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Comets pull off a dramatic win

It may have only been a benefit game, but you would never have known it seeing the excitement of the players on the Halifax County High School varsity football team.

An 80-yard touchdown run by Alonzo Bennett with 2:47 left in the game and an extra point kick from junior kicker Kyle Lacks gave the Comets a thrilling 14-13 win over Buckingham County High School Friday night in a Virginia High School Benefit Game at Halifax County High School’s Tuck Dillard Stadium.

“I know it was just a benefit game, but we went hard, the defense went hard, the offense went hard,” Bennett said.

“It’s a big thing.”

It was indeed big.

The game marked the debut for new Comets Head Coach Michael Roark, and, more importantly, it was the first time that a Comets team has won its first home game, whether it be a benefit game or a regular-season game, in several seasons.

Roark said he didn’t realize how big the win over Buckingham County was until the end of the game.

“We were getting in line to shake hands (with the Buckingham County players and coaches) and the kids are jumping up and down and whooping and hollering,” Roark said.

“I told them ‘guys, you’ve got to act like you’ve been here before.’ Johnny Thaxton says ‘coach, we haven’t been here before.’ These seniors have never won a season-opener. Seeing and listening to them jump up and down like a bunch of kids was fun.”

Bennett provided a big lift for the Comets offensively, scoring both of the team’s touchdowns and running for a total of 137 yards on eight carries.

The Comets senior scored his first touchdown on a 33-yard run with 11:52 left in the second quarter, with the run and the extra point kick by Lacks putting the Comets in front for the first time at 7-6.

Buckingham County regained the lead with a 21-yard run by Kyree Koonce with 11:08 left in the third quarter and John Saxon’s extra-point kick put the Knights in the lead 13-7.

The Comets made big defensive stands to thwart Buckingham County’s last three offensive possessions of the game. Twice the Comets created and recovered fumbles, the second of which occurred on the final play of the game as the Comets were trying to preserve the one-point lead.

At the end of the night, it was Bennett that had the numbers on the scoreboard.

“It was just (a matter of) perfect blocks,” Bennett said of his pair of touchdowns.

“They were perfect blocks. I saw a small hole, but I was surprised that I got that much yardage on the last one. It was a great night for Comets football.”

While the Comets escaped with the win, it was far from a perfect performance. 

Buckingham County ran for 345 yards in the game on 40 carries, with Koonce running for 168 yards on 12 carries that included a 79-yard touchdown run. The Knights had 383 yards of total offense.

“We were ugly the first three quarters,” Roark pointed out.

“We didn’t tackle well. We weren’t blocking well. Some guys made some big plays, then we’d make some bad plays. But, you’ve got to be proud of the way we played in the fourth quarter. We hit some people in the fourth quarter. Alonzo (Bennett) did what I was hoping Alonzo would do.”

The Comets produced 235 yards of total offense, with 166 yards coming on the ground with 34 carries. Halifax County quarterbacks Richard Jacobs and Tyler Stephens combined to hit 11 of 13 pass attempts for a total of 69 yards through the air. 

The Comets will host Jefferson Forest High School Friday night at Tuck Dillard Stadium in the team’s regular-season opener. Kickoff time will be 7 p.m. 

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