Halifax County High School head football coach Grayson Throckmorton (center) reviews the particulars of a play with players during Friday’s practice at Halifax County High School. The Comets, now working out in full gear, will use this week to prepare for Saturday’s scrimmage against Randolph-Henry High School.

Numbers are up, and the Halifax County High School football team is pretty much on target after the first full week of pre-season drills.

The Comets went through the usual transition last week, moving from practicing in helmets to practicing in helmets and shoulder pads and closing out the week with the final transition to full gear.

“Things went fairly well as we expected,” said Comets head coach Grayson Throckmorton.

“We’re trying to work the guys into condition slowly. Thursday was our first day of live hitting. Everybody, of course, was feeling themselves out a little bit, but it was a pretty good first day. We took that and built on it on Friday.”

Throckmorton said weather conditions helped with the transition.

“We have had some really good weather temperature-wise,” he pointed out.

“That made the transition a little bit easier. If the weather had been like it was three weeks ago with the unbearable humidity and heat it would have been a different story.”

While the team made some progress this past week, Throckmorton is looking to see the pace of progress pick up this week as the Comets will be gearing up for a pre-season scrimmage Saturday with Randolph-Henry High School.

“We have made progress,” Throckmorton pointed out, “but this week I’d like to see us rev it up a little bit. Progress has been slow, but, nonetheless, it has been progress. I’d like to see us progress a little faster, and I think we will if we get good weather.

“We as the coaching staff are going to have to coach with some emotion, rev it up ourselves and force the envelope a little bit,” Throckmorton continued.

“We have to be the catalyst, and that is what I am going to stress in our staff meeting on Monday. What I am looking for is to rev it up, turn the dial up a notch, and get the guys moving.”

With only four more days of “camp” which include two practice sessions a day remaining, Throckmorton says its time for the team to start to push things a little harder. After the last four days of “camp” it will be one practice a day for the rest of the season.

“We’re going to push them hard for those four days,” said the Comets coach.

“I am hoping we can get eight practices in, and start installing and adding things during those eight practices and continue our conditioning along the way.

“We are going into Day 8 of camp on Monday, “added Throckmorton.

“That gives us 10 more days, and one of those days is a full scrimmage, to prepare for the Virginia High School League Benefit Game on Aug. 23. That’s a lot. It’s where we go starting Monday and where we go up to the Benefit Game that is important.”

In terms of numbers of players, Throckmorton said the team is right on target.

“We did see some increase in the numbers this past week,” he noted.

“We’re right around 90, maybe a little over, for the whole program. That is about what I was anticipating. It took awhile for some folks to finish getting physicals and come back from baseball and vacations. I think we’re pretty much set.”

Throckmorton’s biggest concern at the moment is injuries.

“We have a lot of guys that have bumps and bruises and are on the sidelines right now,” Throckmorton explained.

“We need for them to get healthy. We need to get those guys back in the mix, so they can be a major contributor to our program. They are not helping us on the sidelines. We need them to be able to get back to practice, and we need them to play.

“The good thing,” added Throckmorton, “is most of the injuries are not major injuries. I would say out of what seems like 15 players 13 have somewhat minor injuries. A couple of the players need some really big attention.”

Joe Chandler is the sports editor for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact him at

Joe Chandler is the sports editor for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact him at