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Comets look to get on a winning track

E.C. Glass High School and Halifax County High School have a long history when it comes to football.

Another page in that long-standing history will be written tonight when the Hilltoppers come to town to face the Comets in the Comets’ home opener at 7 p.m. at Tuck Dillard Memorial Stadium.

Tonight’s game will feature two teams that are looking to get on a winning track. E.C. Glass turned the ball over four times and lost to Harrisonburg 27-24 last week in their home opener. Across town, the Comets lost 55-14 to Jefferson Forest High School in Forest.

Halifax County High School Head Coach Mike Roark says tonight’s game is a big one for his team.

“Everybody wants to win their home opener,” Roark pointed out.

“This is our first home game. The kids are pretty jacked up. Every game right now is important. We’re going to worry about each game one week at a time.”

For the Comets, practice this week has been devoted to fixing things that didn’t go well for the team in last Friday’s game, reviewing and improving the things that went well and making some changes in the front line.

“We’ve fixing and getting better at what we do,” Roark explained.

“We didn’t put in any new stuff on offense or defense. We’ve just gotten better and tweaked up what didn’t work right last week.

“I think we had too many kids going both ways last week,” added Roark, “and we’ve fixed that.”

Changes in the line, Roark pointed out, were made to improve efficiency.

“We’ve got to be able to run the ball inside a little more so we’ve moved some people around so that we can run inside,” he noted.

One of the big keys to the Comets football team this season is how quickly players will grow in experience and knowledge. It was an inexperienced Comets squad that faced a veteran Jefferson Forest High School team last week.

“We have four returning starters, two on offense and two on defense,” Roark noted.

“We had 20-some kids out there that have never played varsity football before going up against one of the best teams in the Lynchburg area. They (Jefferson Forest) were returning eight offensive guys and nine defensive guys, most of them who were seniors. They also had a three-year senior quarterback. They are a very good football team.”

Tonight, as was the case last week, the Comets are going to have to play assignment football.

E.C. Glass High School uses a triple-option offense. In order for the defensive team to put the brakes on that kind of offense, making the proper reads and playing assigned positions are key.

“Everybody’s got something they’ve got to do and if they play that we’ll be fine,” Roark pointed out.

“You’ve got to stay with your keys and reads. We started off last week staying with our keys and reads. They (Jefferson Forest) used a lot of misdirection. We started off okay. But when we got tired and got behind, we started peeking in the backfield. We can’t do that this week. We’ve got to stay with what we’ve been coached to do.”

Roark pointed out that his defense is going to have to contain E.C. Glass quarterback Donnie Morgan. Morgan ran for 101 yards against Harrisonburg High School last week.

“He’s a good football player,” Roark said of Morgan.

“If we can stop him, that will be a big plus for us.”

Another component to tonight’s game for the Comets will be the ability of the Comets’ offensive line to keep E.C. Glass High School defenders away from sophomore quarterback Jacob Garrett.

“We’ve got to pick up their blitz,” Roark explained.

“They (E.C. Glass) are going to send six or seven guys every snap. We’ve got to take care of it.”

Roark says he feels the Comets match up well against the Hilltoppers and that he and the team are optimistic about tonight’s game.

“We’ve had a good week,” Roark pointed out. 

“We’ve had good practices. We’ve got to line up and play some football.”