East County Sports

Comets put scare in state No. 3 Ventura

Joe Early talks to his team after Saturday night's near-upset over state No. 3-ranked Ventura. (Tom Saxe Photo)

2018 COMMUNITY COLLEGE FOOTBALL

VENTURA 45, PALOMAR 38

 

From Palomar Sports Information

 

VENTURA (9-22-2018) / (UPDATED 9-23-2018) — Freshman Shea Morales (Carlsbad High School), who began the season as Palomar’s No. 4 quarterback, passed for 471 yards and four touchdowns. Freshman receiver Malachi Russell (El Camino High) hauled in 10 receptions for 161 yards and two touchdowns. Freshman Johnny Armentrout (El Camino High) caught three balls for 27 yards, including two additional TD passes.

The freshman-dominated offensive line turned in its best effort of the season. And an opportunistic defense led by freshman linebacker Chris Calhoun (Mission Hills High) with 12 tackles (six solo), including a tackle for loss plus a quarterback hurry, and freshman linebacker Spencer Kaonaga (Oceanside High) with 10 tackles, helped lead the way coach Joe Early’s young Comets grew up in a hurry on Saturday night.

Along the way, the Comets charged from behind time and time again and came oh-so-close to a huge upset over a big, quick and extremely talented Ventura team that came into the teams’ non-conference game at the Ventura College Sportsplex ranked No. 3 in the state.

Palomar, roaring back from a 21-point deficit with nine minutes left in the game, eventually lost a shootout to the Pirates 45-38 after a fourth-down pass play in the end zone on a play from the the 11-yard line that would have won the game fell just incomplete with 13 seconds to play when the intended receiver fell down.

Palomar freshman quarterback SHEA MORALES looks downfield on Saturday evening at Ventura. / VC Athletics photo

All this was, despite all of the above and more, created by a huge team effort by an inexperienced group that returned only 10 players from last season’s team, some of them who have either left the team or have been lost by injuries.

And all of the above isn’t close to being the whole story. Redshirt transfer freshman Connor Curry came in to spell Morales to begin the fourth quarter and added 62 yards and a TD passing and broke off two runs for 50 yards before being forced out of the game with an injury to his non-throwing hand. At that juncture, Morales re-entered and threw for his last two touchdowns.

Freshman running back Shevell Sterling (Grossmont High) contributed 58 tough yards rushing and receiving.

Freshman punter Jacob Stepanek pinned the Pirates at their 4-yard line and their 15-yard line and broke off a 30-yard run on a fake punt for good measure. Freshmen Lamar Raboteau (Mira Mesa High) and Damon Wigand (Mission Hills High) combined for 238 yards in kickoff returns, five for 158 yards by Roboteau and four for 80 yards by Wigand.

Back on the defensive side of the ball, red-shirt freshman transfer Jay Craft from Kansas State University (nine tackles, five solo and two pass break-ups), freshman end Mason Simeta (seven tackles including a tackle for loss plus a pass break-up) and freshman corner Louie Flores (Mission Hills High), who intercepted a pass and broke up three others, also had productive performances. So did freshman safety Giovanni Herrera (Mira Mesa High), who had four big tackles and nearly came within inches of a diving interception but was only credited with a broken-up pass.

And there were other strong performances, too frequent to mention in limited space.

It wasn’t that the sophomores didn’t contribute, as well. Receiver Devin Nilson (Carlsbad High) caught five passes for 72 yards and a touchdown. And Josh Bernard (Oceanside High) returned from the injured list and contributed seven tackles, including a sack and two tackles for losses with some major hits.

Like any team, the Comets had their problems. Unable to get into the end zone from the 1-yard line midway through the third quarter, they went to pass and the ball was deflected into the air by a Ventura defender and the Pirates’ Trennan Carlson grabbed the ball out of the air and returned what turned out to be an interception 95 yards for a touchdown — a 14-point swing in favor of Ventura. There were some untimely penalties, mainly due to some over-aggressiveness in an emotional defensive performance.

