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Comets fall to Jefferson Forest

“We’ve just got to get good at what we do.”

Those words from Halifax County High School Head Football Coach Dave Wojtecki pretty well summarize his team’s situation.

Battling an inconsistency in offensive execution, the Comets lost their season opener Friday night, falling 35-12 to Jefferson Forest High School in Forest.

“Our execution was horrible,” Wojtecki said.

“There were things they (Jefferson Forest) were giving us scheme-wise but we didn’t execute well enough to break through them. I hold that totally on my head.”

The Comets struggled offensively in the first half, going three plays and out on four of their six first-half possessions. That situation, which included a shanked punt that traveled only six yards, kept the Comets’ defense on its heels the entire half.

JF rang up 21 points in the first half, leaving the Comets trailing 21-0 at halftime. The Cavaliers ran their lead up to 28-0 when Chad Pinnigas out-ran Comets quarterback Richard Jacobs in a chase for a fumbled snap from center and fell on the ball in the end zone for a touchdown with 6:38 left in the third quarter.

While Jefferson Forest appeared to have the game under wraps at that point, the Comets didn’t give up.

The Comets bounced back to produce their first scoring drive of the season, a 10-play, 80-yard march capped by an 8-yard run by Jacobs for a touchdown. Halifax County missed the extra-point attempt, leaving them down 28-6.

Jefferson Forest answered with a long scoring drive of its own, marching 77 yards in 10 plays for a score. Tyler Fowler, who led the Cavaliers with 140 yards rushing on 25 attempts, scored on an 8-yard run with 3:16 left in the third quarter, allowing JF to extend its lead to 35-6.

The Comets added one more touchdown before the night ended, with Alonzo Bennett scoring on a 13-yard run with 2:53 left in the game. Halifax County’s extra-point attempt failed, leaving the Comets trailing by the eventual final score of 35-12.

Halifax County had one almost-sure scoring opportunity slip through its grasp late in the third quarter after JF had scored its final touchdown.

A 63-yard pass play between Jacobs and receiver Freddie Edmunds set the Comets up with a first down at the Cavaliers’ 12-yard line. Jacobs followed with a 3-yard run to the 9-yard line, but was injured on the play.

Jacobs was treated on the sidelines and was later taken to Lynchburg General Hospital for treatment. Wojtecki said yesterday Jacobs sustained a dislocated hip and will be examined by additional doctors in the coming days. The Comets coach said the best-case scenario would be that Jacobs would be out of action for four to six weeks.

For the night, Jacobs finished with 52 yards rushing and 110 yards in passing.

The Comets faced a fourth down and 1-yard to go situation at the Cavaliers’ 3-yard line on that drive, but failed to come up with a first down and turned the ball over to JF on downs.

While the Comets’ defense yielded 35 points, Wojtecki said the defensive unit did a fairly good job.

“When you put your defense against the wall multiple times in the first half like we did, I thought they did very well,” Wojtecki said.

“Jefferson Forest started on our half of the field or close to it the whole first half. That’s asking a lot of your defense to step up and stop a very talented young man like Marcus Jones (the JF quarterback) all night.”

Jones, a highly rated quarterback, kept the JF offense in gear, running for 135 yards on 24 carries. He threw for one touchdown and ran for another.

Wojtecki praised the effort of his team.

“We did take a little bit of a whipping scoreboard-wise, but I thought the kids played hard,” Wojtecki pointed out.

“They never lost focus. The kids played extremely hard the whole game. That’s one thing we have preached all along. If you can do that, you can walk away with a little bit of pride.”