- Last Updated on 09:59 AM 09/09/13
- BY Joe Chandler
There was the obvious look of disappointment on the faces of Halifax County High School players following the Comets’ 42-35 loss to E.C. Glass High School in Friday night’s home season opener at Tuck Dillard Memorial Stadium.
Time after time the Comets had an answer for E.C. Glass. The Comets rallied to score three touchdowns in the final nine minutes and 41 seconds of the game, but it wasn’t quite enough as the Hilltoppers escaped with a seven-point win.
Still, there was a sense of optimism.
“We’re a whole different team than we were last week,” remarked Comets sophomore quarterback Jacob Garrett who ran for 94 yards and two touchdowns and threw for two more scores.
“We just put everything we had out there.”
Comets Head Coach Mike Roark praised the effort of his team.
“This was one that slipped away,” Roark noted.
“We were in the ballgame the whole time. We kept fighting to get on top, but every time we’d get close, we’d drop back under water. It was a little frustrating, but the kids fought the whole time. We didn’t quit.”
The Comets trailed 34-14 after E.C. Glass quarterback Donnie Morgan hit Tyqion Stokes with a strike on a 40-yard pass play that resulted in a touchdown with 9:41 left in the game, but they mounted a furious rally in the closing minutes that almost paid off.
Garrett scored on a 1-yard run with 5:08 left to cap an 11-play, 45-yard scoring drive. The Comets got the ball back by recovering an onsides kick and scored six plays later with Roland Brandon scoring on a 3-yard run with 3:41 left on the clock. Kyle Lacks’ kick made it a six-point game at 34-28.
The Comets attempted another onsides kick, but the Hilltoppers recovered the ball on their own 44-yard line. Stokes broke through the Comets’ defense on the Hilltoppers’ second play from scrimmage and raced 53 yards for a touchdown. Morgan ran for a 2-point conversion to put his team back up by two touchdowns at 42-28 to complete what ultimately would be game-saving scores.
Halifax County answered with a big play on its ensuing possession, with Garrett hitting speedster Devan Richardson with a screen pass and Richardson sprinting the distance to complete an 82-yard play for a touchdown with 2:21 left. A kick by Lacks brought the Comets back to within seven points at 42-35.
Again, the Comets attempted an onsides kick, and again, E.C. Glass recovered the ball. After getting the ball back, E.C. Glass was able to hang onto the ball and run out the clock to preserve the win.
“We just had to make some tackles there,” Roark said of E.C. Glass’ next-to-last possession.
“If we had, I think we could have gotten on top of it.”
Garrett had a big night, running for two touchdowns and throwing for two touchdowns. Along with scoring runs of 3 yards and 1 yard, he threw a 9-yard strike to Brandon for a touchdown and hit Richardson with a screen pass that turned into an 82-yard scoring play. For the night, he hit eight of 16 pass attempts and had no interceptions.
It was a big turnaround for Garrett, who had struggled and thrown four interceptions in the Comets’ opening game a week earlier.
“I was angry about last week “ Garrett said referring to the Comets’ 55-14 loss to Jefferson Forest High School a week ago.
“I just had to let it out. I knew I had to help my team.”
Brandon had two TDs in the game, one with a pass reception and one on the ground.
The Comets kept the game close despite squandering two all-but-certain scoring opportunities in the first half. Twice the Comets coughed up the football in the red zone, once on the 6-yard line and the other on the 1-yard line. On one of those occasions, the Hilltoppers drove the field for a touchdown.
During the Comets’ first offensive series of the second half, the Comets fumbled the ball again. That time, E.C. Glass High School’s Tyus Brown scooped up the ball and raced 82 yards for a touchdown.
“That’s a 14 to 21-point turnaround,” Roark pointed out of the three turnovers.
“But the kids didn’t quit. We could have put our tails through our legs but they just kept battling.”