The Comets also had a breakdown in protection that led to a punt that was partially blocked, and they missed two straight conversion kicks after their final two touchdowns.

Palomar sophomore receiver JOHNNY ARZOLA drags a Ventura defender on Saturday evening. / VC Athletics photo

But, for the most part, they overcame their mistakes.

And they were facing an extremely talented opponent that could move the ball up and down the field (527 yards in total offense) and were heavily favored in the game.

“We made a major step forward,” Early said. “We missed opportunities throughout the game, and we still have to improve in the red area. But we took a major step forward, particularly on offense. Malachi (Russell) had a hell of a game. I think we showed we can play with anybody in the state. We’re so close.”

For the record, Palomar was 4-for-5 on fourth-down efficiently, and the Comets scored on a 27-yard Mark Meader field goal which gave them an early 3-0 lead following the opening kickoff, a 12-yard pass from Morales to Armentrout, a 52-yard Morales-to-Russell scoring bomb, a 28-yard TD pass from Curry to Russell, a safety, a 9-yard Morales-to-Armatrout pass in the end zone, a 9-yard Morales-to-Nilson pass play and three PAT kicks.

While the Comets, whose other loss came at the hands of a good Southwestern team that played defending national champion and current state No. 1-ranked Fullerton tough in a 19-14 loss Saturday evening, were coming off a 14-10 comeback win over a good Citrus team that is 3-1 that had won its first two games 52-14 and 73-0 and beat Santa Barbara City College on Saturday to go 3-0 on the season.

Palomar will take a 2-2 record to Grossmont High’s stadium for a 3 p.m. game next Saturday against Grossmont College, then will host Fullerton to open National Division Central League play the following Saturday evening at Escondido High’s Chick Embrey Field at Wilson Stadium.


 

Palomar vs. Ventura at Ventura
9/22/2018 at 6:00
Palomar
38
Ventura
45
SCORING 1 2 3 4 FINAL
Palomar (2-2)  3  7  7  21  38
Ventura (4-0)  14  7  14  10  45
Ventura | Sportsplex
PRD TIME SCORING SUMMARY PALOMAR – VENTURA
1 11:30 Palomar – Mark Meader 27 yd field goal.
Drive: 9 plays, 61 yards in 3:30.
3 – 0
1 08:59 Ventura – Hayden Nease 10 yd run. (Kyle Continente kick is good).
Drive: 6 plays, 65 yards in 2:31.
3 – 7
1 05:50 Ventura – Brandon Jordan 19 yd pass from Jay Vanderjagt. (Kyle Continente kick is good).
Drive: 5 plays, 55 yards in 1:18.
3 – 14
2 14:12 Palomar – J. Armentrout 12 yd pass from Shea Morales. (Mark Meader kick is good).
Drive: 8 plays, 70 yards in 2:19.
10 – 14
2 08:25 Ventura – Thomas Duckett 4 yd run. (Kyle Continente kick is good).
Drive: 3 plays, 37 yards in 1:01.
10 – 21
3 10:37 Ventura – Brock Domann 9 yd run. (Kyle Continente kick is good).
Drive: 10 plays, 63 yards in 4:16.
10 – 28
3 07:30 Ventura – Trennan Carlson 95 yd interception return. (Kyle Continente kick is good). 10 – 35
3 06:40 Palomar – Malachi Russell 52 yd pass from Shea Morales. (Mark Meader kick is good).
Drive: 4 plays, 75 yards in 0:43.
17 – 35
4 14:57 Ventura – Kyle Continente 19 yd field goal.
Drive: 14 plays, 76 yards in 6:38.
17 – 38
4 13:36 Palomar – Malachi Russell 28 yd pass from Connor Curry. (Mark Meader kick is good).
Drive: 4 plays, 63 yards in 1:13.
24 – 38
4 11:29 Ventura – Brock Domann 8 yd run. (Kyle Continente kick is good).
Drive: 6 plays, 65 yards in 2:07.
24 – 45
4 09:04 Palomar – Team safety 26 – 45
4 06:26 Palomar – J. Armentrout 9 yd pass from Shea Morales. (Mark Meader kick failed).
Drive: 8 plays, 40 yards in 2:31.
32 – 45
4 02:47 Palomar – Devin Nilson 9 yd pass from Shea Morales. (Mark Meader kick failed).
Drive: 3 plays, 72 yards in 0:52.
38 – 45
PALOMAR STATISTICS VENTURA
29 FIRST DOWNS 29
22
4
3
Passing
Rushing
Penalty
13
14
2
25% (4 of 16) THIRD DOWN EFFICIENCY 50% (6 of 12)
80% (4 of 5) FOURTH DOWN EFFICIENCY 0% (0 of 1)
599 TOTAL OFFENSE 527
86
7.0
Total Offensive Plays
Average gain per play
76
6.9
483 NET YARDS PASSING 233
34-60
8.1
2-13
2
Completions-Attempts
Net yards per pass play
Sacked: Number-Yards
Had intercepted
20-32
7.3
1-9
1
116 NET YARDS RUSHING 294
26
4.5
Rushing Attempts
Average gain per rush
44
6.7
5-156 PUNTS: Number-Yards 2-42
31.2 Average 21.0
238 TOTAL RETURN YARDS 152
0 0
9-238
1-0
Punt Returns: Number-Yards
Kickoff Returns: Number-Yards
Interception Returns: Number-Yards
1-0
3-57
2-95
4-57 PENALTIES: Number-Yards 5-50
0-0 FUMBLES: Number-Lost 0-0
1-9 SACKS: Number-Yards 2-13
1-0 INTERCEPTIONS: Number-Yards 2-95
29:22 TIME OF POSSESSION 30:38

