Comets

Halifax County High School’s Zach Carter (72) and Taveion Coleman (57) team up to stop a Nottoway County High School runner during the Comets’ season-opening game on Aug. 30 at Tuck Dillard Memorial Stadium.

It’s early in the season for the Halifax County High School varsity football team, but the Comets will be facing a big test Friday night when they face neighboring border rival Person High School of Roxboro, North Carolina, at 7 p.m. at Tuck Dillard Memorial Stadium.

Halifax County High School has won six of the last nine meetings between the two schools but has the big incentive of turning the tables from last season when the Comets lost to the Rockets 14-7 in Roxboro, North Carolina, after suffering five turnovers in the contest.

“It’s a game we’re looking forward to because Person and Halifax are in close proximity, only 30-minutes apart, very closely related in the demographics of the school, they’re the same type of kids, and a lot of them know each other,” said Comets head coach Grayson Throckmorton.

“It’s a good rivalry. It’s going to be a challenge, and we’re looking forward to it.”

The Comets enter Friday night’s game having played only one game, a game they won over Nottoway County High School. Halifax County High School had its bye week after that and head into Friday night’s game having had two weeks to prepare.

“I think we have made tremendous amounts of progress,” Throckmorton said when asked how the team has come along during the break.

“We’ve kind of turned a corner and are heading in the right direction. I want to see progress continue that way.”

Some coaches don’t like having a bye week fall so early in the season. In this case, Throckmorton said it has worked well for his team.

“That bye came at a really timely point,” he pointed out.

“It allowed us to heal up a little bit, allowed us to polish some of the basics and allowed us to install some things on offense and defense to make us a little more versatile. Now we have to keep polishing the new things as well as to continue working on the basic fundamentals.”

Throckmorton used six different running backs in the season-opener against Nottoway County High School and used a dual-quarterback approach with Thomas Lee and Kameron Roberts. The Comets coach said he plans to continue with that Friday night.

“We’re trying to play more people, because we have some capable people to play more,” Throckmorton explained.

“We have a core group established, and that core group involves a lot of different people. That is good for us. It allows us to give some folks some breaks. Even though they are playing both sides of the ball, we can give them a break on offense or defense.”

The dual-quarterback system using Lee and Roberts has worked well for the Comets thus far, and Throckmorton says he plans to continue with it.

“Both of the guys are working hard together and are supportive of one another,” Throckmorton said.

“The team understands we’re using a dual-quarterback role. That’s what we’re going to do right now, and that’s what we’re going to stick with.”

Person High School enters Friday night’s game 0-3 and looking for its first win of the season. While the Rockets are winless, Throckmorton says they are a dangerous team that cannot be taken lightly.

“On offense, they are a spread team, and they will throw it (the ball) eight or nine times out of 10 plays, and if you blow a (pass) coverage, it’s a touchdown,” explained Throckmorton.

“If you miss a tackle in the open field, it could be a big play or a touchdown. Every play is a potential big play. That worries you to death as a coach. We have really worked hard on that this week. Our guys understand they have to play first to allow no big plays on defense, secondly, get a three-and-out, and third, force a turnover and get the ball back into hands of our offense.

“Normally, number one is three-and-out,” Throckmorton added.

“This week it’s no big plays because they (Person High School) are a big-play threat every time they touch the ball. As long as we don’t give up the big play Friday night, I think we will be in the driver’s seat.”

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