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Comets soccer teams prepping for first test

There is a great deal of enthusiasm brewing in the Halifax County High School boys soccer program as the varsity team and its junior varsity counterpart prepare for their first test of the season.

The Comets will travel to Lynchburg Monday to face Heritage High School in a pre-season scrimmage. It will be the first of two pre-season tests for the varsity team, which will face Dan River High School here Thursday at Tuck Dillard Memorial Stadium in its second and final pre-season scrimmage.

Head Varsity Coach Frank Shealy appears to be in the most competitive situation he has been in over the course of recent seasons. Shealy has 10 players returning from last year’s squad, and with 19 players on the roster, he has more depth than in some past seasons.

“We have a good returning group,” Shealy said.

“We have some returning players with experience. Talent-wise, I’m pleased with what we’ve got out here. We’ve got a good starting 11 and some good guys to come off of the bench. It’s been a long time since we’ve had that. I’m excited.”

Shealy has seven seniors, eight juniors, three sophomores and one freshman on the roster, giving the team a good mix of both experience and youth. Thus far, things have gone smoothly, with only the weather having played a role in preparations up to this point.

“We had a short week last week with only three days of practice with the icy day and the holiday,” Shealy noted.

“But, we’re coming along. We’ve had our moments where we’ve looked good in practice and had our moments when we didn’t That’s to be expected with just a few days of true practice out here. We’ve got some talent. We’re just trying to put it together.”

Shealy says he and the players are looking forward to Monday’s scrimmage against Heritage High School in Lynchburg.

“It’s going to be a tough test next week against Heritage, but it will be good for us,” Shealy remarked.

“Heritage has always had a good team, a good possession team, and that’s what we need to see. We will use the scrimmages to help figure out where we’re going to play certain folks. We have an idea, but we’ll move a few people around to different spots and see what works. We’ll use the scrimmages as a measuring tool to see where we are.”


The junior varsity squad

Comets JV Head Coach Mario Sadler gets a big smile on his face when he talks about his team.

Six of the 19 players on his roster are returning from last season’s junior varsity team. And, a number of the players Sadler has on the team are players that participated on recreation travel and indoor soccer teams he coached through the fall and winter months.

“For the first time, I’m ahead of the game,” Sadler pointed out.

“We’re working on soccer stuff instead of having to start from the ground floor and building our way up. We’re above that ground level, and we’re working from there.”

A dozen players on Sadler’s roster are eighth-graders, but they are young players that have a fair amount of experience. As a result, Sadler says everything has gone smoothly since practice started.

“In the three years I’ve been coaching here, this is the smoothest we’ve had it,” Sadler said.

“We have a lot of guys that have played the game, so it’s not so much teaching the game as it is fine-tuning skills and getting the players to become better soccer players individually.”

Sadler, like Shealy, is ready to see what his players can do on the field in game situations.

“I’m anxious to see what they can do on the field working together as a team,” he said. “Once we see how things go, we can make adjustments and work from there.”