Palomar

Ventura

PASSING C-A YDS LG TD INT
Shea Morales 29-53 421 52 4 2
Connor Curry 5-7 62 28 1 0
PASSING C-A YDS LG TD INT
Jay Vanderjagt 14-23 189 27 1 1
Brock Domann 6-9 44 21 0 0
RUSHING ATT YDS AVG LG TD
Connor Curry 2 50 25.0 33 0
Shevell Sterling 11 37 3.4 15 0
Jacob Stepanek 1 30 30.0 30 0
DeVion Sneed 6 12 2.0 3 0
Johnny Armentrout 1 1 1.0 1 0
TEAM 1 -4 -4.0 0 0
Shea Morales 4 -10 -2.5 11 0
RUSHING ATT YDS AVG LG TD
Hayden Nease 9 108 12.0 34 1
Thomas Duckett 21 88 4.2 14 1
Brock Domann 5 47 9.4 14 2
Jay Vanderjagt 3 27 9.0 29 0
Tyrese Gholar 3 25 8.3 29 0
Davis Pinkston 2 1 0.5 1 0
TEAM 1 -2 -2.0 0 0
RECEIVING NO YDS AVG LG TD
Malachi Russell 10 161 16.1 52 2
Devin Nilson 5 72 14.4 23 1
Mikel Barkley 3 60 20.0 26 0
Logan Gamble 2 46 23.0 25 0
Johnny Arzola 5 40 8.0 20 0
Bryce Walker 1 33 33.0 33 0
Johnny Armentrout 3 27 9.0 12 2
Zach Morel 3 23 7.7 15 0
Shevell Sterling 2 21 10.5 11 0
RECEIVING NO YDS AVG LG TD
Brandon Jordan 6 83 13.8 19 1
Thomas Duckett 4 69 17.3 27 0
Travis Koontz 1 23 23.0 23 0
Colby Barnes 1 21 21.0 21 0
Chris Brooks 2 19 9.5 17 0
Stevie Houston 1 10 10.0 10 0
Antonio Brown 1 6 6.0 6 0
Hayden Nease 3 4 1.3 2 0
Tyrese Gholar 1 -2 -2.0 0 0
KICKING FG LG XP PTS
Mark Meader 1/1 27 3/5 6
KICKING FG LG XP PTS
Kyle Continente 1/1 19 6/6 9
Ian Henzi 0/1 0 0
PUNTING NO YDS AVG LG TB IN 20
Jacob Stepanek 5 156 31.2 38 1 2
PUNTING NO YDS AVG LG TB IN 20
Jay Vanderjagt 1 34 34.0 34 0 1
Ian Henzi 1 8 8.0 8 0 0
KICKOFFS NO YDS AVG TB OB
Jacob Vose 4 217 54.3 0 1
Mark Meader 1 48 48.0 0 1
KICKOFFS NO YDS AVG TB OB
Kyle Continente 9 506 56.2 0 0
KICKOFF RETURNS NO YDS AVG LG TD
Lamar Raboteau 5 158 31.6 45 0
Damon Wigand 4 80 20.0 27 0
KICKOFF RETURNS NO YDS AVG LG TD
Thomas Duckett 2 32 16.0 17 0
