Saddleback linebacker Landon Cook celebrates a tackle against Palomar College. The Gauchos improved to 1-0 in conference and 2-2 overall. (Nick Nenad/Lariat)
Saddleback College’s football team defeated the Palomar College Comets on Saturday, 30-13. The Gauchos got their first conference win of the season in the National Division Southern League and improve to 2-2 overall.
Saddleback’s defense did not let a touchdown in the game, only two field goals. The only Palomar touchdown came on an interception by linebacker Michael Almodovar that was returned 60 yards.
After a scoreless first quarter, the teams traded field goals making it 3-3. The Gauchos were the first team to get a touchdown, when quarterback Johnny Stanton threw an 18-yard pass to wide receiver Dominik Collins with making the score 10-3.
Saddleback’s defense had the stand of the year later in the first half. The Gauchos stopped Palomar on the four-yard line two times in a row to end the first half. Both plays were pass attempts.
“We play together you know, we all care about each other,” said safety Kai Ross. “We’re actually a brotherhood and we’re gonna stick up for each other on the goal line.”
Linebacker Connor Toohey reiterated the importance of the goal line stand after the game as well.
“The way we played this week, that goal line stop was crucial,” said Toohey.
Linebacker Zachary Wade (No. 7, red, on top) and Dimone Backus (No. 35) tackle a Comets player hard. The Gauchos defense did not allow a touchdown in the contest. (Nick Nenad/Lariat)
On Saddleback’s first drive of the second half, Stanton threw an interception, that was tipped by wide receiver Alexander Coplan, which was returned for a touchdown, tying the game at 10. A Palomar field goal by Reggie Wilson late in third quarter would give the Comets a 13-10 lead.
Stanton and Collins would connect once again on a 47-yard touchdown pass to give the Gauchos a 17-13 lead on their next drive. Collins stated after the game he loves getting into the end zone, especially since Saddleback plays only 10 regular season games.
“It felt good, it’s been awhile since I have been in the end zone consistently,” said Collins. “You only get 10 games in a year, so ending up in the end zone is always awesome.”
Saddleback went on to shut down Palomar for the rest of the contest and score two more touchdowns to move to win the game, 30-13.
“We played amazing, we practiced great all week, we studied really hard and our front seven played really well,” said Ross. “It’s always good to win in conference.”
Stanton and Collins led the offense. Stanton threw for 350 yards, added 62 yards on the ground and had three total touchdowns. Collins caught both of Stanton’s touchdown passes and had 102 receiving yards.
Defensive backs Zachary Wade and Marcus Meredith led the Saddleback defense. Wade and Meredith had 11 and 10 total tackles respectively and linebacker Blake Whitlock added a fumble recovery.
“We need to limit our turnovers on offense, but overall, defense played excellent and they played well enough for us to win and that is what we need,” said Collins. “Our confidence is up, but we still got a couple more conference games ahead of us, so we still got a long way to go.”
Saddleback goes back on the road next Saturday, Oct. 3 when they play Santa Ana College. The game will kickoff at 6 p.m.
Multiple Gauchos tackle one Palomar player. Saddleback has won two straight games, after losing the first two games of the season. (Nick Nenad/Lariat)