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Coach: ‘We’ve got to be smart’

Two phrases are resonating this week from Halifax County High School Head Football Coach Michael Roark – be disciplined and play smart.

Those two things will be important to the Comets tonight when they face E.C. Glass High School tonight at 7 p.m. at Lynchburg City Stadium.

The Hilltoppers are running a triple-option offense under first-year coach Ben Martin, who is looking for the Hilltoppers to improve upon their 4-6 record of last season. Senior quarterback Josh Sessoms is one of the keys to the E.C. Glass offense and one of the key players the Comets will be trying to contain tonight.

“The quarterback is the guy we’ve got to stop,” Roark pointed out.

“He throws long to one wide receiver. It’s the quarterback and the deep ball that is what is beating people. We’ve got to stay disciplined. We’ve got to be smart.”

The Comets enter tonight’s game looking to get their season back on track after a tough 42-19 loss to Jefferson Forest High School in last Friday’s home season-opener.

Despite the loss, Roark said the team has been upbeat during practice this week.

“They’re pretty upbeat, and it’s still practice as usual,” Roark said.

“There are still a few issues we need to grow up some with. If you’re going to turn things around, those are things you have to do. 

“We played two and a half good quarters last week,” added Roark.

“We need four (quarters). When we start getting four (quarters) consistently, we’ll start getting some wins.”

The Comets will be missing some players in tonight’s game due to injuries. Alonzo Bennett, who sustained a concussion in last week’s game after scoring the third of his three touchdowns, will not play tonight, but hopefully will be able to resume practice on Monday.

Sophomore lineman Shalar Charlton, who was injured in practice prior to last week’s season opener, is out of action indefinitely, possibly the rest of the season. Also expected to be out of action tonight is last week’s starting cornerback Jacquan Claiborne. Also missing is running back Derrick Garrett, who had shown some potentially good signs during the preseason.

Junior Devan Richardson, a track speedster, is expected to get the nod in the position Bennett had occupied in the Comets’ offensive backfield. 

“Alonzo is probably our biggest home run threat,” Roark pointed out.

“I wasn’t expecting him to pop off three touchdowns like that.”

The big focus offensively, Roark said, is developing consistency in moving the football.

“We need to move the sticks, and we didn’t do that last week,” Roark noted.

“We know we have to block a little better. We’re going to try to keep the ball a little more this week.”

Roark said all in all, the two teams are pretty comparable, and that it will be up to his Comets team to execute as it should both offensively and defensively.

“If we execute the way we are supposed to and play our ballgame and we’ll be fine,” he concluded.