- Last Updated on 12:22 PM 04/23/12
- BY Joe Chandler
For awhile, it appeared as Halifax County High School was on the way to landing a big Halloween eve treat. But, a series of missed opportunities proved costly, leaving the Comets to fall to William Fleming 27-8 here in Friday night’s Senior Night Game.
“You’re going to get a limited number of offensive opportunities to score points,” pointed out Comets head coach Stan Hodgin.
“Our lack of execution offensively after getting it (the ball) down there (into William Fleming territory) several times and coming away with no points was the biggest factor of all (in the loss).”
Trailing 13-8 at halftime, the Comets (1-8 overall, 0-3 district) came up empty on three offensive series that should have resulted in points on the scoreboard.
The Comets’ Shaquan Bailey came up with an interception at the Comets’ 4-yard line to stop William Fleming’s first offensive drive of the second half. Halifax turned around and marched 75 yards in plays, only to come up empty when kicker Jordan Keck, who had earlier made field goals of 34 yards and 30 yards, missed from 37 yards out with 5:03 left in the third quarter.
The Comets put together another good defensive series, this time sacking the William Fleming punter at the Fleming 23-yard line. Halifax County pushed down to the 17-yard line but came up empty when quarterback Dale Trent’s pass to running back Thomas Logan fell incomplete on a fourth down and six yards to go situation.
Halifax County started its third possession of the second half at its own 38-yard line and drove to the Colonels’ 22-yard line. Two penalties pushed the ball back to the Fleming 42-yard line. The possession ended with a pass by Trent being intercepted by Fleming’s Marcus Redd.
The interception gave William Fleming the ball at the Comets’ 36-yard line. Four plays later, the Colonels’ Devin Dean raced 21 yards for a touchdown, his second score of the game, to put William Fleming up 19-8. A two-point conversion made it 21-8.
Halifax County made yet another big push on its ensuing possession, moving from its own 36-yard line to the Colonels’ 34-yard line. The drive stopped there as the Comets again failed to convert on fourth down, this time with a Trent pass to Markee Brooks falling incomplete.
William Fleming scored three plays later with Dean connecting with Malcom Hardy on a screen pass that resulted in a 65-yard play for a touchdown. That touchdown, which came with 5:12 left in the game, put William Fleming up by the eventual final score of 27-8.
“They (William Fleming) are a good football team and you have to give them a lot of credit,” Hodgin said.
“They were part of the reason for our inability to score offensively. They do a good job with their offense of controlling the ball and they have enough athletes that they can make plays.”
While the Comets had their shortfalls, they did a lot of good things as well, particularly with their ground game and the play on special teams.
Good special teams play yielded two field goals and a key sack of the Colonels’ punter that resulted in a big change of field position.
The Comets had their best night of the season running the football, rushing for a total of 150 yards. Logan led the way with 130 yards on 17 carries.
“We had the off week after the sixth game and had a chance to get a little more healthy up front,” explained Hodgin.
“We had some running success in the GW game and got banged up up front (in the offensive line) a little bit. We were still healing from that for the Franklin County game. “We were pretty much healthy up front again tonight,” added Hodgin.
“When we are healthy up front we have a legitimate chance of at least being a team whose running game has to be honored. I thought our offensive line did a good job in the running game handling their guys and our backs ran hard.”
William Fleming head coach Rob Senseney admitted that the Comets’ ground game surprised his team.
“I thought they (Halifax County) ran the ball pretty well,” said the Colonels coach.
“They caught us off guard running the ball more. We were wary of their screen game. They throw it (the ball) down the field pretty well.”
The Comets got off to a tough start, losing the ball on a fumble on their first offensive play of the game. William Fleming took advantage of the turnover and scored on its first offensive play of the game, a 21-yard run by Devin Richardson. The extra-point kick failed leaving the Colonels with a 6-0 lead.
The Comets answered with a 30-yard field goal by Keck to make the score 6-3 with 7:50 left in the first quarter. William Fleming responded with a score on its third possession of the game with Dean running 21 yards for a touchdown with 12.9 seconds left in the first quarter. The extra-point kick put Fleming up 13-3.
Halifax County had its first big missed opportunity of the night come on its seventh possession of the first half. The Comets drove to the Colonels’ 5-yard line and Trent connected on a pass to Logan at the 2-yard line. Logan lost the ball after being hit by a William Fleming defender and Fleming recovered it, ending the Comets’ bid for a score.
The Comets picked up a safety when Kendall Adams sacked Dean, the Colonels’ quarterback, in the end zone for a safety with 1:04 left in the first half to make it a 13-5 score.
Halifax got the ball right back and moved it to the Fleming 17-yard line, opening the door for a 34-yard field goal by Keck with 17.7 seconds left in the half to make the score 13-8.
“Tonight’s shortfall was in the area of execution,” Hodgin pointed out.
“We’ll come back to work on Monday and try to get better and see if we can improve in that area Saturday.”
The Comets will conclude their season Saturday when they face Patrick Henry High School in Roanoke. Kickoff time Saturday is 2 p.m.