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Missed Opportunities Haunt Comets In Loss

The Comets’ varsity football team’s 12-9 loss at Magna Vista Friday night can be summed up in two words - missed opportunities.

Magna Vista turned the ball over seven times, including four fumbles and three interceptions, with Comets’ defensive back Iric Webster picking off three Warriors’ passes.

Halifax County failed to convert on fourth down five different times during the game, with drives ending at the Magna Vista 18, 16, 37, 43 and 15-yard lines, the final two times inside the three-minute mark of the fourth quarter.

Comets coach Stan Hodgin said the missed opportunities were the big reason for the Comets dropping to 1-5 on the season.

“I thought our preparation and focus this week in practice for a very good Magna Vista team was outstanding,” Hodgin said.

“I felt like we ready to play when we got here and I thought our coaching staff did an outstanding job putting a game plan together, but a costly interception here and a dropped pass there was the difference.

“But, you have to give an awful lot of credit to those guys from Magna Vista, they played hard tonight.
“I don’t think you can fault any of our kids for their effort, and I thought they played awfully hard,” Hodgin continued.

“I thought the majority of the game we played with a high football IQ, but there were some critical times in the ball game where they made a better play than we did or we failed to make a play, however you want to look at it.”

Magna Vista committed six turnovers in the first two quarters, and Halifax failed twice on fourth down conversions in the first half before breaking through late in the second quarter.

Comets’ quarterback Dale Trent, who completed 25 of 50 passes for 190 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions, tossed a 13-yard touchdown to Lemal Adams with 2:20 remaining in the second quarter.

That capped a 45-yard drive that took little more than a minute and included runs by Trent and Thomas Logan and two completions to Adams.

Jordan Keck kicked the extra point to give Halifax County a 7-0 lead at halftime.

Down by seven at halftime, the Warriors’ running game clicked on their second possession of the third quarter on a nine-play drive that took a little more than four minutes, with Magna Vista quarterback Harvey Taylor scoring on a nine-yard run up the middle for the first of his two touchdowns.

Halifax blocked the extra point to keep a 7-6 lead, but failed on a fourth down conversion at the Magna Vista 43-yard line on is next possession.

A personal foul on the Comets on the fourth down play gave the Warriors possession at the Halifax 40-yard line with little more than two minutes remaining in the third quarter.

It took Magna Vista nine plays to score the go-ahead touchdown, all on the ground, and with Taylor rushing for 42 of his 154 yards for the night, his touchdown coming on a one-yard plunge with 11:23 remaining in the game.

A two-point conversion pass was no good, leaving the Warriors with a 12-7 lead, and the Comets let a golden scoring opportunity slip away after a punt on their next possession, Magna Vista mishandling the punt on its 10-yard line but recovering the ball.

The Comets could not recover an errant Magna Vista pitchout on the Warriors’ ensuing possession, but the Comets blocked a Magna Vista punt and took over on the Warriors’ 20-yard line with 4:44 remaining.
Three straight rushing plays left Halifax facing a fourth and five yards to go situation, and an incomplete pass stopped that drive.

Halifax had one last opportunity when the Warriors failed to move the ball on their next possession and took an intentional safety with 1:35 left.

Taking over on the Magna Vista 39-yard line, the Comets faced another fourth down situation, but Trent’s third interception of the night stopped the drive.

Magna Vista coach Joe Favero said he challenged his offensive line at halftime and they responded to the challenge with two scoring drives in the second half.

“The offensive line did a great job, especially in the second half,” Favero said.

“Our big fullback (6-0, 215-pound Byron Becker) pounded it in there, and that allowed our quarterback to get outside.

“But, hat’s off to our defense, I thought they were unbelievable tonight.  As good as they (Halifax) is throwing the ball, to hold them to seven points is unbelievable.

“It was unbelievable to be in the ball game after the turnovers in the first half, and we played great defensively, both tackling and in coverage.

“Our defensive coordinator did a great job tonight.”