Chris Brooks 1 25 25.0 25 0
PUNT RETURNS NO YDS AVG LG TD
PUNT RETURNS NO YDS AVG LG TD
Antonio Brown 1 0 0.0 0 0
INTERCEPTION RETURNS NO YDS AVG LG TD
Louie Flores 1 0 0.0 0 0
INTERCEPTION RETURNS NO YDS AVG LG TD
Trennan Carlson 1 95 95.0 95 1
Cail Jackson 1 0 0.0 0 0
FUMBLES NO LOST
FUMBLES NO LOST
DEFENSIVE STATISTICS
# PALOMAR SOLO AST TOTAL SACKS-YDS TFL-YDS FF FR-YDS INT-YDS BRUP BLKS QBH
43 Chris Calhoun 6 6 12 1 – 6 1
45 Spencer Kaoanga 4 6 10
1 Jay Craft 5 4 9 2
29 Josh Bernard 4 3 7 1 – 9 2 – 11
98 Mason Simeta 4 3 7 1 – 2 1
9 Jihad Hightower 4 2 6 1
34 Quinton Gaudet 2 4 6
31 Jonathon Segi 1 3 4
33 Giovanni Herrera 2 2 4 1
21 Louie Flores 1 1 2 1-0 3
26 Maxwell Milner 2 0 2
51 Yasuf Leigh 0 2 2
90 Isaiah Kaleopa-Tuisee 1 1 2
92 Koa Evalu-Robinson 1 1 2
99 Isaac Tuia 2 0 2
41 Efrain Contreras 0 1 1
47 Chris Murray 1 0 1
93 Martin Bonacci 0 1 1
94 Nick So’oto 0 1 1
96 Jordan Duson 0 1 1
TM TEAM
TOTALS 40 42 82 1 – 9 4 – 19 0-0 1-0 8 1
# VENTURA SOLO AST TOTAL SACKS-YDS TFL-YDS FF FR-YDS INT-YDS BRUP BLKS QBH
2D Trevon Lambert 6 4 10
28 Dondre Baker 5 3 8
20 Cross Tate 4 3 7 3
45 Cory Owens 4 3 7 1 – 8 3 – 12 1
1B Ahmad Jalloh 2 4 6
4D Cail Jackson 4 1 5 1 – 5 1 – 5 1-0 1
1 Jaylen Watson 4 0 4 3
17 Donyal Dixon 1 3 4
1C Keeven Ross 3 0 3 1
23 Chris Henry 3 0 3 1
25 Kegan Romero 1 2 3
44 Jeremiah Nunnery 0 3 3
1A Trennan Carlson 0 2 2 1-95 1
26 Tai Williams 1 1 2
72 Kyle Howard 0 2 2
8D Dewayne Coleman 1 0 1
19 Dassani Freeman 1 0 1
30 Calvin Williams 1 0 1
31 Jarius Jsckson 0 1 1
42 Parker Neos 1 0 1
47 Brett Moyer 1
TOTALS 42 32 74 2 – 13 4 – 17 0-0 2-95 9 3
OTHER INFORMATION
Location: Ventura
Stadium: Sportsplex
Attendance: 1500

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