
CA-based JCGridiron.com moved Palomar from No. 14 to No.
13 in its national rankings after last week's NJCAA
(non-California teams) opening weekend. JCGridiron.com
ranks Arizona Western at No. 1, followed by No. 2 Blinn (Texas),
No. 3 Mt. SAC, No. 4 East Mississippi, No. 5 City College of San
Francisco and No. 6 Fullerton.
Grid-Wire is associated with Scout.com.
JCGridiron.com is associated with Rivals.com.
ABOVE: Joel Yosevitch takes a handoff from quarterback
David Fisher at the front end of a 19-yard run in Saturday's
scrimmage. Defensive end Zach Gohlston (91), a transfer from
Boise State where he played in nine games as a true freshman,
tries to fight off a block. -- Photo by Hugh Cox. BELOW LEFT:
Coach Joe Early talks to the Comets after the scrimmage. --
Photo by Hugh Cox. BELOW RIGHT: Cory Soto, the Comets'
6-foot-8, 255-pound freshman tight end who caught a 25-yard
touchdown pass from Tynan Murray.
spread reps around; 'O' goes it again
The offense came out
sharp again on Saturday as Palomar conducted its second and final
full-on intrasquad scrimmage leading up to next Saturday's season
The coaches spread
out the reps in the shortened scrimmage, which like the previous
week was conducted with a regular full officiating crew..
including a red-shirt, connected on 18 of 24 pass attempts for 203
yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.
The 18 receptions
were spread among 12 players, and rushing attempts were divided
among eight backs.
The offense scored
on an 8-yard run by Nick Ricciardulli, a 24-yard field goal by Roman
Ferreira, a 25-yard pass play from Tynan Murray to 6-foot-8,
255-pound tight end Cory Soto, a 2-yard run by Chad Dobbins, and an
18-yard pass from Nate Ong to Andre Uptgrow.
University of Nevada
transfer David Fisher was a perfect 9-for-9 passing for
80 yards. Jevon Reynolds was the leading receiver with four
receptions and Soto (two catches for 32 yards), 2009 CIF-San Diego
Section Offensive Player of the Year Dallas Butler and Uptgrow also
had multiple receptions.
With no one carrying
the ball more than four times, Dobbins (three carries for 21 yards)
was the leading rusher.
McBride broke up a pass.
"We were a little
crisper than we were in last week's scrimmage," coach Joe Early
said. "We want to keep getting a little better each day, and we're
headed in that direction. We want to cut down on penalties, and we
accomplished that. The offense looked good."
The Comets and
Southwestern will kick off in the opener at 6 p.m. this Saturday at
Escondido's Wilson Stadium in a non-conference matchup.
Lorenzen: two catches for Saints vs. Chargers
Tyler Lorenzen, trying to make the Super Bowl champion New Orleans
Saints as a tight end, did himself two big favors against the San
Diego Chargers on Friday night.
That's as in two
receptions for 33 yards, including a 24-yard catch on the first play
of a scoring drive that resulted in a Saints field goal, while
playing the fourth quarter in the game.
The Saints won 36-20
in front of a live crowd of 70,037 and a national TV audience at the
New Orleans Superdome. The game gave CBS the highest-rated TV
broadcast in its time period, beating Fox, NBC and ABC.
Lorenzen spent the
2009 season on the practice roster for the Saints and received a
Super Bowl ring.
New Orleans and the
Minnesota Vikings will play the opening game of the NFL regular
season on Thursday night, Sept. 9, also at the Superdome.
Nate Ong throws a pass in the flat to running back Thomas Worden
during Friday's scrimmage. -- Photo by Deb Hellman. BELOW
LEFT: Defensive tackle Travis Washburn, who recorded a sack.
BELOW RIGHT: Receiver Andre Uptgrow, who had four
receptions for 137 yards and a touchdown.
for 387 yards on way to 524 total
(Updated 8-22-10) --
Quarterback Nate Ong
connected on 16-of-23 passes for 202 yards and two touchdowns Friday
afternoon as the offense moved the ball in Palomar's first major
intrasquad football scrimmage.
