Different coaches and different players have one particular game they point to in the season that sits above all others. For some, it may be a game between two rival schools. Then again, it could be a big post-season regional game or perhaps a state championship game.
For Halifax County High School head football coach Grayson Throckmorton, the big game is Friday night’s 7 p.m. home season opener, the Memorial Game against Nottoway County High School at Tuck Dillard Memorial Stadium.
“In my mind, it’s a Super Bowl,” Throckmorton remarked.
“It’s a huge game for me. I don’t think most people would even understand that unless they were in my shoes.”
Throckmorton spent 14 years of his career coaching at Nottoway County High School. Now, Throckmorton is in his third year as head coach of the Comets, and Friday night will be the first meeting of the two schools on the gridiron.
“I spent 14 years of my career there, and also with the expectation I would be there until I retire,” Throckmorton explained.
“Having it all change with one decision kind of left a little bit of a bad taste. I still have a lot of feelings for that place, because 14 years of my life I worked hard there.”
On two fronts, one being that his team needs a good performance and a win to jump start the season, the other being that he will be facing his former school, Throckmorton wants to see his team be the dominant force in Friday night’s opener.
“I want our Blue Comets team to send a message,” Throckmorton said.
“I do not want my former team to send a message on us.”
Throckmorton understands well what is going on inside both teams.
“I know some of the guys on the coaching staff there that were on the staff when I was coaching at Nottoway,” Throckmorton pointed out.
“I know they are telling their team that their former head coach is at Halifax now as a motivational boost. I know they watched us on film against Buckingham, and they feel they can play with us, because we didn’t play our best against Buckingham.
“They’re building up and hyping their kids up with that too,” he added.
“They’re hyping them up that they’re coming to Halifax, playing a bigger school, they’re on a big stage, and they can play the role of the upset at our place.”
The Comets coach says he has been instilling in his team this week that Friday’s game is a big game.
“This (game) means more to me than most folks can ever understand,” said Throckmorton. “When you throw in the memorial ceremony for Coach Palmore and Coach Crittenden on top of it, that resonates throughout the whole community.”