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Patrick Henry rolls up easy 41-0 win over Blue Comets

For the first time this season, the Halifax County High School varsity football team has been hung with a shutout. Facing Western Valley District leader Patrick Henry High School Friday night in Roanoke, the Comets found themselves out-matched in a 41-0 loss to the Patriots.

“Our guys are very frustrated right now with the way they’ve played,” Comets Head Coach Dave Wojtecki said after the loss that dropped the team’s record to 2-6 overall and 0-2 in Western Valley District play.

“We haven’t run the ball well the last two games. I don’t know if it’s because they (the opponents Franklin County and Patrick Henry) are better than us, or what.

“We had an offensive lineman, Jarvis Marable, go down the first play of the game,” Wojtecki continued.

“That changes a lot about us when we lose a lineman. Kiaos Ragsdale (another offensive lineman) was battling a shoulder injury again tonight. We’re real banged up up front. It’s not an excuse why we’re not running the ball.”

It was a frustrating night for the Comets. The Comets suffered interceptions on three of their nine possessions. Even when the Comets mounted a 12-play drive that consumed the final 10 minutes of the fourth quarter they failed to score.

The Comets drove to the Patriots’ 7-yard line, but Trey Roberts was unable to get the ball into the end zone in three attempts, the final one coming from the Patriots’ 1-yard line on the final play of the game.

Halifax County put together a couple of other good drives that also came up empty. The Comets drove to the Patriots 28-yard line on one occasion in the first half and failed to convert on fourth down to keep the drive alive. A drive to the Patriots’ 27-yard line in the second half was halted as the result of an interception.

Conversely, Patrick Henry controlled the game.

PH (6-2 overall, 2-0 district) scored on its opening possession with Xavier Whorley scoring on an 18-yard run to cap a four-play, 62-yard march on the Patriots’ opening possession of the game.

Patrick Henry intercepted a pass from Comets quarterback Ford Bradshaw on the Comets’ first play from scrimmage in the game and scored eight plays later to take a 14-0 lead before the first five minutes of the game had passed.

When the game ended, Patrick Henry had scored on seven of its nine possessions of the game, tallying five touchdowns and two field goals. On the two possessions the Patriots did not score, the Comets stopped the Patriots on fourth down just short of the goal line and recovered a fumble by the Patriots at the Comets’ 11-yard line.

“They’re a very good football team,” Wojtecki pointed out.

“They’re balanced offensively. Defensively they’re very skilled at certain positions and they run extremely well.”

Wojtecki gave the Patrick Henry High School defense credit on limiting the Comets’ ground attack, which tallied 179 yards on 45 attempts. Trey Roberts led the Comets with 103 yards on 22 carries.

“They (PH) made a lot of plays to keep us at bay on the outside, and they did a good job of jamming up the middle on some of our inside runs,” Wojtecki pointed out.

Another factor, the Comets coach noted, was that PH won the battle on the offensive and defensive lines.

“They were very physical up front,” he said.

“If you lose the battle in the trenches you’re not going to win. We lost it on both sides of the ball.”