Palomar College falls against State champs in offensive shootout with Fullerton 56-31.
Palomar started off solid with a 75-yard drive, capped with a 45-yard touchdown run by quarterback Connor Curry. However Fullerton only took 45 seconds to answer with a 26-yard TD pass from Gresch Jensen to Markelle Raymond.
Both teams were shuffling quarterbacks as Palomar’s Connor Curry was battling injuries to his knee and hands. Quarterback Shea Morales stepped in during the first quarter and in the 4thquarter when Curry injured his knee again.
While Palomar had more time of possession overall Fullerton converted more third downs with a 58% success rate compared to Palomar’s 22%. Fullerton also won the battle of turnovers. Fullerton got a total of 5 turnovers with 3 interceptions. Palomar was stifled in their rushing game except for Curry who accounted for 73 of Palomar’s 149 total rushing yards.
Palomar’s rush defense however was stellar holding Fullerton to only 132 yards. The Comets registered 4 sacks to the Hornets 2. Martin Bonaci ended with 2.5 sacks for the game.
Special teams is where Palomar shined clocking 245 total return yards with Lamar Raboteau slicing his way to an 83-yard return on one play.
Another bright spot was Punter Jacob Stepanek who averaged 42.5 yards per kick. Palomar also did well on 4thdowns converting 3 out of 5. Although it was hard for the Comets to keep the momentum going with turnovers and penalties playing a factor.Palomar’s fighting spirit and an enthusiastic crowd at Escondido High School lifted them within 11 points.
Early in the 3rd quarter Connor Curry was sacked causing an injury to his knee. With the score already at 49-24 with Fullerton ahead Shea Morales came in to take over. When asked about sharing the QB responsibilities Morales commented,
“We’re both good buddys, we have no problem with it, whatever the coaches need from us, we are all game for that.”
The team kept fighting the last quarter resulting in another touch down on a 4 yard pass from Morales to Logan Gamble
The game ended with Fullerton up 56-31.
Days after the game it was announced that Fullerton is now ineligible for the post season due to an infraction involving last years season meaning Palomar moves up un the rankings for their division. Coach Joe Early emphasized staying focused “We got to take care of business here, We got to concern ourselves with getting better each day and we’ll see what happens when its all said and done.”
Palomar takes on Mt. San Antonio this Saturday Oct. 13 at 6pm at Escondido High School.