Andre Uptgrow caught
four passes for 137 yards and a touchdown. Uptgrow, who had 10
receptions for 97 yards last year as a freshman, has returned with a
new resolve this season.
Last season, he
dealt with the fatal illness and death of his 16-year-old brother
Deandre Uptgrow, who died of brain cancer on Oct. 9.
QBs Ong, Tynan
Murray and David Fisher were 25-for-39 passing for 387 yards, three
TD's and no interceptions in the scrimmage. The Comets also rushed
for 137 yards as they accumulated 524 yards in total offense.
This, after the
first two touchdowns, a 22-yard run by Tyrese Jones and a
29-yard pass play from Ong to Jevon Reynolds, were nullified by
penalties. Murray also had a 29-yard TD run called back.
The scrimmage was
conducted with a full officiating crew.
"We've been in pads
less than a week," coach Joe Early said. "This was good because it
exposed us to what we need to work on. Defensively, that would be
penalties hurt the Comets.
The offense scored,
in order, on a 20-yard pass from Ong to Nigel Westbrooks, a 2-yard
pass from Ong to Thomas Worden, a 69-yard pass from Murray to
Uptgrow, a 45-yard field goal by Roman Ferreira and an 11-yard run
by Nick Ricciardulli.
The Comets added
four TD runs in short-yardage situations, with Chad Dobbins scoring
from the 2-yard line, Joel Yosevitch from the 2, Xavier McGinnis
from the 1 and Worden from the 2.
Murray was 5-for-7
passing for 141 yards. Reynolds caught five passes for 72 yards, Mikey Head caught five passes for 38 yards, Westbrooks
three passes for 61 yards and Pat Cashman three for 18 yards. Cashman also barely missed
holding onto the ball on what would have been a spectacular catch
when he was clobbered on a pass interference play.
quarterback keepers that counted for 31 yards. Jones rushed for 20
yards on three carries and Armani Taylor added 20 yards on six
Travis Washburn recorded an 8-yard sack and the defense also had a
fumble recovery and stopped the offense inside the 5-yard line.
two kickoff returns for 42 yards. His TD run came on the final play
of the scrimmage. Josh Bergman, a 6-foot-3, 295-pound freshman from
Valley Center High School who was battling for a starting job at
right guard, suffered a dislocated ankle, a fractured tibia and torn
ligaments on the play, putting a pall
over the afternoon for his fellow players and his coaches.
boomed a 43-yard punt.
"We had a good
effort," Early said. "We were able to run off 84 plays. We got a
good evaluation film."
The Comets also will
scrimmage next Saturday before kicking off the season the following
Saturday, on Sept. 4, at 6 p.m. against Southwestern at Wilson
Stadium in Escondido.
Coach Joe Early talks to
the team at the
conclusion of practice
-- Photo by Deb Hellman
2010 No. 5 in state, No. 3 in SoCal
Palomar is ranked No. 5
among the state's 72 football-playing community colleges and No. 3
among the 38 Southern California teams heading into the 2010 season.
The Top Ten teams in
the California Community College Football Coaches Association
pre-season poll.are No. 1 Mt. SAC, No. 2 City College of San
Francisco, No. 3 College of San Mateo, No. 4 Fullerton, the No. 5
Comets, No. 6 Bakersfield, No. l7 Butte, No. 8 Cerritos, No. 9
Saddleback and No. 10 Foothill.
In the CCCFBA's
Southern California rankings, Mt. SAC is No. 1, followed by No. 2
Fullerton, the No. 3 Comets, No. 4 Bakersfield, No. 5 Cerritos, No.
6 Saddleback, No. 7 El Camino, No. 8 Allan Hancock, No. 9 Grossmont
and No. 10 Los Angeles Harbor.
Mt. SAC defeated
Palomar in the 2009 Southern California championship game, then beat
San Mateo in the state title game the following week. The Mounties
are the defending J.C. Grid-Wire / J.C. Football.com -- and
J.C. GridIron.com) national champions.
