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Late Comets bid falls short in 27-20 loss to Martinsville

MARTINSVILLE It was a tale of two halves. Trailing 21-0 at halftime and looking like a prizefighter on the ropes, Halifax County High School battled back to dominate the second half, but it was too little too late as Martinsville High School held on to edge the Comets 27-20 here Friday night at Martinsville High School.

The Comets, playing their best half of football of the season, outscored the Bulldogs 20-7 in their comeback bid, but were unable to make a crucial defensive stop in the final four minutes that would have given them an opportunity to possibly tie or win the game.

"The second half was the best we've played all year," said Comets Head Coach Mike Roark after the loss that dropped the Comets' record to 0-5 overall and 0-2 in Piedmont District play.

"If we could put together 48 minutes like that we could be pretty good."

Martinsville High School scored touchdowns on three of their first four possessions of the game. Bulldogs quarterback Brandon Carter threw for one score and scored on an 11-yard run with 9:20 left in the first half to give his team a 21-0 lead. Running back Taj Taylor scored a touchdown between Carter's two scores, with his score coming on a 20-yard run that gave the Bulldogs a 14-0 edge after the first five and a half minutes of action.

At halftime, the Bulldogs had tallied 292 yards of offense as compared to 94 for the Comets, whose longest play sequence of the half was nine plays.

Martinsville High School mounted an eight-play, 64-yard scoring drive to start the second half, with Montarius Hodge scoring on a 4-yard run to put the Bulldogs up 27-0.

Halifax County answered by driving 51 yards in seven plays for a touchdown with quarterback Tyler Stephens throwing a 19-yard strike to Rymel Windsor with 4:08 left in the third quarter. Isak Schafer kicked the extra point to make it a 27-7 score.

The Comets scored again on their third possession of the second half, with Stephens scoring on a 3-yard run with 7:52 left in the game to cut his team's deficit to 13 points at 27-14.

Halifax County attempted an onsides kick and recovered the ball at the Bulldogs' 45-yard line. Five plays later, Stephens scored on a 1-yard run, a play set up by a 33-yard pass to Truman Brown on the previous play, and pulled to within seven points at 27-20.

Martinsville High School got the ball back with just under six and a half minutes left in the game and controlled the ball the rest of the way, with the Comets not getting the ball back until 25 seconds were left on the clock.

Stephens made it interesting though, throwing a 17-yard pass to Windsor and hitting Roland Brandon with a 20-yard pass on the final play of the game.

"We just needed one stop," Roark noted.

"They played hard. It would have been very easy for them to say we're 0-4 or whatever and turn out the lights and go home. They fought hard and won the second half. The mentality now is to win these last five games."

Brandon led the Comets with 82 yards on 10 carries. Stephens had 21 yards on 20 carries with two touchdowns.

Brown led the Comets receivers with 78 yards on four catches.