East County Sports

Comets win post postseason bowl

2021 WINTER FESTI-BOWL CHAMPION PALOMAR COMETS
2021 COMMUNITY COLLEGE FOOTBALL
2021 WINTER FESTI-BOWL

PALOMAR 44, SANTA BARBARA 22

By Nick Pellegrino
ECS staff writer

 

ESCONDIDO —- College football administrators continue to confound the public.

In the Pacific 12 Conference, despite the conference championship being played in Las Vegas on Friday, the season wasn’t officially completed until Saturday, when USC traveled to Berkeley to play California in a make-up game that meant nothing to either program.

The community colleges did something similar over the weekend.

Despite most California state bowl games being held during Week 12 (Thanksgiving Weekend), Santa Barbara and Palomar college waited until Saturday (Dec. 4) to play in their bowl game, as the host Comets took a 44-24 decision in the Winter Festi-Bowl at Bob Wilson Stadium.

Palomar (6-5) never trailed, jumping out to a 10-0 lead six minutes into the one-sided contest. However, a record was set on the side of the Santa Barbara City (7-4).

Vaqueros kicker Jorge Figueroa put three points on the board with a chip-shot, 21-yard field goal for the team’s opening points early in the first quarter. For Figueroa, it was his 12th field goal of the season, equaling the SBCC single-season record set by Jeremy Ybarra in 2017.

Otherwise, this “Festi-Bowl” contest was all Palomar, which expanded its lead through the first three quarters, including a 17-0 man-handling in the third period to mount a 37-10 cushion.

Comets quarterback Zeke Payne needed less than two minutes to find the end zone, connection with Brandon Johnson on a 28-yard touchdown pass — the firtst of four TD passes by Payne (19-for-38, 324 yards).

Johnson finished with 82 yards on four three receptions, three good for scores. Edward Imgrund also registered a TD catch, while Tawee Walker rushed 21 times for 114 yards and the team’s fifth score, part of 494 yards in total offense for P-Town.

The Comets’ defense was led by Jalen Dye with a pair of interceptions, while Khalid Walker registered a team-best with five tackles, including the lone sack of the contest.

For Santa Barbara, linebacker Zach Schipper led all players with eight tackles and season-highs of 2.5 sacks and three tackles for a loss.

Despite a .500 record during the regular season, Palomar gained its first postseason appearance since 2018. For SBCC, it was the first Vaqueros bowl berth since 2017.

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