The Saddleback football team evened its record at 2-2 on Saturday with a 30-13 win over Palomar College at the Saddleback Stadium. The Gauchos rolled up 509 yards of offense, averaging 7.8 yards-per-play, while the defense kept Palomar's offense out of the end zone.
Saddleback struggled through the first two weeks of the season on offense, but those two games are now a distant memory as the Gauchos have had back-to-back big performances, led by quarterback Johnny Stanton. The sophomore gashed Palomar for 350 yards passing and led Saddleback for a second straight game in rushing, finishing with 62 yards and a score on the ground.
Saddleback and Palomar were tied at 3-3 in the second quarter when Stanton connected with Dominic Collins on an 18-yard scoring strike, putting the Gauchos up 10-3 with 2:11 left in the half.
Palomar battled back in the second half, scoring 10 straight points on an interception return and a field goal for a 13-10 lead. The game would remain that way until the fourth quarter when Saddleback's offense kicked back into high gear.
Stanton again found Collins on a 47-yard strike on the opening drive of the quarter, giving the Gauchos a 16-13 lead with 14:18 remaining. He then called his own number from 5-yards out, providing Saddleback some breathing room at 23-13 with 9:19 remaining. The final score of the game came in the closing minutes when Albert Lake scampered 21 yards for a touchdown, sealing the fate of the Comets.
Saddleback's defense was sensational. The Gauchos did not allow an offensive touchdown, something that rarely happens in college football these days. Zachary Wade (pictured) finished with a team-leading 11 total tackles while Marcus Meredith finished with 10. The Gauchos spent a lot of time in the Palomar backfield, finishing with six tackles-for-loss and two sacks.
A pair of Gaucho receivers eclipsed the century mark as Zach Davis had four catches for 123 yards while Collins finished with four receptions for 102 and two scores. Palomar controled the ball for nearly 37 minutes, but their defense couldn't get off the field when it mattered as Saddleback was 8-of-13 on third downs and 1-of-1 on fourth downs. The Gauchos averaged 15.9 yards-per-reception after averaging just 10.6 over the first two games of the season.
The win evens Saddleback's record at 2-2 and puts them at 1-0 in National Division Southern League play. The Gauchos will travel to Santa Ana College for a 6:00 PM kickoff next Saturday.