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Comets look to knock off Magna Vista

Halifax County High School Head Coach Dave Wojtecki knows his Comets team has a tough job on its hand when it faces Magna Vista High School tonight at 7 p.m. in Ridgeway.  But, Wojtecki says his team has confidence it can get the job done. A lot of that has to do with last Friday’s Homecoming win over Martinsville High School, a win that improved the Comets’ record to 2-3 on the season.

“They’re talking about going up there and upsetting them,” Wojtecki said of his players.

“They’re riding really high right now confidence-wise.”

The Comets can even up their record and reach the .500 mark with a win. If that happens, it will be the first time a Comets football team will have been at the .500 mark at this juncture of the season in three years.

“It would be real big for us to be able to come out of this game with a win and come out of this first part of the season with a .500 record,” Wojtecki pointed out.

“If we can do that, it will give the guys a lot of confidence going into the Franklin County game and starting Western Valley District play. Magna Vista beat Franklin County, and a win would give our guys a lot of confidence. It would be amazing to see what would happen if the guys got a little more confidence.”

On the other side of the ledger of tonight’s game, Magna Vista High School (5-0) will be looking to keep its record unblemished. The player that has been largely responsible for the Warriors’ success is 5-9, 176-pound senior quarterback Harvey Taylor.

Taylor, a widely-scouted college prospect, threw for 428 yards and three touchdowns and ran for one touchdown in the Warriors’ win last week over Pulaski County High School.

“We’ve really worked hard this week to concentrate on him,” Wojtecki said.

“He’s a great dual-threat quarterback. He throws the ball well and runs very effectively. We’ve got to be on our game.”

Wojtecki said what he hopes to accomplish defensively is to get the ball out of Taylor’s hands.

“Our main focus is to make sure we have a game plan to take the ball out of his hands by his reads and make sure we have plenty of guys around him when he keeps the ball,” explained the Comets’ coach.

“We’re going to try to keep him (Taylor) honest by trying to make him hand the ball off. We’d like to see the ball out of his hands rather than in his hands. We’ve also got to be ready for their passing game. But, our main concern is that when he has the ball that we have guys around him to make tackles.”

Last week the Comets had one of their better offensive outings and did so on the strength of a solid ground attack. Wojtecki says he hopes to get the Comets’ running game on track again in tonight’s game.

“We’re always going to be a run-threat team first,” Wojtecki pointed out.

“But, we have to be able to throw the ball in this game. Last year they didn’t respect us throwing the ball at all. They packed the box, and that makes it tough to run the ball. We have to be able to throw the ball effectively just to keep them honest.”

The Comets have shown an ability to move the football in recent games, and Wojtecki wants to see that trend continue tonight.

“Nobody has really lined up and stopped us from running the football,” he said.

“We’ve done our share of stopping ourselves with penalties and missed assignments and that sort of thing. When we’re clicking on all cylinders nobody has done anything to stop our running game. That’s the strength of our team right now.”

Tonight’s game against Magna Vista High School marks a dividing line of sorts in the Comets’ season. The Comets will be idle next week, giving them two full weeks to prepare for their Western Valley District opener against Franklin County High School in Rocky Mount on October 14.