The Halifax Blue Comets football team has their new head coach. Rob Senseney was announced at a Tuesday morning press conference as the new varsity football head coach at Halifax County High School.
“On behalf of Halifax County Public Schools and the faculty and staff at Halifax County High School, I would like to introduce Rob Senseney as the head varsity football coach,” Halifax County High School principal Michael Lewis announced.
Senseney comes from Clayton High School in North Carolina where he had served one year as interim head coach. But he is no stranger to Virginia high school football, he was the head coach of the Gretna High School state championship teams in 2003 and 2004.
Senseney graduated high school in Fayetteville, North Carolina and then went on to attend college at East Carolina University. His first paid coaching job in football came in 1997 at Brookville High School in Lynchburg where current Halifax County Superintendent Dr. Mark Lineburg was the head coach.
“I am real glad for him (Senseney) to wear the blue and white and be a part of the Comets,” Lineburg said in the press conference.
Lineburg thanked Lewis and athletic director Allen Lawter as well as assistant principal Kelvin Davis for a great process in hiring a new football coach.
“We had a great candidate pool, there were so many people that were interested in this position and I think that speaks well to the stability that we have at Halifax County High School,” Lineburg added. He also thanked recently retired coach Grayson Throckmorton for turning over a program that was in good shape.
“I am real excited about being here,” Senseney began. “It was a great process and it showed me how much they care about the kids number one and number two how important athletics is to the program and number three how it all fits together for the community,” he added.
Senseney has a career record of 115-76, which is a 60.2% win percentage as head coach.
He is familiar with the program at Halifax due to his time at Gretna and with William Fleming High School in Roanoke. That familiarity and knowing Dr. Lineburg werebig factors in his decision to apply for the job.
“I knew what type of person he (Lineburg) is and what type of people he was going to surround himself with and it was an attraction,” Senseney said. “I have been wanting to get back to Virginia and a lot of the pieces fell into place, the timing of the situation, the knowledge of the area and the knowledge of the opponents, it all intrigued me,” he added.
In discussing football in areas such as Halifax County, Senseney compares it to those that he has seen in South Carolina and South Georgia. Schools that are very community oriented, sports oriented and the school is the social heartbeat of the community. “You have one school, one system, one county and you are the heartbeat of it all and that to me is a strength,” he said.
“Every single kid in the county is coming to you, every single business in the county has a good chance of having an alumnus from Halifax, every single church and civic organization is going to have deep roots in your school so that makes a great opportunity to grow a program into a next level type of situation,” he added.
On the field, Senseney runs an up-tempo offense that he has run since the early 2000s. He says that his teams will run a lot of shotgun formations. They will run some ten personnel with four wide receivers and 11 personnel and bring in a tight end. “That’s where football has gone, utilizing a tight end or h-back and hopefully we would like to have some sort of dual threat quarterback that can possibly get the edge as a runner and get the ball downfield,” Senseney said.
“Our main idea is that we want to be up-tempo, we want to push the pace of the game and really vanilla defenses. When you huddle the defensive coordinator gets to make intricate calls and when you are up-tempo and you are getting to the line of scrimmage really fast it puts the pressure on them,” he added.
On defense, Senseney says that he has been an odd front guy and that is what he has run nearly everywhere he has been. They will be a 3-4 base most likely according to him and possibly a 3-3-5 if the personnel allows for it. Getting kids to come out and play is something the Senseney and his staff will be focusing on.
“Recruit your halls, recruit your own players and get them to buy in,” Senseney said.
“Halifax is a large area and that is going to present some challenges but sometimes the answer to that challenge is good old fashioned footwork. If a kid calls and says ‘coach I need this’ we are going to be the first ones to answer that call. ‘Coach I need a ride’ we are going to come get them, we are going to do what it takes to get kids to come out, we are going to be a base of support for them, be it getting to practice, providing things that they need for practice, be it providing academic services, providing a direction, that is my overall answer to any challenge we are facing,” he added.
Senseney and his staff are going to be the salesman of the program and salesman for the vision of the program which is to build good men and people that they are proud of in the community and to build a physical football team that goes out on Friday nights and scraps and fights, according to him.
As for the current issues that he faces with COVID-19 restrictions, Senseney says that he will follow the school system’s plans. He says that the situation is very fluid and will change a lot probably.
“We have got to be fluid with it, we have got to roll with the changes and that is one thing I am going to tell the kids right off the bat. There is going to be a Plan A, Plan B and Plan C, and we’re going to have as many situations covered as we can,” he said.
“One thing I said in my interview is I am going to comply publicly and privately with what the school system says,” he added.
Senseney hopes to meet his team through Zoom meetings in the near future and as soon as he can get the kids in person they will move on to that step. He says that he has a plan in place to start when the time comes and will be adjusted to whatever the time in the calendar it is that he is able to begin implementing that plan.