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Comets lose homecoming heartbreaker

Halifax County High School got off to a fast start in Friday night’s homecoming game against Magna Vista High School at Tuck Dillard Stadium, but was not able to sustain it.

Magna Vista High School rallied to score touchdowns on two of their last three possessions of the game to earn a come-from-behind 34-28 win over the Comets.

“We busted our butts tonight,” said Comets Head Coach Michael Roark.

“When I took this job and looked at the film of last year’s games, I didn’t see a game last year in which we played this hard and this physical. We lined up and pounded them.

 “We battled to the end,” Roark added.

“We played a very competitive game. We’ve just got to get over the hump.”

The Comets’ Alonzo Bennett ran for 189 yards on 31 carries and scored two touchdowns and caught one pass for 34 yards. Quarterback Tyler Stephens hit seven of his 12 passes for 157 yards and a touchdown, but the efforts of the offensive tandem weren’t quite enough on this night.

The game started like a horse race, with the two teams combining for a total of 18 points in the first minute and 46 seconds of the contest. Halifax County (2-4 overall) struck first on a 75-yard pass from Stephens to Jamal Crews on the Comets’ first play from scrimmage to take a 6-0 lead.

 Magna Vista High School’s Brent Hankins returned the ensuing Comets kickoff 90 yards for a game-tying touchdown. The Comets scored another touchdown on their next possession when Bennett exploded for a 65-yard touchdown run with 10:14 left in the first quarter to give the Comets a 12-6 lead.

The Comets’ defense scored a safety on Magna Vista’s next offensive possession to take a 14-6 lead with 7:02 left in the first quarter. Later in the quarter, the Comets’ Derrick Garrett blocked a Magna Vista High School punt and teammate Jacquan Claiborne snatched the ball out of the air and ran into the end zone for a touchdown that led to a 21-6 Comets lead at the end of the first quarter.

The Warriors came back to score 13 unanswered points in the second quarter to cut the Comets’ lead to 21-19 at halftime.

Magna Vista High School took the lead on a 32-yard touchdown run by quarterback Calin Jamison and Jamison tossed a pass to JaiQuan Hairston for a two-point conversion to give the Warriors a 27-21 lead with 8:30 left in the game.

The Comets answered with a 1-yard touchdown run by Bennett and an extra-point kick by Kyle Lacks with four minutes left to retake the lead at 28-27.

Magna Vista High School answered by returning the ensuing kickoff to the Comets’ 37-yard line and putting together a five-play scoring drive that saw Jamison score on a 4-yard run with 1:53 to play. The touchdown and extra point by Warren put the Warriors back on top to stay at 34-28.

Halifax County started its final possession of the game on its own 43-yard line but was unable to keep the drive alive, turning the ball back over to the Warriors after four plays.