Gauchos put out the Comets in conference crossing

Gauchos wide receiver Eric Lauderdale breaks free for a long reception in Saddleback’s homecoming matchup against Fullerton College earlier this season. Lauderdale led the team on Saturday with 124 yards and three touchdowns on 10 receptions. (Michael Grennell)

Adam Kolvites

The Saddleback College football team came away with the win Saturday night, as they blew out the conference rival Palomar Comets 45-17.

With the win, Saddleback is now 4-4 on the season, and 2-2 in conference play, while Palomar drops to 2-6 (1-3). The Gauchos are currently tied for third place in the National Southern Conference with the Grossmont College Griffins.

The Gaucho’s offense and defense played sound, with the defense holding the Comets to minimal scores and the offense capitalizing on various plays. Saddleback quarterback, receivers and kicker led an air assault against the Comets with 38 points in the air.

Wide receiver Eric Lauderdale had an exceptional night with 124 yards and three touchdowns on 10 receptions. It was Lauderdale’s fourth game of the season with more than 100 yards receiving, and his second straight game with multiple touchdowns.

Humbled by his performance, Lauderdale said, “I think I performed well tonight. It’s not my best game, but I think I did my job and so did my teammates.”

Gaucho quarterback Tim Belman set a national record for most career pass attempts on Saturday, breaking the old record of 833 pass attempts, previously held by quarterback David Pittman of Pasadena City College. Belman now has a total of 868 pass attempts in his two seasons as Saddleback quarterback, with two games left in the regular season. Belman threw five touchdowns in the win, as well as 372 yards thrown (33-46).

The Comets had a hard time warming up and only scored 2 touchdowns and a field goal. Lamb linked up with receiver Sam Browning for both touchdowns.

“We had opportunities that we didn’t take advantage of and we came out the third quarter and really didn’t get anything established,” Palomar Head Coach Joe Early said. “They put points on the board and we played catch up from there on out.”

Saddleback defense made key turnovers in the second half that gave the offense room to breathe. In the third quarter on a kickoff, Gaucho Doug Ruggles recovered a fumble from the Comets, which led to a Saddleback score on the following drive. Then in the fourth quarter, defensive back Davontae Merriweather intercepted Comet quarterback Ryan Lamb which led again to another Gauchos score.  

Saddleback’s next game will be on Nov. 9 at Grossmont College at 1 p.m.

Quarterback Tim Belman releases the throw despite pressure. (Adam Kolvites)

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