The Halifax County High School Comets traveled to Patrick County on Friday and got back to their winning ways winning with a final score of 41-32.

The Comets were forced to play without some key pieces of their offense and defense including their quarterback Dakii Chandler and their defensive end Zackarich Carter.

Tailback and safety Joshua Miller was forced into the starting quarterback role and although the Comets did not throw the ball much, Miller was forced to throw the ball on eight separate occasions and completed 6-8 throws with one touchdown, an incompletion and one interception in the win.

“I was expecting to be the quarterback. We had been game planning for it all week,” said Miller.

Mikyler Smalls had four touchdowns in the win, Miller had one rushing touchdown and a passing touchdown and Kanya Caddle had a receiving touchdown and the biggest catch of the game.

“It felt great. It was a great team win. Our O-Line did their part tonight,” said Smalls.

The Comets held the lead the entire game until the last three minutes of the fourth quarter on a four-yard rushing touchdown from the Patrick County Cougars with 3:12 left in the fourth.

Off the kickoff from the Cougars, the Comets gained possession at the 40 yard-line before Smalls rushed it to the 50-yard line. One play after a 10-yard rush by Smalls, Miller dropped back in the pocket and spotted Caddle down the field, throwing a pass right over the Patrick County defender’s head and Caddle jumped high to complete the 30-yard pass setting the Comets up inside the 20-yard line.

“I was just trying to go up and get the ball,” Caddle remarked.

“I just knew I had to make a play for us to win,” Miller added.

After the catch, the Comets seemed to have all the momentum they needed to score and take the lead back.

Two plays later Miller took the snap at the nine-yard line and rushed towards the endzone fighting through defenders draped all over him and was taken down just short of the touchdown at the one-yard line. He decided that he had gotten the Comets this close to the endzone and he was going to finish the drive himself. He kept the snap and rushed into the endzone giving the Comets the lead right back and making the score 35-22 with 1:45 left in the game.

However, the Comets weren’t done just yet. Ella Morrison kicked the football down the field, the Patrick County return man dropped the football and the Comets hopped on it to gain possession once again, this time at the 29-yard line.

Smalls capitalized after just two plays, taking off from the 29-yard line and finding a hole in the Cougars defense and breaking free for a 29-yard rushing touchdown making the score 41-32 with 53 seconds left on the clock.

“As soon as I broke through, I saw green grass. Our O-Line made a great hole for me,” said Smalls.

Shortly after, Ella Morrison kicked off the football and the Cougars returner dropped the ball once again. The Comets jumped on the football and took over possession.

The Comets, out of respect and sportsmanship, decided to kneel out the clock and get back to their winning ways.

Smalls seems to carry the load for the Comets in the backfield for most of the reps every week and takes a beating from the other team. He gave credit to the Comets athletic trainer and said, “she does a really good job, she’s really good at helping me rehab.”

This game was a big game for the Comets in the Piedmont District standings as they’re now tied for second with Bassett County High School who both have district records of 3-1.

This sets up an even bigger game for this coming Friday as the Comets host Bassett County High School at Tuck Dillard Memorial Stadium for a battle for second place.

Josh Carlton is a sports writer for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact him jcarlton@gazettevirginian.com. 

Josh Carlton is a sports writer for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact him jcarlton@gazettevirginian.com.