Football

Halifax County High School running back Christian Mack (12) eludes a Randolph-Henry High School defender as he breaks into the open field for a good game during last Saturday’s scrimmage at Randolph-Henry High School in Charlotte Courthouse.

The Halifax County High School varsity football team will be looking for improvement and its fifth straight win over Buckingham County High School when the two teams square off Friday in the annual Virginia High School League Benefit Game.

Kickoff for Friday night’s game at the newly spruced-up Tuck Dillard Memorial Stadium is set for 7 p.m. The junior varsity teams from the two schools will scrimmage at 5 p.m. as a prelude to the varsity contest.

Admission for Friday night’s game is $7 per person. Fans will not be allowed to bring bags or bookbags into the game.

It has been a tough week for the Comets in terms of preparing for the game. Thunderstorms this week have curtailed on-field drills. The Comets were able to get outside for drills Wednesday, and Comets head coach Grayson Throckmorton said Wednesday night he was hoping weather conditions would allow the team to get out on the practice field on Thursday for drills.

“If we have a good day of practice tomorrow (Thursday), we will be as ready as we can possibly be on a week where we could only get outside twice due to thunder and lightning,” Throckmorton said.

“I wouldn’t be real happy if this was a regular game, but since it’s a benefit game-scrimmage, we can live with it.”

Throckmorton said he is concerned about Friday’s weather as well. Weather forecasts from the National Weather Service office in Blacksburg for South Boston and Halifax County call for a 70 to 80 percent chance of rain and/or thunderstorms Friday.

“If we can’t go Friday night, then it kind of forces you to reschedule for Saturday,” Throckmorton pointed out.

“We could possibly do it on Monday, but we have to turn around and play a game on Friday. They (Buckingham County High School) probably wouldn’t want to play on Monday either. If we don’t get it in Friday or Saturday, it (the benefit game) may not be made up.”

Halifax County High School enters Friday night’s VHSL Benefit Game having beaten Buckingham County High School each of the past five years. Throckmorton says he expects the Buckingham County High School players and coaches to be gunning hard for the win and looking to break the streak.

“I know their coaches, and I know their players and know how they are,” Throckmorton pointed out.

“They have been down the last couple or three years. Last year with their new head coach who was an experienced coach in their system, they were better. I think they will be even better this year. He cries the blues on the phone and says he has only 25 kids on the varsity team. I tell you this, he’s got 25 good ones, and they’re going to play tough.”

The Benefit Game is going to take on a format that is a little different than a regular-season game. Throckmorton said the game will consist of four 10-minute quarters instead of the regular 12-minute quarters. Also, there will be no live play on special teams.

“That’s because we’re still installing some of our special teams stuff, and they are too,” Throckmorton explained, “so we’re not going to do that.”

The Comets coach said as was the case when his team scrimmaged Randolph-Henry High School last Saturday, he plans to keep things simple with the team Friday.

“We’re going to continue to be basic, because we’re still trying to polish those basic fundamentals in plays,” explained Throckmorton.

“We do have a couple of new little wrinkles we’re trying to work in. It’s a little bit more of a mis-direction thing. We have a ton of stuff that we’re going to eventually have in. It’s just not there yet.

“People think you can come out and have a hundred plays the first time you scrimmage,” he added.

“It’s not like that, because it takes time. We’re going to go out there and play as tough as we possibly can on a good note and see what good outcome we can have.”

Joe Chandler is the sports editor for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact him at jchandler@gazettevirginian.com.

Joe Chandler is the sports editor for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact him at jchandler@gazettevirginian.com