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Rockets shoot down Comets 21-17

Friday the 13th has long been viewed by many as a day when bad luck can be expected - a day on which anything that could possibly happen will happen.

It wasn't a good night for the Halifax County High School football team.

After victimizing themselves with inconsistency and penalties, the Comets took the lead for the first time in the game with just under five minutes left to play but couldn't hold on as border rival Person (N.C.) High School escaped with a 21-17 win in the contest between what had been a pair of winless teams.

The disappointment among the Comets players was evident as Comets Head Coach Mike Roark kept his players together for a longer-than usual post-game talk.

Roark said this loss was the most disappointing of the three his team has suffered this season.

"We just couldn't get it going," Roark remarked.

"The kids are beat up.The coaches are beat up. We did not expect this tonight. We didn't expect to roll over them, but I think we all expected we were going to play better. The kids will tell you they didn't play as well as they thought they were going to."

Halifax County High School's night took an ugly turn early as a pass from quarterback Jacob Garrett to Truman Brown on the Comets' second play of the game sailed high. Brown attempted to make a leaping catch, only to have the ball get batted into the air. Person (N.C.) High School's LeRon Cash caught the ball and raced 23 yards to the end zone for a touchdown. The kick for the conversion by Jacob Oakley put the Rockets up 7-0 with only 53 seconds having elapsed in the game.

"That took a lot of wind out of us," Roark pointed out.

"We thought we were going to march down the field and put some points on the board. That just deflated us. I'm not sure that we really regrouped."

The Comets bounced back to get a 28-yard field goal from Kyle Lacks with 11:51 left in the first half to cap an 11-play, 70-yard drive to make it a 7-3 score, where it remained the rest of the first half.

Person High School scored on its first possession of the second half with a 25-yard by quarterback Trevon Tapp with 9:17 left in the third quarter. Oakley's kick put the Rockets up 14-3.

The Comets answered on their first possession of the second half with Garrett plunging into the end zone on a 2-yard run with 7:46 left in the third quarter to cap a three-play, 31-yard drive that had been set up by a 48-yard kickoff return by Roland Brandon. Lacks' kick brought the Comets to within four points at 14-10.

After recovering a Rockets fumble on the Rockets' 45-yard line, the Comets put together a 10-play scoring drive capped by a 2-yard run for a touchdown by Brandon and a kick by Lacks to take a 17-14 lead with 4:51 left in the game.

The Comets were unable to stop the Rockets as Tapp broke free for a 25-yard touchdown run with 3:26 left in the game that turned out to be the game-winner for the Rockets. Oakley's kick allowed the Rockets to regain the lead at 21-17.

"We've got two weeks to bounce back " Roark said, noting that the Comets have an open week on their schedule next week. 

"It might be a heck of a time to have a two-week break."

The Comets had little trouble in moving the football, as evidenced by the fact they out-gained Person High School in rushing yardage 262-200, out-gained the Rockets 315-282 in total yardage and had 19 first downs as compared to 14 for the Rockets. But, the Comets were just 2-10 in third-down conversions and 2-5 in fourth-down conversions. The Comets were cited for 11 penalties in the game for a total of 65 yards while the Rockets had six penalties for 48 yards.

Brandon led the Comets in rushing with 157 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries. He also caught four passes for a total of 20 yards. Lacks had two catches for a total of 24 yards.