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Burtons join field for September VIR race

2002 Daytona 500 winner Ward Burton and NASCAR driver Jeb Burton will compete in a special exhibition race at Virginia International Raceway Sept. 22.


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Comets pick up sluggish win

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Comets fall to Petersburg 38-7

Comet quarterback Dale Trent attempts a pass during the first quarter of Friday's season opener against Petersburg. The varsity football team dropped their season opener to Petersburg 38-7. David Conner II photo)

View Slideshow / August 28, 2009
Redemption for the HCHS varsity football team will have to wait another week.

Senior Comet quarterback Dale Trent had an off night, getting picked three times and fumbling on a scramble. Trent had one touchdown pass, but was inconsistent most of the night.

Meanwhile, two critical early mistakes doomed Halifax en route to a 38-7 loss at Petersburg Friday night.

HCHS appeared to be catching Petersburg at the right time for a possible upset. Petersburg coach Mike Scott had to deal with some lineup changes, particularly impacting his offensive line. Crimson Wave standout Quinton Spain, who has made a verbal commitment to West Virginia, did not play. He was away on a church trip.

Nevertheless, the combination of Comet errors – and Petersburg’s speed and superior athleticism – turned this game into a rout for the Crimson Wave.

HCHS faltered on its opening drive, hampered by a holding penalty.

Petersburg struck first, scoring on its first offensive snap. Keith Johnson scored on a well-executed 75-yard middle screen from quarterback Eric Magruder to give the Crimson Wave a 6-0 lead with 8:24 left in the first period.

HCHS responded, snapping off a scoring drive that ended with a 13-yard scoring strike from Trent to Davon Greene with 6:37 left in the first period. Jordan Keck added the PAT, and HCHS had its only lead, 7-6.

Johnson responded with a 55-yard catch-and-run for a score on the Wave’s next drive, as Magruder recorded his second touchdown pass of the night. Petersburg added the two-point conversion with 4:32 left in the first and led 14-7.

Petersburg then picked off Trent for a costly turnover at midfield, and McGruder capitalized with an 11-yard touchdown and a 20-7 lead with 3:55 left in the first quarter.

HCHS stalled on its next drive, and a key special teams’ mistake led to another Petersburg touchdown.

On fourth down and 12 on its 28, HCHS had to punt.

Punter Dru Henderson had to deal with a bad snap, and was downed at the nine. Magruder later scored on a two-yard rush keeper with 32 ticks left in the first period. Petersburg was denied on the two-point conversion, but the Crimson Wave had established critical momentum with a 26-7 lead.

Petersburg added a pair of second half touchdowns, while HCHS missed couple of opportunities to make the game more competitive.

The game was delayed by sloppy weather, including a steady rain shortly before kickoff. Once the game started, both teams battled persistent rainy weather in the first half. Conditions improved after halftime.

HCHS hopes to rebound Friday night in its home opener against North Stafford. The Comets’ next opponent started 16 freshmen and sophomores last season en route to a 1-9 finish, but HCHS should not take this team lightly.

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