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Late controversial William Fleming touchdown sinks Comets

 

“When he caught that football my heart dropped.” Those words from Halifax County High School running back Alonzo Bennett pretty much summed up his teammates’ feelings. A controversial 60-yard touchdown pass from William Fleming High School quarterback Miles Henderson to his wide open receiver Dom Dunnavile with 3:24 left in the game erased a 7-3 Comets lead and gave William Fleming High School its first win of the season, a 9-7 triumph over the Comets.

The play stood despite a vigorous questioning of the play by the Comets coaching staff, allowing William Fleming High School to take the lead and ultimately break an 18-game winless drought.

“I think it was an illegal substitution,” said Comets Head Coach Dave Wojtecki.

“My feeling is that you have to be inside the numbers (on the field) while the play is called. You can go outside the numbers after that. He (Dunnaville) was never inside the numbers. He was outside on the sideline with his head coach the whole time. He snuck onto the field, and they snapped the ball. We’ve got it on film, and we’ve watched it a couple of times.

“It’s heartbreaking for our kids to lose on something that was a totally illegal play,” added Wojtecki.

“Right before the snap, he came to the number. You can’t do that. You have to be inside, and then go out. It’s not legal.”

William Fleming High School kicker Daveon Fitzgerald connected on a 24-yard field goal attempt with 6:34 left in the first quarter to give the Colonels a 3-0 lead. The field goal came on the 12th play of the first possession of the game.

The Comets had three scoring opportunities in the game that came up empty.

Early in the second quarter the Comets drove to the Colonels’ 22-yard line but failed to convert on a fourth-down pass play. With 27.1 seconds left in the first half, the Comets’ Kyle Lacks missed a 39-yard field goal attempt, leaving the Comets trailing 3-0 at halftime.

Later, Lacks missed a 20-yard field goal attempt with 1:05 left in the third quarter on a kick that was slightly wide to the left. Both of Lacks’ kicks were very narrow misses.

“It was hard to tell with the angle,” Wojtecki said.

“Kyle is usually very reliable. I would say they were good, but they (the officials) were right under the goalpost, so they had the best view.”

Halifax County had driven to the William Fleming 21-yard line before being forced to attempt the first field goal. For the second field goal attempt, the Comets had driven to the Colonels’ 3-yard line before making the attempt.

The Comets took the lead on a 6-yard run by Trey Roberts with 6:20 left in the game. Lacks’ kick for the extra point was good, putting the Comets up 7-3. Roberts’ touchdown run came on the sixth play of a 54-yard drive.

Halifax County High School attempted a squib kick on the ensuing kickoff and almost pulled it off. After the ball touched a William Fleming player, it slipped away from him on the slick rain-drenched turf. Four Comets players attempted to snare the ball, but it squirted out of bounds with none of the Comets players having had possession of the ball long enough for the officials to give the Comets possession of the ball.

Six plays later, William Fleming High School scored the game-winning touchdown.

“It seems that every time we get up on somebody something bad always happens,” Wojtecki pointed out.

“We go up 7-3 and kick off and have an opportunity to get the ball back on the (William Fleming) 20-yard line. We just don’t gain possession of the ball enough for us to get the ball.

“The thing that separates winning games from losing games is making those plays,” Wojtecki continued.

“I think we played well enough to win, but we need to play a lot better. We’re not good enough right now to make those types of mistakes and be successful. We’ve got to play almost mistake-free if we want to win some games.”

The Comets (2-7 overall, 0-3 district) will conclude their season here Friday night, facing archrival GW in the annual Senior Night game. Kickoff at Tuck Dillard Stadium is 7 p.m.