- Last Updated on 08:37 AM 09/10/12
- BY Joe Chandler
A big smile immediately erupted on his face.
“That was pretty cool,” Roark replied when asked about receiving the game ball.
“I’m glad the kids are having fun. I’m going to get them to sign it when we get back.”
While Roark appreciated the game ball, his real joy was seeing the Comets secure a 35-19 win over its neighboring border rival, Person (N.C.) High School, Friday night in Roxboro, N.C.
Friday night’s win was the first of the season for the Comets, who improved their record to 1-2 overall. It marked the third straight year that the Comets had beaten the Rockets, with two of the wins coming on the Rockets’ home field.
“We knew it (a win) would come sooner or later,” said Roark.
“I’m happy for the kids. I’m proud of them. They played hard. We played four quarters tonight, and that was the biggest part of it. We made some mistakes, and that is going to happen, but we played football for four quarters.”
The tandem of running back Alonzo Bennett and quarterback Tyler Stephens powered the Comets’ offense, which churned out 470 yards and 25 first downs.
Bennett led the Comets in rushing with 217 yards on 23 carries and scored two touchdowns. Stephens, who stepped in to play quarterback in place of the injured Richard Jacobs who was sidelined for the game, had 147 yards on 20 carries and scored three touchdowns.
It was a 1-yard touchdown run by Stephens with 14 seconds left in the first quarter that put the Comets in the lead at 12-7. The Comets never trailed after that. They opened up a 22-13 lead at halftime, and rolled up a 35-13 lead on the Rockets before the Rockets scored on a 69-yard run by Trevon Tapp on the final play of the game to make the final 35-19 score.
For Bennett, who sat out last week’s game against E.C. Glass High School while recovering from a concussion, Friday night’s game was a big coming out party.
He had touchdowns runs of 32 yards and 28 yards respectively, both coming in the first half.
“It feels great,” Bennett said of his big night.
“The offensive line blocked great tonight. I give them the credit. The holes came easy. We did a great job. We’re going to enjoy this tonight and get back to practice Monday.”
Stephens admitted he was nervous before the game.
“I prayed before the game and God helped me out,” Stephens said.
“Coach Roark did a real good job of getting me a lot of reps in practice this week. He built my confidence up in practice, so that when I came out here, I was confident I could perform.”
The big thing, Stephens said, was having Bennett in the backfield with him.
“It felt real good to have Alonzo back because it helped open up the passing game and made the passing game easier,” Stephens noted.
Stephens hit 12 of his 14 pass attempts for a total of 94 yards, his longest strike being a 22-yard toss.
Person High School took an early 7-0 lead on an 8-yard run by Marquis Torain with 5:21 left in the first quarter to cap the Rockets’ second possession of the game.
After that, the Comets scored 19 unanswered points on a 32-yard run by Bennett with 2:03 left in the first quarter, Stephens’ 1-yard run with 14 seconds left in the first quarter and a 28-yard run by Bennett with 10:10 left in the first half enroute to a 19-7 lead.
Tapp returned the ensuing Comets kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown with 9:53 left in the half, but the Comets answered with a 28-yard field goal by Kyle Lacks to grab a 22-13 lead at halftime.
Halifax County High School scored on four of its seven first-half possessions. The Comets were productive in the second half as well, scoring on two of its five second-half possessions.