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Freshmen edge Heritage

Jarvis Owens returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown, and Kelonte Gutrich caught two touchdown passes from Jacob Garrett, as the Halifax County High School freshman football team defeated Heritage High School 21-16 Wednesday at Tuck Dillard Memorial Stadium.

Owens’ 70-yard return and the first of three extra points by Isak Schafter gave Halifax a 7-0 lead after one quarter, and the Comets added their second score on a 12-play, 70-yard drive.

Ben Milne, Gutrich and Owens caught passes from Garrett, and Tyrus Pannell and Tyler Lewis added solid gains on the ground during the scoring drive, capped by the six-yard touchdown pass to Gutrich early in the second quarter to make it 14-0.

Heritage responded with a 70-yard touchdown run on the second play of its next possession, but Halifax, behind the running of Pannell and Marcus Terry, and a completion to Milne, responded with a 63-yard scoring drive capped by a 13-yard touchdown pass on fourth-down from Garrett to Gutrich to make it 21-6.

Halifax held Heritage on downs twice in the second half, including once inside its own five-yard line, but Heritage capped an 87-yard scoring drive with a six-yard touchdown run and added a two-point conversion to cut its deficit to 21-14 with 1:41 remaining. 

Facing fourth down at its own 40-yard line with 30 seconds left in the game, the Comets gambled, taking an intentional safety rather than risking a punt.

The gamble paid off, with Antwon Ragsdale recovering a Heritage fumble on the ensuing kickoff to seal the win.

Special teams are just as important as offense and defense, noted Comets’ Head Coach Billy Lucas. 

“We started with a great special teams play and we ended with an even greater special teams play,” Lucas said.

“If they blocked the kick then we’re in trouble,” said Lucas when talking about the decision to take the intentional safety.

“We decided to take the safety and play defense from there, and we kicked off and got a great play out of it.”

Halifax was shut out 20-0 at Heritage earlier this season, but the Comets played better in all facets of the game at home on Wednesday.

“Today, I don’t know if it was because we were at home, but whatever it was I hope they bring it the rest of this year,” Lucas pointed out.

The Comets freshman football team improved to 2-3 on the season with the win.