By David A. Willauer - Contributing Writer
SAN MARCOS, CA - With a career record of 82-57, Palomar head coach Joe Early is ready to start his 14th season on the job.
During his playing days with the Comets, Early recorded the third longest kickoff return in school history (98 yards) during a 36-21 win over Orange Coast in the 1979 season opener. After his football career ended, he has been involved with the program and held different assistant coaching positions.
The Comets have a lot of questions to be answered as they open up their 2015 season at Citrus Community College this Saturday.
“I like the energy and atmosphere,” Early said about his team. “We’re very athletic and so is everyone else we have been playing. I'll know a little more about these guys on Sunday.
Oceanside alum Tofi PaoPao was named the starting quarterback for the season opener. Backing him up will be coach’s son Austin Early and Risaiah Busurto.
“We feel good about having those three quarterbacks,” said Early. “They will be ready for Saturday.”
Anchoring the run game will be former Rancho Buena Vista standout Daviante Sayles. He’ll be backed up by Valley Center alum Garrett Fiehler, who is coming off a redshirt year, and Vista product Jacob Bedford.
“The running game is going to be important,” Early stated. “We have to control the clock and be physical up front. There are six or seven running backs that can play for us right now. We have to wait and see how things go academically."
The Comets should also have some solid receivers. They return Wayne Ganan, who finished last season tied for the team lead in touchdown receptions (6), and tight end Tyree Burton, who also played defensive end last year. Also returning to the team after a stint in the military is Robert Ursua.
On defense, the Palomar secondary loses two all-conference players, but they return linebacker Hunter Moore and defensive end Arnold Voa. Former Oceanside standout defensive end Tommy Woo is also listed on the roster and should be a key contributor to the young defense.
The Comets finished the 2014 season with a 7-4 record and a 30-22 victory over Glendale in the Patriotic Bowl.