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Comets Get First Win

Halifax County High School football coach Stan Hodgin went on record last week promising that his Comets football team would win Friday night’s game here against Martinsville High School.
Not only did the Comets win and keep Hodgin’s promise, they did it in a convincing fashion.

With six touchdowns in the first half and quarterback Dale Trent throwing for 500 yards and all six touchdowns, the Comets manhandled Martinsville High School in a 41-7 win for the team’s first victory of the season.

Trent finished the game having completed 30 of his 51 passes. Markee Brooks, who had touchdown catches of 85 yards and 64 yards, led a cadre of seven Comets receivers with his three catches for 181 yards in the game.

Thomas Logan, who had five catches for 82 yards, also had two touchdown catches in the game.

As a team, the Comets racked up 462 yards of offense in the first half and logged 533 yards of offense for the game. Martinsville High School had 196 yards of offense in the contest.

The performance by the Comets was a big delivery on Hodgin’s promise.

“I got couple of pokes from the guys after the game,” Hodgin said with a smile.

“It’s all good. I think they appreciated it. To have somebody stand behind you and say I believe in you is important. That was the message I wanted to send to our guys. I think they know, without a doubt, that I believe in them as individuals, as young men, and I certainly believe in them as a group and as a football team.

“They responded like I thought they would,” added Hodgin.

“They gave a great effort and played with great passion.”

Halifax County scored on six of its eight first-half possessions. The first score came on the Comets’ first possession of the game with Brooks snaring a pass from Trent for an 85-yard touchdown play with just 25 seconds having ticked off of the clock. The extra-point kick by Jordan Keck sailed wide, leaving the Comets with a 6-0 lead.

“My eyes just blew up,” Brooks said of when he saw the ball coming toward him in the open field.

“Patches (Trent) got the right read and caught me open in the middle of the field and I scored. The ball was so perfect. He put it right in my chest.”

Another big play, a 65-yard toss from Trent to Logan, netted another touchdown for the Comets with 7:52 left in the first quarter. A kick by Keck gave the Comets a quick 13-0 edge.

“After the second score we had momentum on our side and we had really positive emotion on our sideline,” Hodgin noted.

“Our players maintained their focus on their individual assignments and really concentrated and continued to execute at a very high level. All of the components were in place for the snowball effect to continue.”

It did.

Halifax County scored one more time in the first quarter, with Trent hitting Lemal Adams with a pass that resulted in a 35-yard scoring play.

Leading 20-0 at the end of the first quarter, Halifax County tacked on two more touchdowns in the middle of the second quarter, one on a 4-yard toss from Trent to Kendall Adams, and another on a 64-yard throw from Trent to Brooks with 5:07 left in the first half.

Martinsville High School, trailing 34-0 at the time, scored its lone touchdown of the game on a 46-yard run by Cedric Tarpley with 2:40 left in the first half. The extra-point kick by Colin Welch made the score 34-7.

The final score of the half and the game came when Logan caught an 18-yard pass from Trent for a touchdown with 1.6 seconds left in the first half. That score and the extra-point kick from Keck gave the Comets a 41-7 halftime lead, a lead they held the rest of the way.

Martinsville High School had three possible scoring opportunities go by the board in the second half. On their opening possession of the second half, the Bulldogs drove to the Comets’ 24-yard line only to lose the ball on a fumble.

The Bulldogs’ Jarez Turner came up with an interception to stop a Comets drive on the Comets’ first possession of the second half. However, the Bulldogs were forced to punt the ball away after three plays after failing to make a first down.

In their first possession of the fourth quarter, the Bulldogs worked their way down to the Comets’ 20-yard line, but turned the ball over on downs after failing to convert on a fourth-down play.
For the Bulldogs, it was a disappointing night.

“This was a game that I thought we had a great opportunity to win,” Martinsville head coach Bobby Dalton said. “Taking nothing away from Halifax, they’ve had a tough road before us. I thought we could physically come at them. Once they (Halifax) got the ball, we were not able to put any pressure on the quarterback and he was able to find his receivers.

“After they (Halifax) hit us twice for big plays for touchdowns, I think we were shell-shocked,” added Dalton.

“We didn’t know which direction to turn. We just kept scrambling and they kept playing very well.”