Montavious Morrero (1) of the Halifax County Middle School football team runs for one his four touchdowns during the opening game 34-22 win over Patrick County Middle School at Tuck Dillard Memorial Stadium on Tuesday.

A stout running game, with Montavious Morrero rushing for four touchdowns, and an opportunistic defense, with interceptions by Titus Tucker and Brycen Bowen, helped give the Halifax County Middle School a 34-22 win over Patrick County Middle School in its opener Tuesday at Tuck Dillard Memorial Stadium.

Morrero scored on a 59-yard run and Tucker returned an interception 80 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter, with quarterback Jaylen Walton running for a 2-point conversion following the first score to give the Lions a 14-0 lead.

Patrick County scored on a 25-yard interception return late in the second quarter to make it 14-6, but Halifax responded with a 50-yard scoring run by Morrero and a 2-point conversion pass from Walton to Tucker making it 22-6 at halftime.

Patrick County, which got a pair of scoring runs from Jaxon Horton, scored on a 10-yard touchdown pass and 2-point conversion, but Morrero scored on a 57-yard touchdown run to make it 28-14 early in the third quarter.

Patrick County scored on a 49-yard run by Horton and added a conversion run to close to within 28-22, and Morrero capped the scoring with a 57-run to the Patrick County 1-yard line and a touchdown run on the Lions’ next possession for a 34-22 lead after three quarters.

Brycen Bowen halted Patrick County’s final drive inside the Halifax 20-yard line with an interception in the final minute of play.

Comets head coach Kenneth Day was pleased with what he saw on the field from a team with several younger players, some of whom are playing football for the first time.

“Patrick County is a pretty good team,” noted Day. “Our kids played hard, and for some of them, it’s the first time they’ve ever played football, and they came out and played hard for us.”

Assistant coaches Hakeem Pettus, Joe Martin and Zach Carter have done a good job of helping the team prepare for the season on short notice, Day added.

“Our coaches have done a good job with them, and we’re just pointing them in the right direction and see what happens,” concluded Day.

“They’re also having a little fun, too, and that counts for a lot.”

Doug Ford reports for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact him at dford@gazettevirginian.com.