East County Sports

Comets attempt turn around versus Citrus

Palomar's Jacob Stepanek booms a punt against Southwestern last week. (Hugh Cox Photo)

2018 COMMUNITY COLLEGE FOOTBALL

CITRUS AT PALOMAR – PREVIEW

Special to East County Sports

SAN MARCOS (9-14-2018) – To cut to the chase, Palomar’s football team didn’t show up for last week’s home opener against Southwestern College.

The Comets could not have played worse, something that proved fatal against a good team that imposed its will on coach Joe Early’s squad as the Jaguars went on the road and rolled to an easy victory.

“We got embarrassed last week,” Early said after the Comets went through their Friday walk-through for Saturday’s 6 p.m. home game against another good non-conference opponent, Citrus College, at Escondido High School’s Chick Embrey Field at Wilson Stadium.

“We obviously didn’t play very well. We need to rebound this week and play the way we’re capable of playing.”

Early didn’t use either the Comets’ youth (they have only 10 players back from the last year) or all their injuries as excuses. The way he looks at it, Palomar still has high expectations as the 2018 season rolls on.

Early added that his squad had “good practices” this week, something it did not do last week leading up to the Southwestern game.

The Comets, who are 1-1 on the 2018 season, would be advised to carry that over into this week’s game against the Owls, who are coming off one-sided wins over West Los Angeles 52-13 and Compton College 73-0 the first two weeks of the season.

Conner Curry again will start at quarterback for Palomar and will be backed up by Shea Morales, who began last week as the Comets’ No. 4 quarterback but is now their No. 2 QB with both Rodney Thompson, who led Palomar to its opening-week victory over Moorpark, and Adam Carr sidelined by injuries.

Morales got an opportunity to finish the Southwestern game and responded by connecting on six straight passes to drive the Comets 60 yards down the field late in the fourth quarter, then scoring Palomar’s only points of the night on a 1-yard run with just over a minute to play.

The Comets’ young offensive line needs to protect Curry and Morales better than it protected Thompson and Webb the first two weeks and also step it up to open holes for running backs Shevell Sterling and DeVion Sneed.

And Palomar shot itself in the foot play after play with penalties and assorted other mistakes vs. Southwestern, another problem the Comets could stand to fix.

The Comets’ defense, led by down lineman Jordan Duson, made its share of big plays against the Jaguars but was on the field way too long, which also took its toll.

The biggest upside for Palomar in week two was the performance of Jacob Stepanek, yet another outstanding punter in a program that has produced many outstanding punters, including many that dominated in Division I two that played in the NFL and another, last year’s punter, Australian Tyson Dyer, who is now doing spectacular things for the University of New Mexico and appears to be NFL bound.

Stepanek was outstanding against Southwestern, pinning the Jaguars inside the 20-yard line four times and inside the 10 three times, including a punt that pinned them with their backs to the wall at the 2-yard line.

PROBABLE PALOMAR LINE-UPS

OFFENSE

Quarterback

Conner Curry (6-2, 200, Fr., Evangel Christian HS, Shreveport, LA / Ouachita Baptist University)

Running Back

Shevell Sterling (5-10, 190, Fr., Grossmont HS)

Fullback

Arnold Yoder (6-1, 260, 260, So., Toledo HS, Toledo, WA / USMC)

Receivers

Bryce Walker (6-0, 180, So., Bartram Trail HS, Jacksonville, FL)

Mikel Barkley (5-11, 165, Fr., Temecula Great Oak HS)

Devin Nilson (6-0, 187, So., Carlsbad HS)

Johnny Arzola (6-0, 195, So., Oceanside HS, Dixie State)

Tight End

William Gonzalez (6-4, 230, Fr., Murrieta Valley HS)

Left Tackle 

Quinton Maxwell (6-3, 340, Fr., King HS, Detroit)

Left Guard

Francisco Rodriguez (6-4, 300, Fr., Sicks HS, Tampa, FL)

Center

Donovan Pati (6-3, 260, Fr., Vista HS)

Right Guard

Brayton Lindholm (6-6, 290, Fr., Moses Lake HS, Moses Lake, WA)

Right Tackle

Will Eoff (6-6, 290, Fr., Vista Murrieta HS)

DEFENSE

End

Mason Simeta (6-3, 240, Fr., Lacey HS, Timberline, WA)

End

Jordan Duson (6-1, 240, Fr., Oceanside HS)

Tackle

Koa Evalu-Robinson (6-3, 275, Lahainaluna HS, Maui, HI)

Tackle 

Isaac Tuia (6’1, 295, Fr., Bishop Gorman HS, Las Vegas, NV)

Linebacker

Spencer Kaoanga (6-1, 220, Fr., Oceanside HS / Air Force Prep)

Linebacker

Chris Calhoun (6-1, 210, Fr. Mission Hills HS)

Cornerback

Jihad Hightower (5-9, 171, Fr., Creekside HS, St. Johns, FL)

Cornerback

Louie Flores (5-10, 180, Fr., Mission Hills HS)

Safety

Jay Craft (5-10, 170, Fr., Cherry Creek HS, Cherry Creek, CO / Kansas State University)

Safety

Giovanni Herrera (5-9, 155, Fr., Mira Mesa HS)

Nickel

Maxwell Milner (6-3, 205, Fr., Mission Hills HS)

Safety

Cameron Bullock (5-11, 190, Fr., El Camino HS)

SPECIAL TEAMS

Kickoffs, PAT’s, FG’s)

Mark Meador (5-8, 147, Fr., Del Norte HS)

Punter

Jacob Stepanek (6-3, 205, Fr., Temescal Canyon HS, Lake Elsinore)

Holder

Jacob Stepanek

Long Snappers

Ryan McCowan (5-8, 170, Fr., Valley Center HS)

Edwin Vorachack (5-10, 175, Fr., Escondido HS

Kickoff Returners

Lamar Raboteau (5-8, 165, Fr., Mira Mesa HS)

Damon Wigand (5-10, 180, Fr., Mission Hills HS)

Punt Returners

Devin Nilson

Johnny Arzola

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