- Last Updated on 12:22 PM 04/23/12
- BY Joe Chandler
With the first half of the season and a win last week in the books, the Halifax County High School varsity football team is looking to pick up more momentum tonight when it faces Magna Vista High School in Ridgeway.
Tonight’s 7 p.m. game at Magna Vista High School is another big one for the Comets, who are looking to gain an extra measure of momentum heading into their open week next week and the start of Western Valley District play in two weeks against GW.
“Having an open week after the Magna Vista game, whatever the results of this game are, we’re going to have live with it for two weeks,” pointed out Comets head coach Stan Hodgin.
“We won’t have the normal one-week turnaround. It’s awfully tough to enter an open week following a loss. It seems like the next game is a lot further away than two weeks.
“Once this game is over, we start district play and we want to have as many positive feelings, momentum and confidence as possible,” Hodgin continued.
“We want our confidence level to be as high as we can get it. The fact that we open (district play) with GW and we have such a short district schedule means you really can’t afford to have a hiccup once you enter district play.”
Both Halifax County and Magna Vista have one win entering tonight’s game, a game that kicks off the second half of the season for the Comets. The Comets enter the game coming off of a 41-7 win here last week over Martinsville High School.
Magna Vista, on the other hand, lost to nearby William Campbell High School last Friday night and is looking to get back into the win column.
Hodgin pointed out that Magna Vista High School is a formidable opponent.
“You have to keep in mind, from the Comets’ perspective that in their opening game they (Magna Vista) beat Heritage, which beat us by a touchdown, 35-0,” he noted. “They (Magna Vista) are certainly capable of playing at a very high level. They’ve proven that they can.
“In a lot of ways,” Hodgin continued, “our teams are very similar in that we have each played at a very high level one time and struggled in other games. We’re going to have to be at our very best Friday night.”
Hodgin said his Comets players have had a good week, a week buoyed by last Friday night’s win over Martinsville High School.
“We have a little extra spring in our step,” Hodgin said.
“The guys have now seen themselves be successful on the field for an extended period. I think you can see that our confidence level is growing.
“I think part of it is attributed to the success we had last Friday night,” Hodgin added.
“I also think part of it is that the guys have more of an excitement about what’s to come. This is an awfully big ballgame for us. I think our players recognize that. Right around the corner we start district play, which is going to raise the intensity another notch or two. I think our guys are really looking forward to the things that are coming up.”
Hodgin said that in Magna Vista, Comets fans will see a Warriors team that will look a lot like the Comets on offense.
“They have run a spread offense, and they’ll look very much like us before the ball is snapped,” said Hodgin.
“They seem to take more of a run approach. They remind me a lot of our teams when Rodale Pippen (former Comets quarterback Rodale Pippen) was here.”
The Warriors are led on offense by quarterback Harvey Taylor, a 5-7, 160-pound sophomore. Taylor has two solid running backs, Thaddeus Carter (5-11, 181 pound junior) and Byron Becker (6-0, 215-pound senior), at his disposal.
“Carter has been their starter,” noted Hodgin.
“He got nicked up in the Franklin County game two weeks ago, and last week, Byron Becker had most of the carries at running back. Both of those young men are capable of having a big game against any opponent.”
As far as receivers go, the Warriors have an outstanding wide-out in 6-5, 192-pound senior Tyler Davis.
“He’s their most dangerous weapon outside,” Hodgin pointed out. He leads the team in receptions, and is a handful for any high school cornerback just because of his size.”
One of the points of emphasis tonight, Hodgin said, is for the team to play with focus and intensity for the 48 minutes of the game.
“We lost a little bit of focus in the second half (last week),” Hodgin pointed out.
“We weren’t quite as sharp offensively. We weren’t converting third downs. Defensively, I thought we got a little lax in our tackling in the open field.
“It’s very difficult, especially when you haven’t been there before, to maintain your focus when the game gets so one-sided,” he continued.
“I think that’s true, whether you’re on the good end or whether you’re on the trailing end. Once finality sets in, I think it’s just a natural human characteristic to lose focus.
“That’s been a point that we have harped on this week,” added the Comets coach. “We’ve told our guys that our games are 48 minutes (long) and we need to not be concerned about the scoreboard and concentrate on what we’re supposed to do for each of those 48 minutes.”