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Inconsistent Comets fall to PH 29-7

The one thing the Halifax County High School football team has been fighting all season is inconsistency.

Inconsistency reared its ugly head again in Friday night’s Senior Night game at Tuck Dillard Stadium as Patrick Henry High School downed the Comets 29-7 in the Comets’ final home game of the season.

“We’re back to consistency, up and down and up and down,” remarked Halifax County High School Head Coach Michael Roark after the loss that dropped his team to 3- 5 overall and 1-1 in Western Valley District play.

“I was really hoping we had popped that hump last week (with the double overtime win over Franklin County High School). We saw it (inconsistency) in practice this week. We had some good days and had some bad days.”

For the Comets, the loss extended a lengthy drought in which Halifax County High School has not won a Senior Night game since 2007. A Comets team has not beaten Patrick Henry High School since 2008.

The loss dimmed the Comets’ post-season playoff hopes to some extent, as the Comets now must win their last two games to have a shot at earning a berth to the Northwest Region Division 5 playoffs.

“I feel sorry for the seniors,” Roark said.

“Our seniors are really busting their butt trying to do the right things. I know this hurt some of them tonight. Hopefully we’ll get a win next week (against William Fleming High School in Roanoke) and then go over to Danville and battle there.”

There was one bright spot for the night. Comets running back Alonzo Bennett broke the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the season by running for 167 yards on 25 carries. He entered the game with 946 rushing yards to his credit and unofficially has 1,113 yards for the season.

The Comets trailed 19-7 at halftime after having left a possible 10 points on the field. Halifax County opened the game with a 12-play, 82-yard drive that consumed five minutes and 47 seconds on the clock only to come up empty when Kyle Lacks missed a 23-yard field goal after a tough snap from center.

Patrick Henry High School countered with a touchdown on its opening possession to take a 7-0 lead. The Patriots marched 80 yards in eight plays with Antwaun Harried scoring on a 2-yard run with 3:41 left in the first quarter and kicker Jacob Otterman adding the extra point.

Halifax County came right back with a 13-play drive that consumed almost six minutes. That drive came up empty when a 25-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Tyler Stephens to Tyler Dunn was nullified by a penalty called against the Comets for an illegal shift.

As the Patriots had done before, they answered with a touchdown on a 14-yard run by senior running back Xavier Whorley with five minutes left in the first half. Whorley’s touchdown capped an eight-play, 70-yard drive that took 3:39 to complete.

For the night, Whorley ran for 172 yards and three touchdowns.

The Comets scored on their third possession of the first half when Stephens hit wide receiver J.J. Crews with a 37-yard touchdown pass with 3:52 left in the half. Lacks’ extra point made it a 13-7 score.

Patrick Henry added another touchdown before the half ended, with Whorley scoring on a 2-yard run with 1:06 left in the half to produce the 19-7 halftime score.

Halifax County High School gave up a touchdown in the third quarter and a field goal in the final period as the Patriots went on to win 29-7.

“It’s disappointing because I think we’re a better team,” Roark said.

“We’re not getting beat. We got our butt kicked, but we were in the game. I just want the consistency to stay there. Once we do that, we’ll be okay.”