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Comets end five-year Homecoming drought with 17-10 win over Martinsville

Throughout the day on Friday, Halifax County High School Head Football Coach Dave Wojtecki was questioned about his team playing the night’s annual Homecoming football game on a muddy field at Tuck Dillard Stadium. His constant reply was he didn’t mind it at all.

After Friday night’s 17-10 win over Martinsville High School, a win that broke a five-year Homecoming drought, Wojtecki had to explain no further.

“I thought it was a good move for us because I thought we were better than they (Martinsville High School) were up front, and that the rain and mud would benefit us,” Wojtecki explained.

The Comets had little trouble navigating the sloppy turf, as senior running back Trey Roberts ran for 171 yards on 21 carries and junior Alonzo Bennett ran for 104 yards on 21 carries while scoring a touchdown and a two-point conversion.

It was the biggest night of the season for both of the Comets running backs and a showcase for the Comets’ ground game.

“We had that (the running game) planned from the beginning of the game,” Bennett said.

“Our blocking schemes were pretty good. I give the credit to all of the offensive linemen. They’re my best friends.”

While the win was celebrated by all of the Comets coaches and players, it was an especially sweet one for the seniors.

“This really means a lot,” said senior defensive player Reggie Jones.

“It was our seniors’ last Homecoming. It’s been five years since we’ve had a Homecoming win. It’s great to be able to give this to our town.”

Comets senior quarterback Ford Bradshaw echoed that sentiment.

“Coach Wojtecki kept telling us all week we hadn’t won at Homecoming in five years,” Bradshaw pointed out.

“We wanted to win this year and make this senior class the one that won Homecoming. I’m happy right now.”

While the Comets were able to celebrate, Martinsville High School (1-3 overall) gave them some anxious moments late in the game.

The Comets appeared to be in good shape heading into the final two minutes of the game. But, that changed when Martinsville High School’s Bryson Stokes intercepted a pass by Bradshaw with 1:45 left in the game and returned the ball to the Bulldogs’ 43-yard line.

There, the Comets’ defense held. Martinsville High School quarterback Ishmel Hairston failed to connect on any of his four straight pass attempts, with the Comets defensive unit batting down one pass and almost intercepting another.

That defensive stand gave the Comets the ball back with 1:17 left in the game and Bradshaw was able to run out the clock to preserve the win.

“This was a big win for our confidence after coming off of a loss,” Wojtecki said.

“The guys really needed this going into next week’s Magna Vista game.”

Halifax County ran its way to a score on its opening possession of the game. Bennett scored on an 8-yard run with 8:29 left in the first quarter to cap an eight-play, 80-yard drive that was completed without the Comets throwing a pass.

After a Martinsville penalty, Bennett ran in a two-point conversion attempt to put the Comets up 8-0.

The Comets used a predominantly ground –oriented attack the rest of the night.

“I thought we could run the ball down their throat,” Wojtecki pointed out.

“I knew they couldn’t stop us, especially after we got on a roll. I had a good feeling they (Martinsville) were going to have trouble with our running game all night long.”

Martinsville High School answered on its second play from scrimmage when Hairston scored on a 58-yard run. Zack Corcoran kicked the extra point, leaving Halifax County with an 8-7 lead.

The Bulldogs took the lead on a 30-yard field goal by Corcoran with 2:55 left in the first half.

Halifax County answered it on its ensuing possession with a 31-yard field goal by Kyle Lacks with 9.1 seconds left in the first half to give the Comets an 11-10 lead at halftime.

As it did at the start of the game, Halifax County scored on its opening possession of the second half with Tyler Stephens scoring on a 4-yard run with 5:55 left in the third quarter. The extra-point attempt failed, leaving the Comets with a 17-10 lead they held the rest of the way.