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Comets ready to tackle first test

With the first phases of pre-season drills and practice under their belts, the three Halifax County High School football teams will get their first real test tonight. 

The Comets varsity squad will scrimmage Staunton River High School at 7 p.m. at Tuck Dillard Stadium. At 6 p.m., the Comets junior varsity and ninth-grade football teams will scrimmage Amherst County High School on the practice field at the Halifax County High School track and field complex.

“Everybody is ready to hit somebody else other than ourselves,” said Comets Head Coach Mike Roark.

“The kids have worked hard during the off-season and you want to see everybody have some success Friday night.”

Tonight’s scrimmage will be a structured exercise that will give coaches a chance to get a look at all of the players.

“It’s 10 plays on offense and 10 plays on defense with the first team,” Roark explained.

“Then it’s 10 plays offense and 10 plays defense for the second team, then 10 plays offense and 10 playa defense for everybody else. After that, we will play a quarter. “There will be no special teams, no kicking or anything like that,” he added.

“We’re going to videotape everything, break down film Saturday and go from there.”

Roark said the players are excited about tonight’s scrimmage and have been looking forward to it this week.

“It’s new blood,” Roark pointed out.

“They’re tired of hitting each other. This is a good bunch of kids that’s got a little excitement in them. They like the contact. They like the lights. They want to go up against somebody new.”

Roark said this week has been a good one for the team, with Wednesday being the final extended “camp day” routine for the team with extended practice hours.

“The kids are happy,” said the Comets coach.

“They came out here in shape and we got some stuff done.”

Last Friday the Comets varsity team took part in an intra-squad scrimmage. While Roark and his coaching staff some good things, they also found areas that needed work.

The team has continued to make progress throughout the week as it has continued preparations for tonight’s scrimmages. 

“The guys were disappointed we didn’t get to have the Meet The Comets event Tuesday night because of the weather,” Roark said, “but, in the overall scheme of things, things are pretty good. Overall, I’m pretty pleased.

“Defensively we really saw some strides,” Roark continued.

“They’re running to the ball better, we’re hitting people, and we’re starting to figure out where people need to be. Offensively, we’re doing some good stuff. I’m pretty happy with everything right now. The kids have worked hard. We’re running hard at practice. We’re hitting. I really can’t complain.”

Another good thing that has happened for the Comets this week is the number of players is continuing to grow. 

The varsity squad remains at 46 players. On the junior varsity squad, the number of players has swelled to 30. The ninth-grade team is now up to 42 players.

“In the last week we’ve had probably 15 freshman and jayvee kids coming out,” Roark noted.

“These ninth and tenth-graders live all over the county and don’t always have rides over here. They’re getting here now, and school starts Monday and we’ve got activity buses that will be running. We’ll take new freshmen through next week. 

“It’s funny when I tell the eighth and ninth-graders coming out we don’t cut,” he added.

“Some of them think we will cut people. We’re not going to cut anybody. We want these young kids out there. That (telling players there will be no cuts) seems to have perked up a lot of interest.”