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Football scrimmage to have ‘vanilla’ flavor

The Halifax County High School varsity and junior varsity football teams will face their first pre-season test today when they square off against Liberty Christian Academy in Lynchburg.

Halifax County High School Head Varsity Football Coach Michael Roark says today’s scrimmage will be a basic test for the team, a test that will reveal what facets of the game need the most attention over the next couple of weeks.

“It’s going to be very vanilla,” Roark said yesterday.

“We’ll go over base stuff, go over a couple of formations and make sure we execute. It’s a whole new offense, a whole new defense, and a whole new coaching staff that we’re working with.”

Roark said he is going to script the scrimmage and will have his players following a set pattern of plays and formations.

‘We’ll go into it with a 30-play script, and once we get through that set of 30 plays, we’ll go back to the top and start again,” he explained.

“We will be working in 10-play segments, and the jayvees will be doing the same thing on a different field at the same time. We’ll do some punt returns and some extra points and field goals and let the kids kick some under a little pressure.”

Roark said his players are ready and are looking forward to today’s scrimmage.

“It will be nice to scrimmage against somebody other than ourselves,” the coach pointed out.

“Coach Rocco has a great program at LCA. They will be well-coached. They will play a front that we won’t see too much of this year. At the same time, they’re going to be well-disciplined on offense. They’re going to inside, outside, zone and show multiple formations. It’s going to make our defensive players have to think and line up properly. If we can line up right with those guys we will be fine.”

The Comets’ coach said he continues to be pleased with the progress the team is making.

“Our offense is probably a little ahead of our defense,” he pointed out.

“On the other hand, our defense has been catching up a lot. The defensive coaches have really picked it up, and the kids have picked it up.

“I’m very happy,” he added.

“We’ve still got two weeks before we play Jefferson Forest (in the season opener). We still have time to dial stuff in.”

As the team heads into today’s scrimmage against LCA, Roark has three seniors starting on defense and six seniors starting on offense.

“We need the younger guys to pick it up some so we can give them more reps,” Roark pointed out.

Offensively, Roark has been working with three quarterback candidates, Richard Jacobs, Tyler Stephens and Alonzo Bennett. 

Jacobs, who sustained an early season-ending hip injury last year, appears to have the upper hand at this stage. Bennett can also play a slot position on offense and can play cornerback on defense. Stephens has shown a lot of prowess on the defensive side of the ball as well.

Devan Richardson and Derek Garrett, both of whom have had a good summer, are at the top of the list when it come to the running backs. At wide receiver, Dakota Delaware and J.J. Crews have shown up well this summer.

After today’s scrimmage, the Comets will be involved in a Meet The Comets Night event on Wednesday, and will go on to face Buckingham here next Friday at 7 p.m. at Tuck Dillard Stadium in a Virginia High School Benefit Game.

The Comets will play their first regular-season game on Friday, August 24, when they face Jefferson Forest High School here at Tuck Dillard Stadium.

Also today, the Halifax County High School ninth-grade football team is scheduled to scrimmage Gretna High School.