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Comets looking for new momentum

For Halifax County High School and Martinsville High School, tonight’s 7 p.m. game at Martinsville High School could be a turning point in the season.

The Comets (1-3) and the winless Bulldogs, who have suffered three straight loses including a 34-15 loss last week to Liberty High School of Bedford, are both looking to turn around what has been a tough season when they square off tonight in Martinsville High School’s annual homecoming game.

“We’re back in that Person (High School game) mode,” said Comets Head Coach Michael Roark.

“We’re trying to move forward.”

Halifax County High School is looking to get back on track in the wake of a 44-12 loss here last Friday against currently unbeaten Heritage High School. That loss was another in a list of tough games for the Comets, who have lost to undefeated Jefferson Forest High School and once-beaten E.C. Glass, which lost to Heritage.

Martinsville High School has lost to currently unbeaten and defending state Group AA champion Brookville High School and to Cave Spring High School and Liberty High School, both of which have only one loss. 

“Between the two us, we’ve played a tough schedule,” Roark pointed out. 

“We’re somewhat alike. They (Martinsville High School) have made big plays on everybody. They’ve also made mistakes.”

The outcome of tonight’s game could very well be determined by which team makes the fewest mistakes. Halifax County High School made its share of them in last week’s loss to Heritage, particularly in the first half when the Pioneers rang up a 44-0 halftime lead on the Comets.

Roark pointed out, however, that after having closely watched the game films the Comets had not played as badly as he had first thought immediately after the game.

“When we looked at the game film, it wasn’t the nightmare we thought it was,” Roark pointed out.

“Yes, we made a lot of mistakes, but they’re correctable mistakes. We’ve spent most of this week correcting mistakes. It’s some very simple stuff, such as blocking assignments, lining up right, dipping and ripping, that sort of thing.”

Roark said much of it is boils down to working to break bad habits.

“It’s tough,” he remarked.

“Corey (Assistant Coach Corey Jackson) and I were talking about that today. We’ve got some seniors we’re trying to teach to dip and rip (blocking and tackling techniques) and they keep questioning why, ‘why can’t I go back to doing it this way?’

“We explain to them that way (the way they want to do it) doesn’t work,” Roark continued.

“We demonstrate and tell them ‘this is the correct way to do it.’ It’s just repetition, repetition and repetition. They get tired, they get frustrated, and they just go back to doing what they think is right, and it’s not always right.” 

Roark says it will take one or more players stepping up to make a big play to get the team rolling.

“I told them at halftime last Friday night it’s going to take one game where one player is going to decide to step up and make one play,” he said.

“We’re going to feed off of that and keep going. Alonzo Bennett did that in the second half last week. If you look at the way Alonzo Bennett ran in the second half, he refused to quit and made some plays and he carried some people with him on that part. I’m hoping we’re going to feed off of that this Friday.”