- Last Updated on 06:33 AM 09/07/12
- BY Joe Chandler
The border rivalry between Halifax County High School and Person (N.C.) High School renews itself tonight in Roxboro, N.C., with both the Comets and the Rockets looking to get their respective seasons on track.
Person (N.C.) High School enters tonight’s 7 p.m. contest with a 1-2 slate and two straight losses, while the Comets go into tonight’s game winless in their two games and looking to get some momentum going for the rest of the season.
Halifax County High School has won the last two meetings between the two teams, including a dramatic 26-25 win in overtime in last year’s contest here at Tuck Dillard Stadium.
First-year Comets Head Coach Michael Roark admitted he had not been fully aware of the rivalry between the two teams until this week, but says he and the Comets will be ready for tonight’s test.
“I’m still learning the rivalries,” Roark said prior to Wednesday’s team practice.
“I’ve been reminded that (the rivalry) about 20 times today. The hype is going to come on its own. We’ll approach it and play it like a normal game and the natural hype will come from the rivalry.”
A big plus for the Comets tonight will be the return of running back Alonzo Bennett. Bennett, who leads the Comets in three statistical categories, had to sit out last week’s game against E.C. Glass High School, but will be back in action tonight. Also back for tonight’s game is defensive back Jacquan Claiborne, who was also out of action last week.
One player who will not play tonight is quarterback Richard Jacobs. Jacobs sustained a concussion during last Friday night’s game against E.C. Glass High School and will be replaced by Tyler Stephens, who has taken snaps at quarterback on multiple occasions.
The status of a couple of other players that got banged up last week will be determined tonight at game time.
As a result of injuries and other situations, Roark has done some shuffling with his personnel this week. However, he doesn’t see that as a problem for tonight’s game.
“We’re still doing the same things,” Roark pointed out.
“We’re putting some people where they need to be. After we watched the video over the weekend and showed it to the kids, we realized we had to get better in a couple of positions and that’s the plan.”
Roark said the fact that the Comets have won their last two contests against the Rockets should help the team’s confidence entering tonight’s game.
“I think it does a lot for their confidence,” Roark remarked.
“I think the kids also realize we’re better than what we’ve shown. We have Alonzo (Bennett) coming back and that’s also helping the energy on the field.”
One of the keys for the Comets tonight is getting off to a good start in the game.
“I don’t know if it needs to be a quick start,” Roark said, “but it does need to be steady. We need to move the sticks.
“We’re going to need to move the sticks and not give up the big plays on defense. If we do those things and get our special teams dialed in, we’ll be fine.”