CHULA VISTA (9-02-2017) -- Quarterback Matt Romero was near-perfect early Saturday night, then wound up shreading Southwestern's defense for 368 yards passing, including 4 touchdowns, and added a rushing TD as Palomar kicked off the 2017 season with a 38-31 victory at DeVore Stadium.
The game appeared more one-sided than the final score as the Comets led by two touchdowns out of the blocks. Romero hit on his first nine pass attempts and was 10-for-11 passing in the opening quarter as he ran and passed for two TDs. And Palomar virtually handed the Jaguars two touchdowns with unsportsmanlike penalties near the goal line and a third TD with a third-down penalty that kept a drive going.
"It was a lot of good things. We had guys step up," said Palomar coach Joe Early. "There were things I saw this team do tonight that kind of reminded me of some of our great teams of the past. But the way we continued to extend their drives with penalties on third-and-long that kept their drives going was pitiful."
Palomar was whistled for 160 yards on 10 penalties, a situation Early stressed the Comets will have to clean up.
But the good things far outweighed the bad things as Palomar led by 17 points in the fourth quarter and continued on to Early's 16th season-opening victory in his 17 years as head coach. The Comets rolled up 485 yards in total offense, were more physical than the Jaguars in wearing them down and, along with Romero's performance, got big statistical nights from Issiah Aguero (231 yards on 47 yards rushing, 104 yards receiving for eight catches and 60 yards for three kickoff returns), Nate Johnson (6 receptions for 112 yards), Danny Wood (10 tackles, including 7 solo and 1 sack) and J.D. Fox (8 tackles, 3 solo).
Palomar scored on a 15-yard TD run by Romero, Romero's touchdown passes that went for 2 yards to Rashad Harper, 28 yards to Johnny Arzola and 13 yards each to Nate Johnson and Marquis Williams, a Romero-to-David Nilson 2-point conversion pass, Tyler Vargas'' 29-yard field goal and 4 Vargas PAT kicks. Vargas also deposited two kickoffs through the end zone.
The Comets will visit Santa Monica, a 31-30 come-from-behind winner over West Los Angeles, next Saturday at 6 p.m.