RIDGEWAY — On a night on which the Halifax County High School football team badly needed a win, it was left to deal with a heartbreaker.
Waging one of their toughest battles of the season, the Comets fell to Magna Vista High School 14-6 Friday night at Magna Vista High School in Ridgeway.
The Comets trailed 7-0 at halftime, but took advantage of a Magna Vista High School turnover to produce a touchdown in the third quarter. A missed two-point conversion left the Comets trailing 7-6. Magna Vista High School sealed the win with a touchdown with just over seven and a half minutes left in the game.
"I'm very proud of them," Comets Head Coach Grayson Throckmorton said of his players.
"I am not upset at them at all. They played hard.Those guys who are here working hard all week at practice and played hard tonight, I thanked them. I said 'bless you and thank you for being a Blue Comet."
The Comets (5-4 overall, 4-2 Piedmont District) needed a win in Friday night’s Piedmont District game against Magna Vista High School to all but assure themselves of a berth in the Virginia High School League Class 5 Region D post-season playoffs.
Now the Comets need some outside help and/or a win in next Friday night’s Senior Night contest against GW-Danville at Halifax County High School to make the eight-team field for the post-season region playoffs.
Not only did the Comets lose the game, they lost one of their key offensive weapons. Senior running back Jamal Brandon sustained a shoulder injury during the Comets' scoring drive in the third quarter and was unable to return to the game. His status for next week's game against GW is unknown.
A fumbled punt return in the first half opened the door for the Warriors to score the first of their two touchdowns. After recovering the fumble on the Comets' 25-yard line, Magna Vista High School drove the 25 yards in seven plays, with quarterback Akira Greenfield scoring on a 1-yard run with 5:06 left in the first half. A successful kick for the extra point by Grayson Eanes gave the Warriors a 7-0 lead they held the rest of the half.
The Comets rallied in the second half to get back into contention. After Camron Carden recovered a Magna Vista High School fumble to give the Comets the ball at the Warriors' 43-yard line, the Comets put together their only scoring drive of the night.
The Comets marched the 43-yard distance in eight plays, with Herbert Brooks scoring from one yard out with 1:48 left in the third quarter to bring the Comets to within a point at 7-6.
Going for the win, Throckmorton had his team attempt a two-point conversion. Unfortunately for the Comets, Brooks was stopped a half yard shy of the goal line.
"I told the team before the game started we were going to go for two (points) if we score," Throckmorton explained.
"I stood by my convictions."
Magna Vista High School managed to produce another score later with Kendall Rupert scoring on a 1-yard run with 7:47 left in the game to cap a nine-play, 57-yard scoring drive. That score sealed the win for the Warriors.
Throckmorton said the missed two-point conversion attempt by his team in the third quarter was key to the outcome.
"The bottom line is the kids played tough," Throckmorton pointed out.
"We could have won the ballgame 8-7. If we had made that two-point conversion, I firmly believe we could have won the game 8-7. I think we would have deflated them a little bit, and our defense gets pumped up and we win the ballgame. They (Magna Vista High School) scored one (touchdown) on us when we were deflated."