Just a week after coming from behind to defeat winless Grossmont, Palomar football will host the undefeated Fullerton College Hornets in their first conference game of the 2018 season.
Palomar (3-2) will be looking to give Fullerton its first loss of the year as they currently sit at a perfect 5-0 atop the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference standings. Fullerton is currently riding a 23-game win streak that dates back to October 2016.
The Comets have yet to string together more than one win at a time, relying on a strong passing game (255 yard/game) and solid pass defense (162.4 yards against) to get them where they are currently. Fullerton on the other hand brings a more well-rounded game to Escondido High, averaging 40.2 points per game and just 20.4 points against.
Shea Morales will look to build on an already solid freshman season as he continues to prove why he should be the Comets’ consensus starter at the quarterback position. Averaging 159 passing yards over four games thus far, Morales will need to take advantage of a suspect Hornet pass defense that has yielded 209.8 passing yards per game so far in 2018
On the ground, Palomar utilizes two freshman running backs Shevell Sterling and DeVion Sneed, both having appeared in all of Palomar’s games to date. Sterling is averaging just 3 yards per carry while Sneed is averaging 2.9 but that is more a result of the team’s over reliance on the passing game and a lack of touches for the pair of running backs. Both have been able to score two touchdowns each.
On the defensive side, Palomar is led by freshman linebacker Chris Calhoun who is pacing the team in tackles per game and tackles for loss while playing every game. Freshman defensive back Louie Flores is another name to watch on the defensive side of the ball as he leads the team in broken up passes with eight.
Fullerton’s offense is led by sophomore play caller Gresch Jensen and a trio of running backs who each average at least 5.7 yards per carry. Jensen is averaging 202.4 yards passing per game and has thrown six touchdowns and two interceptions. He also is averaging 27.8 yards per game on the ground. The Hornets’ running back triumvirate consisting of freshman Lucky Avinger and sophomores Jaire Moore and Infant Eckford have combined to score seven touchdowns on 133.1 yards per game.
Defensively, Fullerton’s standouts can be found on the defensive line as the team has 18 sacks as a unit. Sophomore defensive end Shane Darsow and freshman defensive lineman James Rawls each have racked up four sacks apiece. Sophomore defensive back Khari Henley is a standout in the secondary as he leads Fullerton’s defense in tackles and pass break ups, racking up 23 and four respectively.
The last time these two teams met up was in 2017 when the Hornets came to Escondido High and beat Palomar 56-10. The Comets haven’t defeated Fullerton since the 2011 season and will hope to break a six-game losing streak against the No. 1 team in the state.
Kickoff is at 6 p.m. on Oct. 6 at Escondido High School