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Pair are solid anchors in middle of Comets’ defense

The heart of a football team’s defense is the players in the middle. For Halifax County High School, it’s Chris Baisch and Tre’ Morgan.

Baisch, a 6-2, 285-pound senior who will play his final game tonight when the Comets face archrival GW of Danville tonight at 7 p.m. in Danville, and Morgan, a junior, lead the Comets in tackles for a loss behind the line of scrimmage.

Morgan, the Comets’ middle linebacker, leads the team in tackles with 56, has 25 assists, has 11 tackles for a loss and five quarterback sacks.

Baisch, who plays nose guard on the front line, has 17 tackles, 13 assists, and eight tackles for a loss.

Together, the pair are a tough tandem for opponents to handle.

“We’ve had some success up front with Galontre Thaxton and Johnny Thaxton,” pointed out Comets Head Coach Michael Roark, “but everything we do has been developed and built off of Tre’ and Chris up the middle.”

Opposing teams have developed so much respect for Baisch’s ability up front that Baisch regularly finds himself being double-teamed. At times, Baisch has been triple-teamed.

“They (opposing teams) double-team him (Baisch) a lot out there, so I just try to go out and make the play behind him.” Morgan explained.

“I just clean up everything.”

Morgan has done that on a regular basis as his numbers show. The linebacker’s numbers began to pile up quickly after Roark changed the team’s defensive scheme the third week of the season.

“Once we changed things up, I started learning the defense better,” Morgan explained.

“Now I know it well. It’s all about quickness. He (Roark) put everybody out there that was quick, people that could make plays.”

“Tre’ has found his niche,” Roark pointed out.

“We went to the stack (defense) and put him at Mike (middle linebacker), covered him up and let him run to the ball. We’re not a team where our linebackers will step up and take on guards. We’re a team that will dip and rip and outrun you. Tre’ does a good job of that. He’s not afraid to run.”

A big plus with Morgan, Roark said, is that he is emerging as a team leader.

“He doesn’t realize it, but he shows some leadership out there on the field when he wants to and the kids look up to him,” noted Roark.

“Leadership and playing hard on defense are two things you can’t really coach and you like to see in a player.”

Baisch, like Morgan, entered the season looking to have a big year.

“I was looking to dominate,” Baisch said.

“I was looking for a big year.”

Numbers-wise, Baisch has not tallied the big numbers as Morgan and others may have. He admits that is frustrating at times.

“During the game it’s frustrating,” he said.

“Everybody wants to make plays. When everybody is talking about all of the tackles they’ve made, I’m just like ‘I haven’t gotten any yet.’ When it does happen, it makes you feel like you’ve accomplished something.”

Success for Baisch is not measured by numbers, it is measured by effort.

“You’re seeing teams double-team him and triple-team him, and he’s still making plays,” Roark pointed out.

“That’s a compliment to the kid. He’s a hard worker. He’s a strong kid. He’s played hurt, he’s played beat-up, he’s played tired. When you’re playing nose, you’re going to get that kind of stuff. He’s just a warrior. He keeps going.”

The Comets’ defensive lineman says he accepts the fact that he is going to be double-teamed more times than not as a compliment.

“It makes me feel good,” Baisch said when asked how it feels to often have to fight off the blocks of a pair of players.

“It lets me know that the work I’ve been doing in the off-season shows and that I’ve done something for somebody else to notice.”

As for tonight’s game, both players want to see the Comets end the season with a win over their archrival.

“I’m going to go out there and try my hardest to stop their (GW’s) running back and keep players out of there (the defensive secondary),” Morgan said.

“I just want to finish out strong and play this last game the hardest I can,” added Baisch.

“I don’t know what is going to happen after this year. I want to make this game count.”