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Franklin County Topples Comets

Halifax County High School head football coach Stan Hodgin does not believe in making excuses.

He made none Friday night.

His banged-up Comets team, a team that had a near double-digit number of starters either out of action entirely or unable to go at full steam, fell 28-6 to a physically dominant Franklin County High School team in the Comets’ annual Homecoming game.

“We don’t make excuses,” Hodgin said following the loss that dropped the Comets’ record to 1-7 overall and 0-2 in Western Valley District play.

“We haven’t made any excuses all year. I’m not going to start tonight. They (Franklin County) are a good football team. I thought for three and a half quarters we got as much out of our kids as we possibly could get.

“I’m extremely proud of the kids,” Hodgin stressed.

“I think they gave as much as they had to give tonight against a big, strong physical opponent. I truly believe they did not have anything left when this ballgame was over.”

Halifax County’s lone score came on a 91-yard kickoff return by Markee Brooks for a touchdown with 6:48 left in the first half. His touchdown allowed the Comets to close up the core to 14-6, where it stayed until halftime.

The Comets were still in the contest after Franklin County tailback Tae Gilbert , who ran for 234 yards in the game, scored the third of his four touchdowns on the night on a 7-yard run with 4:54 left in the third quarter.

Franklin County, leading 21-6, put the game away when Gilbert broke free for a 38-yard touchdown run with 7:41 left in the game.
“I’m not disappointed at all with what we got in the fourth quarter,” Hodgin said.

“We just didn’t have anything left.”

The Comets struggled offensively against the Eagles (7-1 overall, 2-0 district), who will face GW Friday night in a game that will likely determine the Western Valley District championship.

Halifax County, held to a season-low 86 yards of total offense, went three plays and out on eight of its 12 possessions in the game and lost the battle of field position in the second half.

In their five possessions in the second half, the best starting position the Comets had was at their own 20-yard line. Only once in the second half did the Comets cross midfield.

The best offensive possession the Comets had in the game was their third possession of the contest. Halifax County started at its own 48-yard line and had the ball with a first down at the Franklin County 34-yard line.

That drive ended, however, when the Eagles’ Tarell Basham picked off a pass from Comets quarterback Dale Trent.

Comets senior running back Thomas Logan, who led the Comets in rushing with 29 yards, said it was tough running against the Franklin County defense.
“They (Franklin County) were pursuing the ball well,” Logan pointed out.

“I tried to bounce it outside, but I had no room on the outside. When I tried to cut it back inside, there was no room there either.”

Hodgin chalked up his team’s inability to run the ball as it had the previous week against GW as a combination of factors, not the least of which was Franklin County’s good defense.

“We were playing against an outstanding defense,” Hodgin pointed out.

“I think the additional layers to it has to do with that we were not as healthy as we were a week ago. But, that can be said for any football team playing its eighth game of the season.”

Franklin County High School head coach Chris Jones said his team’s defense defended the Comets’ passing game well.

“We played the screens real well,” Jones pointed out.

“We dropped some (possible) interceptions, some were right in our hands. But, our (defensive) kids played hard. We were in the right place most of the night and we didn’t give up the big (play). That was huge.”

The Comets will be back in action here Friday night, facing William Fleming High School in what will be the final home game of the season. The Senior Night game at Tuck Dillard Stadium will kick off at 7:30 p.m.

Halifax County High School will conclude its season on Saturday, November 7, with a 2 p.m. contest against Patrick Henry High School in Roanoke.