The Halifax County High School football team has punched its ticket for a home game Friday in the opening round of the Virginia High School League Region 4D post-season playoffs.

Halifax County High School capped regular-season play Friday night with a 42-7 win over Tunstall High School in the annual Senior Night game at Tuck Dillard Memorial Stadium, with the win earning the Comets a home game against rival GW in this week’s opening round of the Region 4D playoffs.

This will mark the first time since 1991 that Halifax County High School will host a Virginia High School League post-season playoff game.

The Comets entered Friday night’s game in fourth place in the Region 4D standings, just ahead of GW-Danville, knowing that a win over the Trojans would likely land the team a home game for the playoffs, while a loss would likely force the Comets to have to travel.

“We did our part,” said Comets head coach Grayson Throckmorton.

“We got the win. By getting the win, that’s the best we could do.”

The win gives the Comets a 7-3 overall record and a 4-2 mark in Piedmont District play, making this the first Comets football team since the 2006 season to win as many as seven games in a season.

Friday night’s win was a nice rebound for the Comets after a lackluster performance in a loss to Patrick County High School a week earlier. It also marked the first time since the 2015 season that the Comets have won on Senior Night.

“Injuries killed us last week, and we didn’t play well against a good football team,” Throckmorton remarked of the Patrick County game.

“This week we had a much better week of practice, the weather complied, and guys got a little healthier. The guys also knew it was Senior Night, and they wanted to go out and win a football game that they hadn’t won before on Senior Night. They wanted to make a statement and play well, and they came out and they did.”

It was fitting that on Senior Night it was a core group of seniors that helped pave the Comets’ path to victory. Christian Mack ran for 102 yards and three touchdowns, William Davis scampered for 95 yards and two touchdowns, and Zyon Wilson ran for 84 yards and one touchdown. Davis and quarterback Thomas Lee each ran for a 2-point conversion.

Along with it being Senior Night, Mack had an extra measure of motivation.

“I was sick all week,” Mack explained, “and I’ve been waiting to get onto the field. I had to come through for my team. It was a prayer answered from God.”

The motivation for landing a home game for the playoffs was also big, Mack pointed out.

“We wanted to play at home for the playoffs,” Mack noted, “and we knew if we had lost we would have to be on the road. We wanted to get the job done, and we did tonight.”

Halifax County High School got off to a good start, scoring on their first two offensive possessions of the game.

Christian Mack scored the first of his three touchdowns in the game on a 3-yard run with with 5:20 left in the first quarter to cap an eight-play, 64-yard drive. A long punt return by ZyLiek Perkins following Tunstall High School’s opening possession set the Comets up at the Trojans’ 19-yard line. Davis scored on the first play from scrimmage, and Lee ran for a 2-point conversion to put the Comets up 14-0 with 2:55 left in the first quarter.

Tunstall High School scored off of an intercepted pass and fumble return with 1:19 left in the first half to cut its deficit to seven points at 14-7. The Comets answered, with Mack scoring his second touchdown of the game on a 19-yard run, and Davis running for a 2-point conversion to put the Comets up 22-7 with 48.3 seconds remaining in the first half.

Scores on their first two offensive possessions of the second half allowed the Comets to put the game away. Mack scored his third touchdown of the game on a 9-yard run with 7:26 left in the third quarter to cap a nine-play, 80-yard drive. Wilson added a touchdown for the Comets with a 9-yard run with 5:20 left in the third quarter to complete a quick three-play, 31-yard drive. Those two scores gave the Comets a 35-7 lead.

A 16-yard run by Davis for a touchdown with 1:19 left in the third quarter and a kick by Dalton Blanks for the extra point gave the Comets the final 35-point margin.

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