- Last Updated on 11:35 PM 09/27/13
- BY Joe Chandler
Injured Halifax County High School quarterback Tyler Stephens, who had missed the better part of six weeks of action with a foot fracture, made a much-anticipated return in Friday night's game against arch-rival GW here at Tuck Dillard Stadium.
Stephens ran for 65 yards on 24 carries and hit two of seven passes for a total of 22 yards. But, it wasn't a good night for Stephens or the Comets.
GW took advantage of a pair of Comets turnovers in the second quarter while scoring 28 unanswered points in the last 11 minutes of the first half and rolled up a 49-0 win over the Comets.
The Comets had five turnovers in the game including four interceptions, three off of Stephens, and a lost fumble. On many occasions, Stephens was forced to flee the pocket to avoid the GW pass rush and he had several passes that he had to fire off hurriedly.
"We couldn't man up," said Comets Head Coach Mike Roark.
"They (GW) kicked our butts hard up front tonight. We've got to fix it. Some things worked well pass-wise, other things didn't. Tyler is a heck of an athlete. He tried to make a few things happen and did some good things."
After having had two turnovers in the first half result in GW touchdowns, the Comets' problems continued to mount in the second half.
GW's Myles Bennett intercepted a pass by Stephens on the Comets' third play from scrimmage in their first possession of the second half. With the ball in hand, GW drove 78 yard in six plays and scored on a 38-yard pass from quarterback Hunter Byrnes to Malik Clements to run its lead to 35-0.
GW picked off another pass from Stephens, this one on the sixth play of the Comets' ensuing possession. Two plays later, GE scored again, this time on a 55-yard pass from Byrnes to Bennett with 4:27 left in the third quarter to take a 42-0 lead.
With Richard Jacobs in the game at quarterback for the Comets, GW's C.J. Grimes stopped a Comets scoring threat by intercepting a pass by Jacobs in the end zone and returning it 101 yards for a touchdown with 2:41 left in the game. That score accounted for the 49-0 final score.
GW tallied 308 yards of total offense, with Byrnes running for one touchdown and throwing for two more. The Eagles scored two touchdowns on interception returns.
While the Comets were victimized by turnovers, they managed to do some things well, putting together three or four offensive drives of the six-to-eight-play variety and piecing together a 19-play drive late in the fourth quarter.
"We did some good things tonight " Roark pointed out.
But, the Comets were not the offensive machine that they had been in their last two outings when they racked up over 300 yards of total offense. The Comets tallied 202 yards of offense, with running back Roland Brandon, who has been the team's leading rusher this season, getting only 30 yards on a dozen carries.
In short, it was a frustrating night.
Jacob Garrett, who had been the Comets' quarterback through the first three games, left the game in the first quarter with an injured hand. Stephens exited the game with just under seven and a half minutes left with a leg cramp and Richard Jacobs, who had designated as the third quarterback upon Stephens' return, finished the game.
"It's frustrating for these kids," Roark said of the loss that dropped his team's record to 0-4 on the season.
"It's supposed to be. I think they are resilient enough. We'll regroup on Monday and start getting ready to go to Martinsville on Friday."