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Comets rack up first win

There were plenty of smiles, a multitude of handshakes and pats on the back, but no wild celebration.

After having lost its first six games of the season, Halifax County High School picked up its first victory of the season, rolling to a 45-6 win over Patrick County High School in Stuart.

“They’re having fun,” Halifax County High School Head Coach Mike Roark said, his voice cracking with emotion as he watched his players enjoy the moment.

“This is huge, not only for the kids, but also for the school and the community. They played hard. We played a heck of a ballgame.”

The Comets finally got what they had been looking for all season, scoring four offensive touchdowns and returning two of three intercepted Patrick County High School passes for touchdowns in a solid effort on both the offensive and defensive sides of the football.

Halifax County High School forged a 17-0 lead by halftime and, with a 24-6 lead after three quarters, scored 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to hand Patrick County High School it’s 37th straight loss.

Comets sophomore quarterback Jacob Garrett ran for two touchdowns, one for 42 yards and one for 8 yards, both in the second half. Running backs Roland Brandon and Devan Richardson each scored one touchdown, with Brandon’s 2-yard touchdown run with 2:05 left in the first quarter staking the Comets to a 7-0 lead they never relinquished.

The Comets also got a 29-yard field goal from Kyle Lacks with two seconds left in the first half to give the Comets a 17-0 lead at halftime.

Not only did the Comets get the job done offensively, they played a solid game on the defensive side, scoring two defensive touchdowns in the second half. 

With the Comets leading 31-6, Jawon Jackson intercepted a Patrick County High School pass and returned it 31 yards for a touchdown with 8:48 left in the game to make the score 38-6. 

Two Patrick County High School possessions later, the Comets’ Tre’ Morgan intercepted a pass and returned it 45 yards for a touchdown with 3:49 left in the game to make the 45-6 final score.

The Comets picked off Patrick County High School passes on three of the Cougars’ last four possessions of the game and took advantage of five Patrick County High School turnovers in the contest.

“We haven’t had that much defensive play in probably the last two years,” Roark pointed out.

While the Comets dominated the majority of the game, Patrick County High School did throw a scare at the Comets at the start of the second half.

Trailing 17-0, the Cougars successfully executed an onsides kick to start the second half. On the first play from scrimmage, Cougars quarterback Marcus Penn threw a 41-yard strike to Chris Gilles for a touchdown. The Cougars missed the extra-point attempt, but cut their deficit to 11 points.

Patrick County High School attempted a second onsides kick on the ensuing kickoff, but the Comets recovered the ball and thwarted another attempted quick strike by the Cougars, who never threatened after that.

“We battled through some adversity in the third quarter, which we’ve fallen to in the past,” Roark noted.

“We didn’t give up on that stuff tonight.”

Halifax County High School racked up 325 yards of total offense, with Richardson running for 119 yards and a touchdown on a dozen carries and Garrett running for 92 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

My line blocked its butt off for me,” Richardson said. I couldn’t have done anything without them.

“I feel like this win will give our team some confidence that we can carry through to the game,” Richardson added.

“We’ve got a win now, so maybe some people will lay off of us some and we can have some confidence and come out ready to play again.”

For Garrett, Friday night was the first time he had been under center at quarterback since the third game of the season against E.C. Glass High School.

“It was a good feeling to get back to playing quarterback,” Garrett said.

“Myself and Coach Medley (assistant coach LeVar Medley) have been putting in a lot of practice with quarterback drills. I got my confidence as soon as I walked onto the field. I knew I had to take charge and help get this win for the team.”

The win was a total team effort by the Comets, who went with a three-quarterback rotation with Kyran Adams, Morgan and Garrett operating the first three offensive series before Roark settled in with Garrett for most of the remainder of the game.

There were some new faces at other positions as well as some players had recently left the team. Everybody chipped in Friday night for what was a collective effort.

“It’s been ugly...0-6, you see it,” Roark said.

“Our sideline has gotten smaller. This is a good bunch of kids. These are the ones who are sticking it out. We’ve got some who haven’t. These guys here are sticking it out, so it’s only fair that they play. 

“The philosophy now,” Roark concluded, “is to just have everybody come to practice and lifting (weights), play football and have some fun to finish out the season.”   

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