Palomar Overtakes Southwestern

Southwestern College had visions of coming to Escondido high school and beating nationally ranked Palomar College in their home field. The Jaguars went home feeling like cubs after being unable to hold a 13 point lead at halftime, losing to the Comets 30-16.

It was Palomar's ground game that shattered any hopes the Jaguars had. Using their traditional No-Huddle offense, the Comets blasted through the heart of the Jaguars defense.

The Jags allowed 231 rushing yards. The Palomar running back combo of Alex Thompson and Chris Williams provided the Comets with 218 yards in the second half, including three touchdowns.

"They executed better then we did," said linebacker Marcell Lagrone. "They only ran one play, the same play every down. They just wanted more than some of us did, I know damn well I wanted this game."

Lagrone had 11 tackles, 3 sacks, forced two fumbles and a blocked punt. He recovered all three balls, too.

Coming into the game the offensive game plan for the Jaguars was to use the Comets defensive aggressiveness against them.

"They play soft in the back," said wide receiver Chad Donaldson. "They like to gamble, but they will get burned if they gamble too often."

In the first half quarterback David Bellinger was 8-19 for 209 yards, including a 72-yards touchdown pass to sophomore Richard Gaines. Bellinger also ran in his second touchdown of the season from 7-yards away on a scramble. Gaines finished the game with 5 receptions for 117 yards with one touchdown.

Instead of going out at the 4-yard line Bellinger hurdled the Comets defense to put the Jaguars ahead 10-3 after the PAT. Bellinger's touchdown did not come cheap.

"I just landed straight down on my neck," said Bellinger. "I saw that nothing was open so I went and tried to jump as high as I could and got spun in an awkward way."

Head coach Walt Justice noticed that the redshirt freshman was not the same.

"After the hit he made a couple of bad calls," said Justice.

The Jags missed out on a great opportunity to put the Comets out of the game. With 1:41 left in the half Bellinger, working from the five yard line, was looking for wide receiver Isa-Abdul Azizz, who was blanketed inside the end zone. He then made an ill-advised throw into triple coverage which resulted in an interception. The miscue kept Palomar within 13 points at half time..

After going out on three plays twice in the second half, Justice sat down Bellinger in favor of Sammy Chavez.

"I felt it was best to go with Sammy," said Justice. We wanted to give David a breather. It was wise decision and I'd do it again."

With the momentum slowly slipping away from the Jaguars, Azziz fumbled on the Jag's 40-yard line. Linebacker Andrew Dorsey recovered the ball for Palomar and returned it 38-yards down to the two-yard line. Two plays later running back Josh Sattley punched it in from one yard to tie the game at 16.

Bellinger came back in the fourth quarter and showed he still had some comeback magic left in him from last week, but two penalties later the Jaguars were faced with 3rd and a long 21. Palomar defensive lineman Andrew Paopao hit Bellinger from behind knocking the ball loose. The Comets recovered the ball at the Jaguar 39. Thompson put the finishing touches on the game on a one-yard touchdown run.

 "We're a good team," said Justice. "We're young and we made mistakes, but we can't put our defense in the situation that we did. We gave them the game."

Bellinger will take the loss and try to learn from it.

"You can't beat yourself," he said. "Can't make mental mistakes, we have to execute and we can't doubt the other team. We jumped ahead 16-3 and I think it went to our heads."

With the lost the Jaguars loose their four-game winning streak. They travel to Mt. San Jacinto to take on the Eagles next week.

"We need to get back on the winning track," said Justice. "And we are going to do everything in our power to prepare to beat Mt. San Jacinto."

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