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Comets emerge with mixed results in scrimmage

Halifax County High School football coach Michael Roark said his team’s Friday scrimmage against Liberty Christian Academy in Lynchburg was “sort of what we expected.”

By that, Roark said he knew he would see some good in the Comets, as well as some bad.

“There was both good and bad with it,” Roark said.

“Overall, I’m pleased. We know we’ve got some work to do. It was our first scrimmage, our first time with the offense and the first time with the defense. Things are a little faster now than it is during practice.”

Liberty Christian Academy, which went undefeated last season and won the state independent school championship, outscored the Comets three touchdowns to none in Friday’s scrimmage. 

Among a strong contingent of returning players on LCA coach Frank Rocco’s team were a pair of top-shelf linemen, one of which has committed to Virginia Tech and the other has committed to the University of Maryland.

They were Braxton Pfaff, a 6-4, 285-pound senior offensive lineman and nose guard on defense, and Tanner Hartman, a 6-4, 250-pound senior offensive and defensive lineman.

“That’s a nice offensive line we played against,” Roark said of the LCA contingent.

“Frank Rocco has a great coaching staff. Those kids were dialed in and ready to play. They have a little more to play for when they play the public schools.”

The Comets stumbled at times, getting cited for penalties at inopportune times, coughing up three fumbles, one of which an LCA scooped up and returned for a touchdown, and missing some tackles on defense.

“We’ve got to learn to tackle better,” Roark pointed out.

“We made some stupid penalties that we have to address. We put the ball on the ground three times.”

Tackling, Roark pointed out, is one of the major areas that will be addressed.

“Our tackling needs improvement,” he pointed out.

“We tackle every day. It’s a tough thing to get a kid to go in there and wrap his shoulders up and run through them (opposing players) at full speed. If they’ve been doing something for three years the other way, it’s hard to break a bad habit. We’ve got to break some bad habits.

“We’re in the right spot, but we did this stuff with throwing a forearm instead of running through them and wrapping them up,” he added.

“All three touchdowns they (LCA) scored they didn’t run us over. We made bad plays. We fix those and we’ll be alright.”

On the “up” side, Roark saw some good things out the Comets, especially with the team’s short passing game on offense.

Richard Jacobs took the majority of the snaps at quarterback for the Comets, with Tyler Stephens and Alonzo Bennett also getting some time under center.

“They all threw the short game well,” Roark said.

“We threw a few long balls we haven’t repped a lot.”

Devan Richardson had a good outing as one of the team’s running backs. Dakota Delaware and Truman Brown had a good day receiving.

As far as whether the offense was ahead of the defense or vice versa, Roark said it differentiated in different areas.

“Offensively, we have some things we need to work on,” he said.

“Defensively we have some things we need to work on. At the same time, the offense did some good things, and the defense did some good things.

“The things we didn’t do as well as we’d like are fixable,” Roark added.

“We’ll work on those things this week. We’ve got something we can work on.”

The Comets will face another test on Friday when they square off against Buckingham in a Virginia High School League Benefit Game. Friday’s game, which will kick off at 7 p.m., will give area football fans their first real look at the Comets, who open regular-season play on Aug. 24 against Jefferson Forest High School here at Tuck Dillard Stadium.

Fans can get a look at all three Comets football teams Wednesday night at a special Meet The Comets event from 5:30 p.m. until 8 p.m. at Tuck Dillard Stadium.