Palomar Pounds Mt. SAC

Tyler Lorenzen (photo) threw for 2 touchdowns and rushed for another as Palomar (5-4, 3-1) upset #3 Mt. San Antonio (7-2, 3-1) Saturday afternoon at Hilmer Lodge Stadium in Walnut. 

The win puts the Comets back in the thick of the Mission Conference American Division race, while dealing a serious blow to the Mounties' playoff chances.

Even if it was unexpected, it was a sound thrashing as the Comets dominated both sides of the ball and Mt. SAC struggled in virtually every aspect of the game.  The Mounties finished with just 171 yards of offense, committed 13 penalties, had a punt blocked, lost a free ball on a kickoff and had a player ejected.

It began on the opening kickoff.  Palomar's Jake Harry's kick was high and short, in order to stay away from Mt. SAC's excellent return man, Travis Lee.  But when the ball finally hit the ground, nobody from Mt. SAC made a play on the ball and Palomar's Chauncey Dariso recovered it at the Mountie 21.

Three plays later, Palomar faced a 4th and 7 at the 18 and sent Alex Mugica out to attempt a 35-yard field goal.  But an offsides penalty against Mt. SAC convinced Palomar coach Joe Early to eschew the field goal and go for the first down.  Lorenzen rolled to his left and threw to Kevin Small for the first down, and the big Tight End got the ball all the way to the 1.  On the next play, Adrian Allen powered into the end zone to give Palomar a 7-0 lead.

Mt. SAC got even after one of the few breaks that went their way all afternoon, a Lorenzen fumble that Chris Huley recovered at the Comet 22.  Three plays later, the offensive line gave Jake Fadden plenty of time, and Fadden found Lee in the end zone and threw him a 21-yard touchdown pass to tie the score 7-7.

But that would be Mt. SAC's only score of the game, and that fumble would be Palomar's only turnover of the game.  And when Mt. SAC fumbled early in the second quarter, the momentum shifted back to the Comets, who seized control of the game. 

The score was still 7-7 when Fadden threw a short pass to Eric Walker along the left sideline.  But as Walker deked, the ball flew out of his hands, and Palomar's Tim Asaivao recovered the fumble at the Mt. SAC 38.  A 14-yard Lorenzen run got the ball to the 24.  On the next play, Allen rushed for 4 yards to the 20.  But after the play, Mt. SAC's Bernard Afutiti drew a pair of unsportsmanlike conduct penalties and was ejected from the game.  That also moved the ball to the 5, and two plays later J.D. Dodadek plowed into the end zone to put the Comets ahead, 14-7.

After a Mt. SAC punt, Palomar extended its lead to 21-7 on a 59-yard touchdown pass from Lorenzen to Tyler Fenton.  It was about a 20-yard throw, but then Fenton shook off would-be tackler Garcia Day and sped down the field to give the Comets a two-score advantage.

After another Mt. SAC punt, Palomar put together an 8-play, 87-yard drive to make it 28-7.  The Comets got a first dowon on a 10-yard run by Lorenzen, and that was enhanced by a 10-yard defensive holding penalty on which the yardage was tacked onto the run, getting the ball to the Palomar 44.  Two plays later, Lorenzen threw a 35-yard pass down the left sideline to Kyle Hill to get the Comets in scoring position.  Two plays later, Lorenzen scored from 16 yards out on a quarterback draw to make it 28-7.

In the second half, neither team scored until late in the third quarter.  On Mt. SAC's first possession, punter Richard Parkhouse had time to survey the field, run to his right and get off a running punt that traveled 49 yards.  But when he tried that again on  Mt. SAC's second possession, Palomar's Apollo Jordan chased him down and blocked the punt, giving the Comets the ball at the Mt. SAC 17.  Two plays later, Lorenzen threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Fenton to extend the lead to 35-7.

Midway through the fourth quarter, Diondre Grigsby scored on a 2-yard run to cap a 9-play drive and close out the scoring, making it 42-7.

For Palomar, Lorenzen completed 15 of 21 passes for 235 yards while rushing for 54 yards on 13 carries (75 yards on 9 attempts not counting quarterback sacks).  Hill had 3 catches for 64 yards.  Fenton had just 2 catches, but both were for touchdowns and they accounted for a game-high 73 yards.

For Mt. SAC, Fadden finished 16 of 27 passing for 113 yards and a TD.  Lee had totals of 3 catches for 35 yards, modest numbers for such a talented receiver but team-bests in both categories.  And Mt. SAC generated just 11 first downs and never put together a sustained drive.

At the moment, Palomar, Mt. SAC and Fullerton are tied atop the Mission-American division with 3-1 division records.  Mt. SAC travels to Fullerton next Saturday afternoon, while Palomar travels to Long Beach City in the evening for a 5 pm game. 


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