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‘We Will Win Tonight’

Halifax County High School head varsity football coach Stan Hodgin has an unwavering confidence in his football team.

Hodgin sees the good side of his team, the potential that lies within the individual players and the team as a whole.

That is why Hodgin made the statement this week that his Comets team will win tonight when it faces Martinsville High School here at 7:30 p.m. at Tuck Dillard Stadium.

“The statement ‘we will win tonight’ is in no way meant to be disrespectful to Coach Dalton (Martinsville High School head coach Bobby Dalton) or a very talented Martinsville High School team,” Hodgin said.

“It is 100 percent motivated by the fact that I believe in our team. I believe in the progress our guys are making. I believe in the way we have handled adversity to this point. I just believe wholeheartedly that

this game is going to be a turning point for this team and this season.”

The Comets have had a rough start to the season, going winless through their first four games. Despite the losses, there have been some signs, especially in the past two games, that the Comets are on the cusp of a breakthrough.

“I truly believe this is the week this team is going to turn the corner,” Hodgin pointed out.

“We’ve had as good a practices this week as we have had all season. Emotions have been very high. We’ve practiced with a lot of enthusiasm. The focus on our game plan in all three phases has been outstanding.”

Hodgin feels that once his team is able to nail down a win and get a taste of success the momentum will take on a snowball effect.

“I think all this team needs at this point is for something really good to happen,” noted the Comets coach.

“I think the coals at the bottom of the fire are bright orange and all we need is a puff of wind to ignite this thing. It’s not in our best interest to look ahead. Martinsville has already beaten Heritage, which beat us.

“Martinsville is going to be a very difficult challenge for our team,” Hodgin continued.

“But, just from a very general sense, I do think once this team experiences some success the confidence level will soar almost immediately and we will be a very difficult ballclub to play against after that starts.”

Hodgin explained that he and the coaching staff make as much of an effort to focus on the positive things that the players have been doing as they do in pointing out mistakes and correcting them.

“The coaching staff has tried to not only correct the mistakes that we make, which is certainly a part of the growing process, but also have tried really hard to emphasize the positives that have occurred, and there have been an awful lot of them,” Hodgin said.

“We showed the guys a tape of part of the game last week against Heritage. You watch that tape and there is absolutely no way, based on what is on that video, that we got beat Friday night.
“Our guys see that,” he continued.

“I think they see things in a different light, get a different perspective on things. It’s ‘hey, we are doing an awful lot of good things.’ That, again, is the reason for my confidence in this group on this particular week. Our guys have done a lot of good things. We have gotten better every Friday night, and we do get better each day in practice.”

Hodgin says Martinsville High School, with one victory this season, will pose a tough test for his team.

“I can say the same thing about Martinsville that I said about Heritage – their record is no indication of how good a football team they are,” Hodgin said.

“The thing that concerns me about Martinsville when they have the ball is that they have the ability to grind it out, play a power football game, keep the ball and win the time of possession battle, which, I think, is overrated.

“When you play an opponent that takes that approach,” he continued, “it does limit your number of offensive opportunities. Defensively, they run to the football exceptionally well. They are very good open-field tacklers. They probably have as good skilled people that we will have played against since the Petersburg game on both sides of the ball.”

Offensively, Hodgin says he wants to see a carryover from his team’s late-game drive last week against Heritage High School, a drive that resulted in the team’s one touchdown.

“We feel our guys responded well last Friday night on that last drive in the Heritage game,” Hodgin said.

“We’re going to put an emphasis in play-calling on the short, quick passing game. We feel Dale (quarterback Dale Trent) is extremely accurate with the quick throws underneath. We feel that gives us an opportunity to get the ball to some very good high school athletes in space and allow them to make tacklers miss and turn a five-yard completion into a 10 or 15-yard gain.”