The Comets will host
Cerritos on Sept. 11, will visit El Camino on Oct. 2, will visit Mt.
SAC on Oct. 16, will host Fullerton on Oct. 23, will visit
Saddleback on Nov. 6 and will host Grossmont on Nov. 13.
ABOVE: Returning quarterback starter Nate Ong sets up to
pass in a drill at Saturday's first practice in full gear.
Quarterbacks coach Cody Trefethen looks on. BELOW LEFT:
Freshman receiver Nigel Westbrooks from Mission Hills High
School catches a pass in front of corner Winston Pinto. --
Photos by Deb Hellman. BELOW RIGHT: Corner Devin Willis,
who intercepted a pass in the end zone on the final play of
11-on-11 to end the practice.
10-for-15 to end first practice in full gear
Palomar went through its
first day of Fall football drills in full gear on Saturday and, not
unexpectedly, returning quarterback starter Nate Ong stepped it up.
Ong was 10-for-15
passing with one interception as coach Joe Early sent the Comets
through two live 11-on-11 sessions late in the practice.
The interception --
by sophomore corner Devin Willis in the end zone on a
fourth-and-goal situation -- kept the offense from scoring after Ong
engineered a 66-yard drive down to the 5-yard line.
Outside linebacker Ezra
Latu broke up a pass in
the end zone on the
Safety Devin Taverna,
the freshman out of
state champion Oceanside
High School who was the
star of the Alex Spanos
All-Star Classic last
month -- had an
interception in the
first 11-on-11 live
session as the Comets
looked at all three of
"It looked like the
first day for a lot of
the practice. We're young, but
it's a good group,"
Early said. "We open our
season in 21 days
(Saturday, Sept. 4, vs.
Southwestern at Wilson
Stadium in Escondido at
6 p.m.) and we're a lot
of work ahead of us.
newly-reconstructed Southern Conference) is
as tough as is gets --
everyone in the
conference has won at
and most of us have won
multiple ones. But we're
used to that.. We've
always played in a tough
Palomar will get Sunday
off and will return to
full-contact drills on
Middlemas 21st Comet to transfer to
Outside linebacker John Middlemas has become the 21st 2009
Palomar football player to move on to the four-year college level,
to Eastern Kentucky University.
Middlemas is in camp
with the Colonels as they prepare to open the season with
back-to-back road games at Missouri State (on Sept. 2) and
Louisville (on September 11).
215-pound outside linebacker from Elsinore High School, Middlemas
was the Comets' fifth-leading tackler last season for a team that
was ranked eighth nationally by the J.C. Grid-Wire of
For the season, he
had 54 tackles (27 solo), eight tackles for losses, three sacks, two
pass break-ups, two quarterback hurries and a fumble recovery.
selected as Southern Conference Defensive Player of the Week after
he sacked Victor Valley quarterback Robert Love in the Comets' 24-7
victory over the Rams on Sept. 12.
Outside linebacker John Middlemas, about ready to recover a fumble
during last Fall's 41-6 victory over Orange Coast. Middlemas has
transferred to Eastern Kentucky University. -- Photo by Hugh Cox
ranks PC 14th in U.S. in pre-season
JCGridiron.com of Lake Forest, CA has Palomar in the
No. 14 spot in the nation in its 2010 community college pre-season
ranks Arizona Western No.1, followed by No. 2 Blinn (Texas), No. 3
El Camino, No. 4 East Mississippi, No. 5 City College of San
Francisco, No. 6 Ft. Scott (Kansas), No. 7 Mt. SAC, No. 8
Navarro (Texas), No. 9 Fullerton and No. 10 Gulf Coast (Mississippi)
The Comets are
coming off a season when they went 10-3, reached the Southern
California championship game and were ranked No. 8 nationally by the
J.C. Grid-Wire of Seattle. JCGridiron.com ranked
Palomar No. 12 in the nation in its final 2009 rankings.
