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Win over Patrick Henry moves Halifax closer to possible playoff berth

 

Up until this point there appeared to be no way that the Halifax County High School varsity football team could play its way into the Northwest Region Division 5 playoffs.

Now, things have suddenly changed.

Two more wins including a victory over Patrick Henry High School in tonight’s 7 p.m. Senior Night game at Tuck Dillard Stadium could be good enough to extend the season for the Comets.

The Comets are in eighth place in the Northwest Region Division 5 standings, but are less than a point and a half out of sixth place according to the VHSL ratings points standings. The top six teams in the ratings points standings earn regional playoff berths.

Wins in two of the Comets’ three remaining Western Valley District games could be enough to extend the season. Halifax County High School Head Coach Michael Roark has been using that possibility to help gear his team up for tonight’s game against Patrick Henry High School in the Comets’ final home game of the season.

“The season is not necessarily over in two weeks like it has been the past few years,” Roark pointed out.

“We could be playing past two weeks. It’s in our hands. What we do will determine what happens after that, and that’s a pretty good place to be.”

While a tangible possibility of earning a playoff berth rests on the horizon, Roark stressed that his team must buckle down and get the job done, starting with tonight’s game against a very good Patrick Henry High School team.

“We’ve got to play good football Friday night,” Roark pointed out.

“We’ve gotten better over the past two weeks, and we need to keep riding that momentum. We’ve got to play solid football.”

While Roark is using the playoff game possibility to help motivate the team, there are also other tools at his disposal.

For one thing, Halifax County High School has not beaten Patrick Henry High School since the 2008 season. For another, Halifax County High School has not won a Senior Night game, the traditional final home of the season, since the Comets beat Franklin County High School in 2007.

As far as the Comets’ seniors are concerned, tonight’s game is a big one, a game that they very much want to win.

“They know that it has been awhile since we have won a Senior Night game,” Roark said.

“They want this win. They know they are on the verge of hitting the .500 on Week Eight of the season. That hasn’t happened in quite awhile.”

The Comets (3-4 overall, 1-0 district) enter tonight’s game fresh off of a come-from-behind 37-36 double-overtime win over Franklin County High School in the team’s Western Valley District opener. That win stands at this point as the team’s signature win of the season.

“The kids believe in themselves right now, which is good,” Roark said.

“I think we can play a good ball and can win the ball game. They (Patrick Henry) are a good team, but I think we can play with them.”

Roark said Patrick Henry High School (5-2 overall, 0-1 district) is a solid team that has multiple dimensions, a team that can strike well on both the ground and through the air.

“Patrick Henry is faster than Franklin County,” Roark pointed out.

“They’re not as big. What you’re probably looking at is a quicker Magna Vista-type, Heritage-type team. Offensively, they have quite a few more formations that we’ve got to make sure we line up correctly with. Defensively, they’re pretty fast (to the ball). Special teams-wise they don’t mind faking it and running reverses.”

The bottom line, says the Comets’ coach, is that his players are going to have play a solid game if they are to have a shot at winning tonight’s game.

“We’ve got to play good football,” Roark said.

“Consistency is still a big issue. We’ve got to play our game and stay disciplined.”