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Pierce Not Bruised in 40-0 Beating : College football: Top-ranked Palomar cruises past the Brahmas in passing gear.


SAN MARCOS — Pierce College football Coach Bill Norton has taken beatings from the nation's No. 1-ranked team before, but he said this one--a 40-0 season-opening defeat at the hands of Palomar on Saturday at San Marcos High--felt strangely different.

"When we lost to Bakersfield when they were No. 1, we were just punished, but (Palomar) was more of a finesse team," he said. "It hurts your pride just as much, but it's not a physical beating."

Pierce quarterbacks Davis Delmatoff and Rodney Williams might not agree with Norton's assessment. Delmatoff was sacked eight times and Williams was put on his back three times. And when they weren't on the ground, they were running for their lives.

"They're pretty good," said Delmatoff, who completed 14 of 27 passes for 94 yards. "They're quick up front and they're strong.

"Our offensive line is young. They'll get better. They're adjusting to a new system."

Said Norton: "We had some injuries in our offensive line and we didn't give our quarterback time."

Pierce mounted its only serious threat late in the first half, but that ended at the Palomar 16 when Delmatoff threw an incomplete pass on fourth and two. By then, Palomar quarterback Tom Luginbill, a first-team All-American last year, had done most of his damage.

He threw a nine-yard scoring pass in the first quarter and two more on plays of 78 and 40 in the second quarter. Luginbill, son of San Diego State Coach Al Luginbill, was 20 of 30 for 386 yards and three touchdowns. The score, which was 33-0 at half, could have been worse but Luginbill threw two interceptions inside Pierce's 30 and fumbled away a snap at the Brahmas' two-yard line.

Palomar Coach Tom Craft also did Pierce a favor by pulling Luginbill in the third quarter and keeping the ball on the ground for much of the fourth quarter.

So is Palomar the nation's best team, as ranked by USA Today?

"They very well could be No. 1," Norton said. "What could we say? They didn't do anything to disprove that."

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