Four new assistant coaches join
SAN MARCOS (7-3-10)
Head coach Joe Early has completed Palomar's 12-man
football coaching staff with the addition of four new assistants who
have joined the Comets to begin the 2010 season.
The new additions
are former Palomar players Lafo Malauulu (receivers coach) and Ron
Rockett (safeties coach), Scott White (linebackers) and Vernon Smith
MALAUULU, Receivers -- A 1984 J.C.
Grid-Wire first-team All-American Malauulu is the Palomar
record-holder for career receptions.
Malauulu set the
Palomar career receptions record, which still stands, with 152
catches during the 1983 and 1984 seasons. He shares Palomar
single-game records for touchdowns (5) and points (30), marks
recorded when he led the Comets to a 55-19 victory over San
Diego Mesa on Thanksgiving Day, 1984.
Malauulu went on to
star for San Jose State and played in the Canadian Football
League for the British Columbia Lions.
One of the best prep
receivers in San Diego County history under the legendary Herb
Meyer at El Camino High, Malauulu was selected by the North
County Times prior to the 2007 season as the 37th best
player of the first 109 years of North County high school
football. The newspaper's readers chose Malauulu as the 34th
best North County player of the first 109 years.
also named Malauulu to a second-team receiver spot on its
all-time North County high school team.
was receivers coach for the 1989 Palomar team that went 7-4 and
defeated Ventura 21-20 in the Hall of Fame Bowl at San Diego's
ROCKETT, Safeties -- Rockett, a starting safety for both the
Comets and the University of Wyoming, played for Joe Early at
Palomar. He helped lead the Comets to an 18-4 record during the
2002 (10-1) and 2003 (8-3) seasons -- and a final No. 4 national
ranking by the J.C. Grid-Wire as a freshman.
Rockett, a product
of Mission Bay High School prior to two seasons as a starter for
the Comets, was a first-team All-Mountain West Conference
selection for Wyoming as a senior in 2005, when he led the
Cowboys in tackles.
As a junior, Rockett
helped Wyoming beat UCLA 24-21 in the 2004 Las Vegas Bowl.
At Mission Bay, he
was a first-team All-CIF San Diego Section selection and helped
the Buccaneers to back-to-back San Diego Section Division III
championships during the 2000 and 2001 under coach Dennis Pugh.
He was a Mission Bay teammate of two other first-year Palomar
assistants, White and Smith.
Rockett played in
NFL Europe for the Frankfurt Galaxy. He was named the league's
Defensive Player of the Week after he recorded eight solo
tackles, an interception and two pass break-ups in the Galaxy's
30-14 victory over the Amsterdam Admirals on April 24, 2007.
WHITE, Linebackers -- White, a multiple-season starter at
outside linebacker for the University of Washington, comes to
Palomar from Central Washington University where he has been an
White was named
Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Week after recording 10 tackles
(3 for losses) and 2 sacks in Washington's 21-10 over Arizona on
Oct. 4, 2006, when the Huskies held the Wildcats to minus-7
White was the CIF-San Diego Section Defensive Player of the Year
in 2001 at Mission Bay High School. He was a prep teammate of
Ron Rockett and Vernon Smith, also first-year Palomar assistant
coaches, for the Buccaneers under coach Dennis Pugh.
helped lead Mission Bay to back-to-back CIF-San Diego Section
Division II championships in 2000 and 2001.
SMITH, Cornerbacks -- Former University of Montana All-Big
Sky corner White also comes
to the Comets from Central Washington University.
He's been an
assistant coach at Central Washington along with White.
At Montana, Smith
helped the Grizzlies to a 14-0 record and the NCAA Football Bowl
Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) national championship as a
sophomore in 2001.
In 2002, Smith intercepted six
passes, returning one for a touchdown, as a junior for the Grizzlies.
Smith played at Mission
Bay High School, where he was a teammate of Rockett and White under coach
Smith will coach
Palomar's secondary along with Rockett, coaching the corners
while Rockett handles the safeties.
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