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Football practice opens Thursday

Halifax County High School Head Football Coach Mike Roark is expecting good numbers of players to be on hand when the Comets football teams officially open pre-season practice Thursday afternoon.

“I’d like to have 40 kids on each of the three teams,” Roark said referring to the varsity, junior varsity and ninth-grade squads.

“There are 46 (varsity) players that we have seen somewhere, either at workouts or in the weight room. We are expecting to see around 30 jayvee players. The number of eighth-grade and ninth-grade players we will get for the ninth-grade team is a question mark. Five kids I know of are still playing baseball. We’ll just have to wait to see how many (players) we have.”

The Comets’ first football practice session will run Thursday from 3:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. On Friday, the Comets are slated for a two-hour session from 8:30 a.m. until 10:30 a.m.

Starting on Monday, the Comets will practice from 3:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. each day, Monday through Friday, with an intra-squad scrimmage set for Saturday, Aug. 10 from 9 a.m. until 11:30 a.m.

Roark says he is heading into Thursday’s start of pre-season practice ahead of where he was at this point in time last year.

“One of the big things,” Roark pointed out, “is I know the kids a lot better and they know me better. They understand better what I and the other coaches expect. Last year at this time I was still learning kids’ names.”

Off-season conditioning, workouts and multiple seven-on-seven passing league contests have also aided the players’ progress.

“Our basic offensive and defensive schemes have already been put in,” Roark said.

“Right now, I’m working with the assistant coaches to tweak our installation package and get that dialed in.”

Kenneth Day will serve as the head junior varsity football team coach this season and Mike Lloyd will serve as the head coach of the ninth-grade team.

Key points in the Comets’ pre-season schedule will start rolling up quickly.

After the team’s intra-squad scrimmage on Aug. 10, the annual Meet The Comets event will be held Tuesday, Aug. 13, and the first varsity pre-season scrimmage will be held Friday, Aug. 16 when the Comets host Staunton River High School.

The annual Virginia High School League Benefit Game will be played on Friday, Aug. 23, with the Comets going on the road to face Buckingham High School. Halifax County High School’s first regular season game will be a road game against Jefferson Forest High School on Friday, Aug. 30.