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Clip: Fall from grace

10/12/2009

Complete article appeared in The Telescope (Oct. 12, 2009)

In their first true test of the year, the Comets football team came up short against the Grossmont Griffins 29-26 at Escondido High School.

The loss is the first of the season for the Comets and drops their record to 4-1.
Grossmont improves to 5-0.

This marks the second consecutive loss against Grossmont, dating back to last season and the second loss in the last 30 years against a San Diego County opponent.

Palomar came into the game ranked No. 7 in the country but its effort did not show it.

The Comets committed 14 penalties for 107 yards, two fumbles (one of which was turned into a touchdown), and an interception.

“It was like déjà vu,” a frustrated Palomar head coach Joe Early said.

To get an idea of what kind of day it was, with Grossmont facing third down and eight yards to go, quarterback Dorian Stanton’s pass fell incomplete. The Comet defense received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that kept the Griffins’ drive alive. They eventually kicked a field goal to take the early 3-0 lead.

“We couldn’t move the ball, couldn’t tackle, we spotted them 29 points,” Early said.

The Comets came right back on their next drive. Orenzo Davis scored on a 5-yard touchdown run.

The Comets got a field goal on their next possession to extend their lead to 10-3.

The Grossmont offense got back on track in the second quarter.

Joey DeMartino and Darrin Alix scored on touchdown runs of 13 and 46 yards respectively to give the Griffins a 21-10 lead.

Stanton had two runs of over 20 yards in the first half, one of which set up a touchdown pass.

Grossmont went into halftime with a 29-10 lead.

“There was no yelling and screaming at halftime,” Early said. “We just talked about going out and execut(ing).”

The Comets started to get on track in the second half. Davis caught a 20-yard pass off a deflection from a teammate that sparked life into the Comets.

He followed up with a 14-yard run for a first down and a 20-yard pass reception by Paul Moore from Nate Ong for a first down.

The drive ended with the Comets going for it on fourth and goal, which resulted in a touchdown by Martavious Lee to make the score 29-17.

Lee ended the game with six catches for 101 yards and two touchdowns, but dropped what would have been a 48-yard touchdown, which could have broken the game open in the third quarter and pulled the Comets within six points.

“You have to have short-term memory,” Lee said. “We put a lot of energy in this game and made a lot of mistakes.”

A safety by Grossmont and Lee’s second touchdown, made the score 29-26, but that would be as close as Palomar would come.

Palomar was outrushed 243-65 in the game and outplayed for most of it, but the Comets are still optimistic about their chances of reaching their goal of making the state playoffs.

“We need to get better,” Lee said. “We have to win the rest of our games if we want to make the postseason.”

Ong finished the game completing 25-of-40 passes for 315 yards but took two blindside hits, one at the end of the game where he had to be escorted to the locker room.

“Nate did a good job coming back,” Early said. “He got hit pretty hard and there were a couple times he got hit in the head and the call was not made.”

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